Beautiful Bluebirds Gathering Mealworms For Their Babies

Bluebirds, love them so much! Each year they nest several times in the dovecote in my perennial garden.

Perennial Garden with Dovecote Bird House

 

I’m not sure now if it’s the same pair returning or if maybe their children are coming back here to nest.

Bluebirds Feeding Babies in Dovecote

 

Even though a woodpecker put a big hole in the dovecote this past winter, they still nested in the dovecote once more. I started to take it down to try to repair it this spring but as I began unscrewing it from the pole, a chickadee flew out of the woodpecker hole. I stopped, thinking he was nesting there.

A few days later I returned to check to see if he really was nesting in the hole and by this time the bluebirds were back and had their nest going. They nested in two different cavities this spring, first on the right side and recently on the back side toward the Crepe Myrtles.

I think they have left now but I’m afraid to remove the dovecote since sometimes they will nest three times in one season. I’ll watch a bit longer and when I’m sure they are really gone, I’ll take it down and attempt to fix it, although I haven’t been able to find thin cedar wood pieces to repair it. Unfortunately, the company that made the feeder, Lazy Hill, makes the roofs out of redwood now, which will never match.

Dove Cote Damaged by Woodpecker 2_wm

 

While they’ve been nesting in the dovecote, I’ve been putting out mealworms occasionally. I’ve had several families of bluebirds coming to the feeders. I can tell they are from different families because when they fly away with their mealworms, some head around the house to the front yard and some go out across the field behind my home.

The one’s that head for the front yard are nesting in the dovecote. Not sure where the bluebirds that fly out through the trees are nesting, but I think they are repeat customers, too since I’ve seen them fly away in that same direction in past years. They are apparently returning to the same nesting spot just like the bluebirds nesting in my dove cote do each year.

I snapped a few pics this spring on one of the days they were feeding on mealworms. The bluebird below is a a male Eastern Bluebird, you can tell by his vivid blue coloring. Daddy bluebirds help with feeding the babies…love that!

Isn’t he beautiful?! The bluebirds enjoy the birdbath I keep out year around. It’s a heated birdbath and I just unplug it for spring and summer.

Bluebird on Birdbath

 

Leaving the birdbath to check out the mealworms…

Bluebird Leaving Birdbath_wm

 

A male bluebird dives headfirst into the mealworms. 🙂

Bluebird eating mealworms

 

Got one!

Bluebird with a Mealworm

 

Bluebird with Mealworm

 

This has to be the daddy bluebird that’s nesting in the front yard dove cote because when he left, he headed for the front yard taking a worm back for the babies.

Bluebird Taking Mealworms Back To Babies

 

Both the male and female bluebirds visit. Based on the coloring, I think this is an adult female coming for mealworms.

Bluebird

 

She’s getting ready to take off  and hop over to the mealworm feeder.

Bluebird Visiting For Worms

 

I had to take all of these photos through the bay window. If I go outside, they would never come to the feeders. It was fun looking through the photos afterwards. I had the camera on continuous shooting so it was taking photos rapidly.

Bluebird Hopping Over To Mealworm Feeder

 

Looking at the pics later was like flipping through one of those action flip books where it almost seems like a video as you quickly flip through them. Here Mrs. Bluebird is coming in for a landing…you can see the braking action. This picture needs sound effects…screeech.

Bluebird Landing on Deck Rail

Bluebird at mealworm feeder

 

Ummm, which juicy worm should I choose?

Bluebird choosing a mealworm

 

Armed with dinner, she’s ready to head back to the nest.

Bluebird with Mealworms

 

Aren’t they beautiful?! I have a birding book I’m dying to share with you. It’s one I just discovered a few months ago. I’ll try my best to share it later this evening. It’s wonderful!

Bluebird With Meal Worm

 

I love spring and summer…soaking up every moment. Did you have birds nesting around your home this year?

You’ll find many more birding posts here: For The Love of Birds

Pileated Woodpecker eating suet

 

You’ll find a tablescape that’s “for the birds” here: A Winter Table Setting, Tablecloth By Mother Nature  Yes, that’s snow! 🙂

WintryThemed Table Setting with Bird Seed for the Birds

 




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Comments

  1. Melinda says:

    I love seeing the photos of your bluebirds. I have always enjoyed bird watching. I hope you can find a way to repair your dovecote. It’s such a lovely accent for your garden. At the moment, I have a feeder outside my home office window where I have watched a new Cardinal family come and go. Just last week the male Cardinal led his three kids to the feeder and spent long stretches of time feeding all of them. The Mom would come by occasionally and feed the kids but Dad seemed to be doing the majority of the work. Now, this week the kids are coming to the feeder by themselves. Mom and Dad still come, too, and Dad very sweetly feeds Mom little treats from the feeder. He’s a good provider! The folks at Wild Birds Unlimited recommended the perfect tray feeder with a dome over it. I hung it on a shepherd’s hook for a couple of weeks but grew tired of picking it up off the ground every other day. I think a raccoon was visiting at night and knocking it over. Now I have it hanging from the crepe myrtle in front of my office window and it’s the perfect place to watch the Cardinals.

    • Melinda, that sounds so wonderful! That daddy cardinal sounds like the perfect husband and dad! 🙂 Can you tell if the babies or male or female yet? It’s probably too soon, I guess. It cracks me up when Mom and Dad birds bring their babies to the feeder because that first week, the baby birds sit 4 inches away and screech to be fed when they could just reach over and easily feed themselves. I guess it takes them a while to understand that part.

  2. I just love the bird pictures..They are so beautiful. Thanks for sharing.

  3. What darling pictures of such beautiful birds. Ugh, hopefully they eat all the mealworms because I can’t imagine cleaning out the leftovers, ewh! You are very sweet to put out a place setting for them during the winter. I have always loved birds, they are little jewels. Good luck fixing the damage, but don’t fret too much, the birds won’t mind.

    • That was really just a silly/fun tablescape I did but I do keep the feeders filled year around. 🙂 Oh, that’s the perfect way to describe them Sue, they really all little jewels. They add so much to our lives and I love seeing them each day. Well, I think you’re right. The birds don’t seem to mind that GIANT hole near as much as I do. lol

  4. Gloria in Pgh says:

    Loved this post!! You photos of the bluebirds are wonderful! I love to watch the birds around my home, too. My mother loved to watch birds. She had one of those small soft cover books published by Pocket Books called Birds of North America. When she spotted a new bird species, she would find it in the book and then write on the page the date that she saw the bird. I have taken to the same habit in my copy of the book. I put a new bird bath out in the front yard this spring and the birds are really enjoying it! They found it very quickly. I often will find them taking a drink there — lots of gold finches and purple finches. The sweet little chirpers make me laugh every week when I clean out the baths (I have a second one in the back yard) and put in fresh water. I can feel them watching me and they are chirping at me while I clean the basins. I am hardly back in the house when they descend on the clean baths. It is almost as though they are telling to hurry up and get that fresh water in there!! Thanks for sharing your bluebirds with us today!

    • Oh, I love that Gloria! That is soooo funny! If I’m late putting the feeders out in the morning, I have a similar situation. As soon as I step onto the screened porch, they are zooming down from the trees. They really make me feel guilty when I’m late getting them out. I’ll look and see them perched on the hangers looking everywhere for the feeder that is “supposed” to be there. They look so confused. Of course, they have me trained well and they get fed before I do in the mornings. lol

  5. I love bluebirds because they were my Mother’s favorite. On Monday during my walk I must have happened upon hummingbird’s nest(s) because they dive bombed me until I was out of their territory. I love them, but they are aggressive little things.

  6. Renee Cook says:

    Your pictures are just beautiful! Being able to take pictures with a continuous shooting mode really captures some great poses; I’ll have to look for that feature the next time I go camera shopping. I enjoy watching the birds, too. I have a regular feeder and a hummingbird feeder on a shepherds hook just outside our living room window. I put it there so my indoor cats could watch the birds, but I think I enjoy it more than they do! That old woodpecker really got your birdhouse, didn’t he!? What a shame; it’s such a nice one. I hope you can find what you need to repair it. Thanks for sharing your lovely pictures!

    • Renee, I definitely recommend it. It helps in low-lighting situations too because if you take 10 pics in rapid succession, even if some are blurry, usually at least one will be in focus. I should have put my hummingbird feeder out this year, but I never got around to it. I love watching them! Yeah, he did some serious damage. It’s been in the garden for many years and that’s never happened to this past winter.

  7. Lynn Case says:

    I love this!! (And I’m envious too) 🙂 I live in town with a small yard and have never had a blue bird. Thanks so much for posting this!

    • Lynn, put up some blue bird houses and it make take a little time but I bet you’ll get some. Funny thing is mine don’t nest in the bluebird house in the back yard, they prefer the dove cote. I think it’s in a much better location than where I have the bluebird house. The chickadees love to nest in the bluebird house, though. My birds are all confused. lol Bluebirds who nest in a DOVE cote and chickadees who nest in a BLUEBIRD house! I need a birdie shrink to straighten them out!

      • Lynn Case says:

        Thanks so much! I have been eyeing the dove cote for a long time – I am planning on buying one when I am finished with my backyard. I think I will try to put a bluebird house on my privacy fence though. I will let you know if I get any “visitors”. 🙂

  8. AHHHH. WE also have bluebirds. They nest in the boxes that Joe built and he also made a feeder to hold the mealworms. We have that right outside our dining room window and watch them. Last year, the Mom and Dad would come and the 4 babies would wait on the roof right above for dinner. It was so cute! LOVED your pictures too!

  9. Joyce Howe says:

    You might try online for a site that sells miniature dollhouse supplies for cedar for the dovecote. Sometimes you can buy small sheets to cut to fit. They are much thinner, so might work for this. Good luck!

    • Thanks for the suggestion, Joyce. I think the dollhouse shingles are too small. I have an old dollhouse and they are a good bit smaller on it than what I need. I wish I could find thin sheets of cedar. I have a jig saw and I could cut them to fit, just need the cedar sheets in the right thickness. Thanks…will def work on it at the end of summer. The bluebirds spent much of winter in the house so I need to get it repaired before winter comes along again.

  10. Beverly Kennedy says:

    Susan, I have not been receiving your blog by email recently. This is a new problem. Could you check on this for me? I love your blog and do not want to miss any publications! Thanks for your assistance.

    • Sure, will do that. Beverly, you didn’t just change to using Gmail tabbed system did you? If so, look under the “promotions” tab. Also, check your spam folder. In the meantime, I’ll check with Feedblitz to see if they see anything wrong. In any case, I can unsubscribe you and resubscribe you. But just make sure the email isn’t going to the wrong section if you’re using Gmail tabbed system. Thanks for letting me know!

    • Beverly, I checked with Feedblitz and they said that on their end, they show the email going through with no issue so they feel that it’s being filtered out somehow on your end. They said, “It may be skipping their inbox going straight to spam, archive, or trash depending on a filter they could have purposely and forgotten or accidentally created.” I’m going to unsubscribe you and resubscribe you to see if we can fix it. Look for an email in your Inbox with a link in it to resubscribe…hopefully that will work.

  11. Charlotte says:

    I love watching the birds too! Have you tried the cedar that you can buy to line closets & cedar chests with? That might be the correct thickness.

    • No, hadn’t even thought of that. Ummm, wonder if it would work. Charlotte, do you know if that kind of cedar is treated with anything, you know…anything to deter moths, etc…?

  12. Love the great bird photos and the thought that you go shopping for worms LOL! We tried bird-feeding at one time, but we found out the hard way that feeding birds and owning four cats is a really bad combination, mainly for the birds. Have a great day! :0)

  13. Charlotte says:

    I can’t get the link to work, but Home Depot has it “Aromatic Cedar Natural Closet Liner Planks” says no chemicals added, just plain wood and it is only .25 inch thick. I think that might just work.

  14. We put up a new bird feeder this year and those little stinkers are eating me out of house and home. I absolutely love watching them (through the window). They do make a mess but I just love watching them.

  15. we have natural cedar shingles on our house which weather to a natural silver like Cape Cod houses. We buy a bundle at Home Depot, the come oin varied sizes and thichnesses-they should work

  16. Hi……how wonderful to have them..i have seen one here but i don’t think he liked the house..the squirrels chewed the entrance hole bigger an i don’t think the birds like it now..i had a woodpecker too..i’m surprised my pecan tree is still standing..he was at it all day into the night..i had to laugh every time i heard him…

  17. Susan,
    I, too, love bluebirds. Ours stay in the yard year round and use two bluebird boxes in the yard regularly. For your dovecote repair check out Capital City Lumber, They carry a hobby pack of cedar shingles that are specifically for birdhouse repair http://store.capitolcitylumber.com/Western-Red-Cedar-Shingles-Red-Label/M/B0050V12W4.htm that might work for your needs.
    Best of luck. The dovecote is such a pretty focal point in the garden.

    • Jane, I think mine are here year around, too. Thanks for that link, I’m going to order those now! This should be an interesting DIY post down the road. 🙂

  18. Beautiful photos! Quick question: Are you putting out live or dried mealworms? I’ve tried the dried ones and the birds don’t seem to be attracted to them. Have never seen real ones for sale as bird feed. Thanks!

    • They are live. I order them from here: http://www.rainbowmealworms.net/shop-mealworms/ in bulk.
      I’ve also bought them from Wild Birds Unlimited in small quantities, but they are a good bit more expensive that way.
      You can see how I store them in this post: http://betweennapsontheporch.net/mr-bluebird-on-my-shoulder/ when I buy them in bulk. Also Rainbow Mealworms sells the bran you store them in, as well. I’ve never tried the dried ones, thanks for letting me know they don’t seem to care for those. A lot of other birds love them, as well. I’ve seen Chickadees and Tufted Titmouse eating them…so the other birds love them, too. They say the benefit of offering meal worms is it keeps the Mom & Dad birds from having to go far away from the nest in search of food, thus reducing the chance something bad will happen to them (hit by car, eaten by another bird/animal) so the babies have a better chance of survival.

  19. I love Bluebirds. I saw a family of them years ago in a tree in my Mom’s neighborhood. Unfortunately I haven’t seen them since. (Perhaps I should put out some worms on our deck and hopefully they’d show up.) Thanks for sharing the photos. They are gorgeous!!!

  20. They are so pretty. I don’t see them around my home. Daughter that lives further North has lots visiting her yard. Thanks for sharing yours.
    Enjoy your evening.

  21. Pam Bowers says:

    I love your garden as well as the birds. Can you tell me what some of the flowers are? Especially the lavender ones? Beautiful1

    • Thanks, Pam! The purple flowers are “Common Purple Pholox” and you can see the creation of the perennial garden in this post: http://betweennapsontheporch.net/creating-a-perennial-garden-welcome-to-the-6th-metamorphosis-monday/ I love the phlox. It almost died out when I was sprinkling Preen in the garden…I don’t do that anymore. You can read more about that pholox here at Goodness Grows where I purchased it and the other plants in the garden: http://www.goodnessgrows.com/id10.html
      The tall yellow is: Redbeckie “Herbstsonne or Autumn Sunflower. See more about it here: http://www.goodnessgrows.com/id363.html Both of those are in full bloom right now…I should take a picture and share it. The white along the front is a yarrow called Oertel’s Rose and I love it. It starts out a hot pink, fades to a pale pink and eventually fades to white before it’s done. You can see it here: http://www.goodnessgrows.com/id70.html
      The daisies off to the right are Ryan’s Daisy, named after Ryan Gainey a well known garderner/landscaper/artist who lives here in GA. You can see it here: http://www.goodnessgrows.com/id327.html
      There are some Stella D’oro Daylilies in that picture too down toward the front edge. http://www.goodnessgrows.com/id406.html

      • Pam Bowers says:

        THANK YOU SO MUCH! I live in North Florida with a lot of hot sun so I will have to research if the flowers will work here. Loving that bird house, too. I am getting ready to move to a new house that needs landscaping and I will be excited to try this. With selling our home this summer, I planted my first English Garden and am so in love with it. It’s just such hard work when your are old and your joints hurt. We have great soil here, and I think it will be the same at my new house.
        btw, I just discovered your blog via Miss Mustard Seed’s. I am also in love with your blog! What eye candy.
        I have a nice glass porch here but we will have to add one on at new place and I want to incorporate your ideas.’ I have mostly white wicker furniture, white wrought iron table with glass top and matching chairs so it shouldn’t be too hard.

  22. Susan, I love this! I have the same LHF Dovecote and we have bluebirds that nest in it every spring & summer too! So fun to see them flying in and out, your captures are wonderful! I need to buy some mealworms. I’ve seen the dried ones at Lowe’s. Are the ones you put out live?

    • Thanks, Mary! Yep, they are live. I order them from here: http://www.rainbowmealworms.net/shop-mealworms/ in bulk.
      I’ve also bought them from Wild Birds Unlimited in small quantities, but they are a good bit more expensive that way.
      You can see how I store them (when I buy them in bulk) in this post: http://betweennapsontheporch.net/mr-bluebird-on-my-shoulder/. Also Rainbow Mealworms sells the bran you store them in, as well. I’ve seen Chickadees and Tufted Titmouse eating them…so the other birds love them, too. I’ve read that the benefit of offering meal worms is it keeps the Mom & Dad birds from having to go far away from the nest in search of food, thus reducing the chance something bad will happen to them (hit by car, eaten by another bird/animal) so the babies have a better chance of survival. I love seeing come for them. When they are nesting, I usually put the worms out twice a day, morning and then late afternoon. I used to tie the container to the gas lantern in my front yard that’s maybe 25 feet away from the dovecote but this year the bluebirds kept coming to the regular feeders so much during the day, I just put them in that area.

  23. Your bluebird photos are just beautiful! We don’t have bluebirds up north, at least not that I’ve ever seen. Loved seeing yours

  24. Susan…these are spectacular pictures! I share your love of bluebirds yet I rarely see them. I just found a great hanging bird feeder and was thrilled to see so many varieties. And then I was surprised to see a stray cat hanging around…very odd. And finally I found a little bluebird, you know, not alive…I was so sad. Your pictures make me feel like maybe I will continue to have more in the future. I know you had a precious kitty, so I hope this doesn’t hurt your feelings. 🙁

    Jane xx

    • Thanks, Jane. That is sad about the bird. I’ve had cats my entire life and I’ve never had one go after a bird. They watched them intently but never went after them. Maybe they were too fat and lazy. Hope that stray cat stays away! I will say, it’s not just cats that attack birds, other bigger birds will attack smaller birds. I’ve read that woodpeckers will and I know large birds like Hawks will. That would kill me to find one no longer alive…I’m a total crybaby about stuff like that.

  25. Merri Jo says:

    Susan, your photos are amazing! I, too love & feed the birds, and I can while away the hours sitting in our gazebo watching the hummingbirds, especially. It’s so entertaining to see many species taking their baths –there is one male robin that looks like he’s putting on a show for my enjoyment! Thanks for sharing the book, too.

  26. Susan, thank you so much for my smile of the day. Your photography of the birds is absolutely amazing. Particularly love the shot of the Momma bird (10th photo down) where it looks like she has landed on a patch of ice and is ‘putting on the brakes’. ☺ I only have one feeder out which attracts numerous birds but notice when feeding the colony of squirrels that I do every day, a Red Cardinal loves to help himself to the occasional (unshelled) peanut. Also have a ‘concrete’ birdbath that the nasty crows have appeared to have taken over so am going to add less water to see if that will deter them. Hubby decided last week to apply an epoxy to its basin which Brenda was not happy about since it was ‘stark white’ which fortunately I was able to remove the following day as it had not completely cured. What ever possessed him to do it is still beyond me as it looked like a mound of snow …… something that I prefer to forget about during the summer season as we live in a snow belt region. LOL! -Brenda-

    • Thanks, Brenda! I never knew birds did that when landing until I started looking at the pics. 🙂 Crows are sooo annoying. Every now and then they come to my yard even though they can fit or feed from the feeders (they are too big). When they arrive, they squawk and squawk…horrible to hear. I go downstairs and stand on the deck and clap my hands and they leave. They stay away for a week or so, then they always come back. That’s too funny about your hubby! I bet he thought he was helping! Glad you were able to get it off. Guess he knows now not to do that again! 🙂

  27. Great photos! Thank you so much for sharing! We have a ton of birds flying around our yard and we had a couple of nests, although I’m not sure what type they were. A storm blew one nest down and their little eggs were scattered around. I tried to save them, but mama bird never came back :-(. On that note…hope you have a great day!

  28. Marilyn Comer says:

    Your pics are gorgeous!! Thank you for sharing these…I’ve never seen a blue bird except in photos; they are glorious indeed.

    • Thanks, Marilyn! They seem to have a sweet disposition too…not aggressive or bossy like some birds. I think that’s why they are so well-loved. Well, that and because they are so pretty!

  29. I’m so envious of your beautiful blue birds! They are one bird I miss seeing in my yard. We used to have them but when we moved to Colorado, I stopped seeing them. I get many other birds tho so I try to be happy with what’s here!!! Thanks for the link to where you get the mealworms ~ looks very reasonable.

  30. In my area, we have Grackles/Grackies, Blue Jays and Mockingbirds that will go into other’s nests and kill the babies and steal the nests. Jays are very organized and work in teams, I’ve watched them push baby Robins out of a nest and attack the parents. For years they drove off every small, pretty and interesting bird group. We have watched all 3 of these bird species also “dive bomb” pets and sometimes people, and try to eat the dog’s food which of course results in bird poop in their bowls which creates a whole other chore. We started calling them “The Mafia”. I guess the resistance got organized, because beginning about 3 years ago, the Cardinals and Robins began to come back. This year when the Grackles began to nest in a large Oak Leaf Holly next to our bedroom window we systematically poked out the nest building 1x day for 3 days(did I mention that they began squawking at first light?) and they left to find a better bush. Now we have cardinals who love dense shrubs, and no pre-light squawking, dive-bombing, or evening squawks. We had a Barn Swallow nest quickly in a high corner near a door last year. He invited all his pals to come and suddenly we had a serious bird poop problem…I was daily cleaning up really stinky bird poop and Lysol became my companion. They left at summer’s end. I found out Barn Swallows are protected. Fun to see, when they take off, so beautiful to watch, and they soar by their nest a time or two to make sure all is safe before landing. They come in fast and it looks like a head-on but they stop suddenly and float into the nest. Dear bird lovers, do not be dismayed by my poking the Grackle nest-building out, we live near a river with so many trees and much dense shrubbery, and within a mile of a protected woodland area that runs along the river. We need our sleep and Grackle squawking is like a harsh alarm, no sweet tweet-tweet from that group. Susan – Your PICTURES are wonderful, very National Geographic. Camera and Lens? Thanks for the sweet gift of bluebird life 🙂

    • K, I just saw that I never answered your question. I shot these with a Nikon D7000 with a Nikon (Nikkor) 18-200mm zoom lens. That is so horrible about the Blue Jays! 🙁 No wonder folks don’t like those birds. They are very agressive at the feeders, too. That’s amazing about the Barn Swallows and how they come in to land…love that! Grackles are so annoying with the squawking…I don’t blame you for not wanting them to build so close by. I do love the birds, they are such a gift…one of the joys of life!

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