Bluebirds nesting in lathe turned nest box

2001 Nestbox Video
Eastern Bluebird

This coopered and lathe turned bluebird box in our front yard is fitted with a video camera. Three eggs hatched 5/16. The fourth hatched 5/17. The b&w video camera with infrared illumination allows 24 hour taping, even in total darkness.

The following still photos are taken from a single frame of video from the vhs tapes. This process results in a substantial loss of quality compared to the original camera image and vhs tape.

Bluebird incubating eggs Two bluebird nestlings fledged on 6/2 and the other two on 6/3. There were no blowflies found in the nest. The great variety of insects brought to the nest was fascinating. There seemed to be no specialization or preferences, with smaller moths, butterflies, caterpillars, grubs, and beetles continually being offered to the nestlings. Often, when all of the nestlings were full none would gape when food was offered and the adult would then swallow the offering before leaving the nest. Of course, in a very short time all of the nestlings would again gape when food was offered. I took great pleasure in seeing first hand that our habitat was providing a surplus of bluebird food even on the several cold, wet, windy days.

Very little of this first video nesting was captured on tape. A second bluebird nest in a box in the side yard still has eggs and I am considering running continuous tape of this nest. However, we are often away for two or three days at a time and there aren't enough vcr's to go around, so maybe later when the front yard pair have their second brood, I'll record the entire nestling phase. So many species and so little time!

bluebird feeding large caterpiller to nestling 7/1/2001 update: The second nesting in the front yard box (the same lathe turned wooden box as above) has begun, with two eggs being laid. I have begun taping this second nesting mainly because renegade wrens have been spreading out from their wild east side of the yard. They have never bothered a bluebird box (placed in open areas with full sun)for almost 10 years, but are winged devils in their wilder pine grove and other densely planted areas. Today I found several sticks in a video nestbox previously used by tree swallows and only 50 feet from the front bluebird box. Wrens tossing bluebird eggs is so well documented that there is no real need to tape it, but, it would be nice to know for sure, in case the nest is raided and the eggs are removed. Wrens leave a tell-tale pair of beak marks when they puncture eggs, but often simply fly off with them. Yesterday a house wren, as well as a starling entered the flicker box and destroyed the eggs. This is located in the east wilderness on the opposite side of the house, but I have a feeling that our long truce may soon be broken. The bluebird nest in the side yard has older nestlings that are doing fine in the heat. This box turned out to be over 100 feet from the closest building where I could place a vcr and monitor so I am not taping it.


2010 - 2014 Northern flicker nestings
2014 house wren gourd use
2014 - A dramatic loss of many types of insects
barn swallow artificial nest cups
2014 barn owl nesting - prey study
A new barn swallow shelter for 2013
2010 barn owl nesting
2010 Update
Entire site index (outdated)
Starling traps
Using blinds in the home habitat
Providing perches for birds
Providing snags for wildlife
The ugly young maple
2001 - 2013 nest cams
Use of tomato cages as hunting perches by insectivorous song birds
Vultures, beetles and the resurrection of life

Species of interest in our yard - photos and articles
barn owl American kestrel purple martin barn swallow Eastern bluebird
tufted titmouse Eastern phoebe yellow shafted flicker tree swallow chimney swift
house wren big brown bat Carolina wren brown thrasher catbird
cedar waxwing Northern mockingbird
Yellow warbler Acadian flycatcher

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© 2001 - 2013, American Artifacts and Richard Van Vleck, Taneytown, Maryland.