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Author Topic: Bluebirds of Cane Ridge, Tennessee  (Read 3802 times)

Phyl

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Bluebirds of Cane Ridge, Tennessee
« on: July 14, 2021, 06:56:03 PM »

Since 2002 Jim and I have been providing nesting boxes for the Eastern Bluebirds of Tennessee. As well as making available meal worm feeder, seeds and a safe enviorment for them to rear their fledglings and live all year long.
These are cheery and amusing birds to watch. And, a joy to help during this time in our area of constant construction due to the mass migration from the Western United States into The Deep South.
I have endeavored to keep a ‘scientific’ method of documentation. I use a ‘scientific’ naming system similar to what is used in the monitoring of the raptors.

In the past, since 2011, I have posted updates only in the Beakroom here in RRP forum.
Now  I’d like to share the photos and notes with all the forum members.

I hope you enjoy them  as much as we  do  tacking,  documenting and 'providing' for them.

Our backyard is the very best place to view bluebirds in Old Hickory Hills. **

Note: All photographs are taken by myself and my husband. As such are our personal propery and are not authorized for use outside of this forum or any of it's threads. Thank you.

Eastern Bluebird


Male


Female

The Eastern Bluebird was chosen for TWRA's Watchable Wildlife license plate because it is a common Tennessee bird that people have benefitted by putting up bluebird boxes.  This small thrush is a year round resident and can often be seen hunting along roadsides from a fence or low perch.
The breeding range of the Eastern Bluebird extends across the eastern half of North America southward into Central America. The northernmost nesters migrate to the southern part of the breeding range in winter.
The brilliant blue color of the male, the delightful call and familial behavior make the Eastern Bluebird one of the most popular songbirds in Tennessee. It is a permanent resident, though some birds may move short distances south from their breeding areas to avoid very cold temperatures.
Description: This medium-sized songbird has a large, round head, and a blue back, wings and tail.    The chest is orange, the lower belly is white, and the male is brighter than the female.Adult male: a brilliant blue above and rusty orange on the throat and breast, whitish belly  Female: gray-blue above and dull rust on the throat and breast, whitish belly  Juvenile: similar to adult female but grayish with a speckled breast  (May-August) 
Length: 7"
Wingspan: 13"
Weight: 1.1 oz
Voice: The song is a soft musical cheer cheerful charmer melody. The call notes are raspy and scolding.
Similar Species:
    • No other songbird in Tennessee has a blue back and orange breast.
Habitat: Open habitats with little or no groundcover such as orchards, open woodlands, clear-cuts, parks, and large lawns in suburban and rural areas.  It is often observed perched on wires, posts, and low branches scanning the ground for prey. It traditionally nested in naturally occurring tree cavities or cavities created by woodpeckers in trees or fence posts.
Diet: Arthropods caught on the ground including: caterpillars, beetles, crickets, grasshoppers, and spiders are the main diet. In fall and winter, bluebirds eat large amounts of fruit from native species such as poison ivy, sumac, black cherry, dogwood, hackberry, blueberries, and mistletoe.
Nesting and reproduction: Eastern Bluebirds are cavity nesters and typically have 2 broods each year, sometimes 3, and rarely 4 often use the same nest for all broods.  Bluebirds depend on naturally occurring cavities, tree cavities excavated by other species, or nest boxes. The female builds the nest of grasses, and lines it with finer material. Nest Box Instructions here.
Males attract females to the nest with a display in which he carries nesting material into and out of the cavity.   The breeding pair can stay together for several seasons.
Eastern Bluebirds suffer from competition with European Starlings and House Sparrows for nest sites, but the thousands of nest boxes that have been erected appear to off-set these detrimental effects (see link below for nest box designs that exclude starlings).
Clutch size: Usually 4 to 5 pale blue (or rarely, white) eggs. Female begins laying eggs a few days after the nest is completed and usually lays one per day.   In Tennessee first clutches are commonly laid in March, last clutches in July or August.
Incubation: The female incubates the eggs for 12 to 14 days.  Incubation does not start until after all eggs are laid so that all eggs hatch on the same day.
Fledging: The young are fed by both parents and fledge in 15 to18 days. Young produced in early nests usually leave their parents in summer, but young from later nests frequently stay with their parents over the winter.
Songs and Calls: Song is a soft, warbled "cheerful charmer". Call is a soft "tru-ly" when communication with mate or young. Also gives a raspy alarm call. 
Status in Tennessee: The Eastern Bluebird is a common permanent resident across the state though some individuals may migrate further south in winter. Populations appear to be stable, but vulnerable in especially severe winters.
Populations fell in the early 20th century due to many factors. Competition for nesting sites from introduced species, loss of open space and natural nesting cavities, increased pesticide use and climatic events contributed to the decline.
In the 1970's, conservation efforts to provide nest boxes specifically designed to keep out the larger European Starling combined with a campaign to provide and monitor boxes for use by invasive House Sparrows has helped with the recovery of the beloved species.
Dynamic map of Eastern Bluebird eBird observations in Tennessee


Fun Facts:
    • The clutch size of Eastern Bluebirds varies with latitude and longitude. Bluebirds that nest farther north and farther west have larger clutches than southern nesters.
    • In especially cold weather, several individuals will roost together in one cavity to stay warm. This species has been observed using nest boxes to stay warm during cold winter nights, packing 8-12 individuals into one box.
    • The oldest known Eastern Bluebird in the wild was 10 years 6 months old.

**Best places to see in Tennessee: Eastern Bluebirds are found in every county in the state. Many state and local parks have "bluebird trails" with multiple bluebird houses.
« Last Edit: September 07, 2021, 10:10:12 AM by Phyl »
'Which is more beautiful — feline movement or feline stillness?' Elizabeth Hamilton

'A man who never sees a bluebird only half lives.'
Edwin Way Teale

Phyl

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Re: Bluebirds of Cane Ridge, Tennessee
« Reply #1 on: July 14, 2021, 06:59:08 PM »

April15, 2021
The first bluebird nest of the 2021 season for our resident 'Mom and Dad'
Hatch babies and grow healthy to live long.  We'll do all we can for you all.
The story begins...we'll follow them in pictures. And,  make written reports.
Your humans love you!
« Last Edit: August 11, 2021, 12:41:36 PM by Phyl »
'Which is more beautiful — feline movement or feline stillness?' Elizabeth Hamilton

'A man who never sees a bluebird only half lives.'
Edwin Way Teale

Phyl

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Re: Bluebirds of Cane Ridge, Tennessee
« Reply #2 on: July 14, 2021, 07:04:04 PM »




April21, 2021
Blue Bird Report
Jim has visited NB#1 and the 5 egglets are intact with on pips.
He had my iPhone incase there had been some activitiy.
We will monitor this nest daily...'cuz you just never know.

4-17-2021





They'll be called OHH2021/NB1 BB31, OHH2021/NB1BB32, OHH2021/NB1 BB33 and so on.     Translated:  Old Hickory Hills 2021 Nesting Box1  Bluebird 31, etc. Or OHH  31, 32, 33, 34, 35


Our go to source for all things Bluebird.




http://bluebirdnut.com/

« Last Edit: August 11, 2021, 12:42:03 PM by Phyl »
'Which is more beautiful — feline movement or feline stillness?' Elizabeth Hamilton

'A man who never sees a bluebird only half lives.'
Edwin Way Teale

Phyl

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Re: Bluebirds of Cane Ridge, Tennessee
« Reply #3 on: July 15, 2021, 03:26:23 PM »

April 28, 2021
Cane Ridge Bluebird Report


4-27-2021
CR-OHHBB 33 and   34
at bottom of photo, left to right




When the weather is dry we'll check the nest again. The 5th egg may or may not be viable.
We'll the egglet have  a few more days to hatch.
If that's the case,  it will be removed. And, I'll say a few words of dedication and  Nature can claim it.
'Which is more beautiful — feline movement or feline stillness?' Elizabeth Hamilton

'A man who never sees a bluebird only half lives.'
Edwin Way Teale

Phyl

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Re: Bluebirds of Cane Ridge, Tennessee
« Reply #4 on: July 15, 2021, 03:26:55 PM »

April 26, 2021
Cane Ridge/Old Hickory Hills Bluebird Report

Late Saturday or very early Sunday morning
4-25-21
Cane Ridge-Old Hickory Hills

Meet CR-OHH31 and 32 respectively

31 top in corner and 32 below .
Told Jim we need a cam from Bluebird nut
.
'Which is more beautiful — feline movement or feline stillness?' Elizabeth Hamilton

'A man who never sees a bluebird only half lives.'
Edwin Way Teale

Phyl

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Re: Bluebirds of Cane Ridge, Tennessee
« Reply #5 on: July 15, 2021, 03:27:27 PM »

May 2, 2021
Cane Ridge, TN  Bluebird Report

5-01-21
CR-OHH 31, 32, 33, and 34
top left and down to right





Jim has promised me the egg
'Which is more beautiful — feline movement or feline stillness?' Elizabeth Hamilton

'A man who never sees a bluebird only half lives.'
Edwin Way Teale

Phyl

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  • Maggie lives in Nashville,Tennessee Music City USA
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Re: Bluebirds of Cane Ridge, Tennessee
« Reply #6 on: July 15, 2021, 03:28:17 PM »

June 2, 2021
Cane Ridge Bluebird Report
Cane Ridge, Tennessee


All photos enlarge with a click.

A rain soaked dad today


Our CR-HHO36 bluebird juvie on the mealworm feeder

Taken this past weekend
'Which is more beautiful — feline movement or feline stillness?' Elizabeth Hamilton

'A man who never sees a bluebird only half lives.'
Edwin Way Teale

Phyl

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Re: Bluebirds of Cane Ridge, Tennessee
« Reply #7 on: July 15, 2021, 03:32:33 PM »

Jim reports a new nest is full with four (4) blue eggs. He took a photo but didn't come out well. Will retake.
You recall we had 5 eggs just this last nest. With the 5th not viable. And, that while four fledged only two returned from 'flight school' and 'survival training'. But, since I never actually saw them fledge, which I usually do see. And, in view that Jim no longer uses the pad lock on the nesting boxes. I'm wondering if someone reached in and took two for some perverted reason. 
Because of t his, I can't actually be sure #35 and 36 are who I think they are. They could be #37 and 38; 35 and 37; 36 and 38 ;38 and 35 or 36 and 37. 
Alas, i'm not gonna fret over it.






June 8, 2021
Bluebird Report, Cane Ridge-Old Hickory Hills, Tennessee

Late getting this out.

But, as usual, we have a second clutch of eggs. As you can see, we have five lovely blue eggs that promise to
bring us CR #'s 39, 40, 41, 42 and 43. We can only hope all five will survive. We estimate the first egg to hatch about
the 12th or 13th and then, hopefully,  one each day there after.
Sure wish Jim would put the pad lock back on the nesting box.



And, a photo update on the two surviving hatchlings from our  May clutch. CR #35 and 36.
Our two 2021 teenagers are self-feeding the meal worms (dried) from the windowed feeder box. And on rare occasion, visiting the squirrel feeder housing the shelled  peanut halves. They fly off with them or even more rare, take them to the deck rail and bust them up.  I think this is more  a copycat thing with the teenage Mockingbirds when, that pair raid the feeder. LOL
Look very closely and see the famous blue spreading up the tail and back. Their breasts are still white and when that turns to the reddish orange, the vividness of that and the wing blue  will tell us the gender. I hoping for a female at least.




'Which is more beautiful — feline movement or feline stillness?' Elizabeth Hamilton

'A man who never sees a bluebird only half lives.'
Edwin Way Teale

Phyl

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Re: Bluebirds of Cane Ridge, Tennessee
« Reply #8 on: July 15, 2021, 03:36:42 PM »

June 16, 2021
Cane Ridge-Old Hickory Hills Bluebird Repot
2021 nesting  Season
Taken 6-14-21 after Jim mowed




Second clutch likely hatched about 3 days ago. 
Looks like all five!
So, welcome to the world CR-OHH  39, 40, 41, 42 and 43!
'Which is more beautiful — feline movement or feline stillness?' Elizabeth Hamilton

'A man who never sees a bluebird only half lives.'
Edwin Way Teale

Phyl

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  • Maggie lives in Nashville,Tennessee Music City USA
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Re: Bluebirds of Cane Ridge, Tennessee
« Reply #9 on: July 15, 2021, 03:37:52 PM »

June 25, 2021

Cane Ridge Bluebird Report, Cane Ridge, Tennessee
From Monday, June 21, 2021


 Our second nest of this.Bluebird season And,  looks like all five cramed in the box.
CR-OHH #39-43 are looking good with their pin feathers.



Better view of Cane Ridge #39, 40, 41, 42 and 43.

Luv our Tennessee Western Bluebirds  :-* :-* :-* :-* :-* :-* :-* :-*

Fledging won't be too far off.


July 5, 2021

Bluebird Report, Cane Ridge, Tennessee
7-5-21
Morning
 I was tidying up the kitchen after breakfast and looked up from  cleaning the table to see our 2021 female perched on the deck rail looking at me. My iphone was charging on the counter.
By the time I retrived it and gently slid the door open, her attention was focused on the ribbon elms near the overflow.  Some times it's take what you can get with wildlife.
Our male arrived after his sister left  and was looking back at me as I stood there poised for another shot. A knock on the front door so  I left to anwser. Gone just a moment though, too long. 
And, he had moved to the 2nd nesting box.
These are the only two of the 4 fledglings that returned from the forsest and 'flight/survival' training. They have come 'home'  probably for a 'visit'.
Mom and Dad are 'acting' like they may want to go for third clutch. Not unusual but not that common either.
At any rate, the nesting box is all clean and sanitary if they so choose.

Click on each  photo to enlarge.


Juvenile female, first clutch of 2021 nesting season.



Juvenile male, first clutch of 2021 nesting season.

'Which is more beautiful — feline movement or feline stillness?' Elizabeth Hamilton

'A man who never sees a bluebird only half lives.'
Edwin Way Teale

Phyl

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  • Maggie lives in Nashville,Tennessee Music City USA
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Re: Bluebirds of Cane Ridge, Tennessee
« Reply #10 on: July 15, 2021, 03:38:34 PM »

July 12, 2021
Bluebird Report, Cane Ridge, Tennessee

Blue birds 2nd clutch of 2021 nesting season.
Pictures were taken late last week.


CR_OHH 44, 46 in foreground, 45 in middle and CR#47 far left.
Cr#48 is off somewhere?



CR-OHH 44 thru 47 (not in that order) with CR_OHH 48 on seed feeder pole in background.



CR-OHH44 in the middle with #s 45, 46, 47 surround. CR-OHH48 is missing. I've deemed this one
as camera shy.
'Which is more beautiful — feline movement or feline stillness?' Elizabeth Hamilton

'A man who never sees a bluebird only half lives.'
Edwin Way Teale

Phyl

  • Hero Member
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  • Posts: 3482
  • Maggie lives in Nashville,Tennessee Music City USA
    • https://parler.com @Phylll
Re: Bluebirds of Cane Ridge, Tennessee
« Reply #11 on: July 15, 2021, 03:39:50 PM »

July 5, 2021

Bluebird Report, Cane Ridge, Tennessee
7-5-21
Morning
 I was tidying up the kitchen after breakfast and looked up from  cleaning the table to see our 2021 female perched on the deck rail looking at me. My iphone was charging on the counter.
By the time I retrived it and gently slid the door open, her attention was focused on the ribbon elms near the overflow.  Some times it's take what you can get with wildlife.
Our male arrived after his sister left  and was looking back at me as I stood there poised for another shot. A knock on the front door so  I left to anwser. Gone just a moment though, too long. 
And, he had moved to the 2nd nesting box.
These are the only two of the 4 fledglings that returned from the forsest and 'flight/survival' training. They have come 'home'  probably for a 'visit'.
Mom and Dad are 'acting' like they may want to go for third clutch. Not unusual but not that common either.
At any rate, the nesting box is all clean and sanitary if they so choose.

Click on each  photo to enlarge.


Juvenile female, first clutch of 2021 nesting season.



Juvenile male, first clutch of 2021 nesting season.

'Which is more beautiful — feline movement or feline stillness?' Elizabeth Hamilton

'A man who never sees a bluebird only half lives.'
Edwin Way Teale

Phyl

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  • Maggie lives in Nashville,Tennessee Music City USA
    • https://parler.com @Phylll
Re: Bluebirds of Cane Ridge, Tennessee
« Reply #12 on: July 15, 2021, 03:40:56 PM »


This is CR-OHH 48, at left, hiding behind the deck newel post.  :-*


Dad at far left with CR-OHH 48 (beak open) and #47 behind newel post profile barely visable.


CR-OHH48 on it's own after Dad and siblings flew off. Dad circled back and is perched on feeder pole background, right.
'Which is more beautiful — feline movement or feline stillness?' Elizabeth Hamilton

'A man who never sees a bluebird only half lives.'
Edwin Way Teale

Phyl

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  • Posts: 3482
  • Maggie lives in Nashville,Tennessee Music City USA
    • https://parler.com @Phylll
Re: Bluebirds of Cane Ridge, Tennessee
« Reply #13 on: July 15, 2021, 03:42:51 PM »

Part 2
Bluebird Report, Cane Ridge, Tennessee


The following photos were taken late last week as well.

CR-OHH 45 all on it's own. Still not sure the gender. Will have to wait for the breast to turn.


Big news!
A third clutch is now in the works ...
7-12-21
Photo  taken this afternoon about 4pm.


This tiny egglet is named CR-OHH49.
So, Mom was off feeding and taking a break
We think this one must have been laid within the last 24 to 48 hours.
These cheery birds usualy lay one egg daily untill all fertilized eggs are in the nest.

So far for the  2021  season, this  bluebird pair have produced  10 hatchling and  nine (9)  surviving.
Remains to be seen how many this clutch will add to the BB population this Spring-Summer.

And...here we go, again!  ;)
« Last Edit: September 05, 2021, 04:00:36 PM by Phyl »
'Which is more beautiful — feline movement or feline stillness?' Elizabeth Hamilton

'A man who never sees a bluebird only half lives.'
Edwin Way Teale

Phyl

  • Hero Member
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  • Posts: 3482
  • Maggie lives in Nashville,Tennessee Music City USA
    • https://parler.com @Phylll
Re: Bluebirds of Cane Ridge, Tennessee
« Reply #14 on: July 15, 2021, 03:47:03 PM »

Okay. I think these are all  in timely order.
I have another photo, taken this morning by Jim of the nest inside the nesting box to post.
Will get to that soon.
Bear in mind the photo was taken 7-15-21.
A nice surprize awaits. No the egglet didn't magically hatch a proper bluebird chick.   ;D
'Which is more beautiful — feline movement or feline stillness?' Elizabeth Hamilton

'A man who never sees a bluebird only half lives.'
Edwin Way Teale