Thursday, January 24, 2013

Eastern Bluebirds Can Stay All Winter in Wisconsin

You are never too old to learn.  I learned that the Eastern Bluebird will not migrate from Wisconsin if they are given the proper conditions, food and shelter.  The other day we took a trip to one of the big box stores.  We were shopping in the birdseed department and struck up a conversation with another couple.  They were buying dried meal worms and I asked them what birds they were feeding them to in the winter.  I feed my bluebirds meal worms but stop feeding as soon as fall approaches.  These people said they never stop feeding and their bluebirds stay all winter.  They said they have three males and two females feeding everyday.  Every year I can't wait for the middle of March to see the bluebirds return.  Who knew that they just lived up the road a few miles.  From now on I will provide food all year. 

These people also explained how they raise live meal worms.  I have done that in the past but gave up because it was too much work.  The method they use is very easy.  All it takes is a plastic container about 4 inches deep.  They get live worms, put them into the container, feed them oatmeal or cornmeal, let them go through the life cycle, take out the adult worms and start over again.  I may have to try this again.  As many of you know, I already have a red worm farm (see blog about Worm Farming-An Unusual Type of Farmer).  If I try raising meal worms, I will blog about it at a later time.

We have the bluebird houses close to our house so we can observe them easily.  Just beware of the House Wren.  Everyone thinks they are such nice little birds with a beautiful sound.  They are mean little devils that will fly into the bluebird house, pierce an egg and throw it on the ground.  I used to like the Wren but not any more.   I have observed their bad behavior in person.  Now we put wren guards over the birdhouse entry.  The bluebirds enter from the side and the wrens can't get in and out by going straight in.  It has been quite successful.

These are the first pair of bluebirds we attracted ten years ago.  Since then we have a couple of pair every year.  By now they are probably the great grandchildren of these two.  They usually have two and sometimes three broods a year.

The bluebird usually has 3-5 eggs.  They are light blue and the nest is made from pine straw and grasses.   The female laid one more egg in this nest before she began sitting on the eggs.   The color is a prettier light blue than this photo shows. 

Two baby bluebirds with their dad just after they fledged.  It looks like one of them is mouthing off.

This is the male bluebird that we had during the 2012 season.