I was so thrilled when a pair of bluebirds finally decided to make a home in my second bluebird box again this year. I hoped that my resident pair had moved on or died as cruel as that sounds. The reason is it is heartbreaking to see all their work go for near nothing. Thanks to Julie Zickefoose, I learned the pair probably had a genetic problem of some kind. These two have laid as many as five eggs only to have one or two fledge and rarely more than one live.
I Got My Hopes Up Again
After missing them for their first brood, I was excited to see a pair finally moving into the house. For some reason, the female looked different to me and that may still be true. Not long after they built the nest I started seeing one egg a day being laid. This happened for four days. I was still confident this would be the one that changed history in my backyard.
Within two weeks, the first egg hatched. The next day the second one did. This was a good sign but I knew I wasn’t home free yet. When I went back on the third day still only two had hatched. Not good but not the end. I waited two days and went back again. Still only two. I knew what this meant because I had seen it so many times before. One or both of my original bluebird pair were back.
Life Is About Celebrating The Victories
Before you say “Hey, Jeff, at least you have two bluebirds. What’s the problem?”, let me say that I am glad to provide a place for this bluebird couple to make a nest and rear young. It just gets difficult when I run the numbers and realize that out of more than thirty eggs laid less than one third of them actually fledged and lived since the pair started coming around. That’s a tough pill to swallow when I think I could have had a part in bringing three times as many bluebirds into the world. That’s not even considering if this pair passes along this genetic defect to their young and geometrically impacts the bluebird population in the future.
These Things Are Out Of My Hands
I will continue to provide a place for these two to have and raise young as long as they both live. I hope they live long and happy lives. I would still rather have them choose my backyard then not.
I will update you on the family’s progress as soon as I have more information.