My life is about living with nature – here you can live it with me!

Banding the Baby Bluebirds


Eastern Bluebird Nestling

The Eastern Bluebird nestlings in my back yard are in good health and yesterday we banded the babies with their very own numbered aluminum band!! I typically like to band the baby bluebirds after 10 to 11 days from hatching. If you try banding them any later than this the nestlings will then get jump happy (babies will then scatter every which direction when you open the box). Any earlier than this date and the nestlings are not developed enough to band (you can injure the bird which is the last thing we want to happen).

nest box.

Young Naturalist J – taking the baby Bluebirds out of the box.

We carefully took the four babies out of the box, placed them into a bag and then banded them one at a time. The female had two healthy boys and two healthy girls in her nest box. After looking each nestling over carefully, taking a few measurements and banding; we placed the baby birds back into their box. They were soo cute . . . and should be fledging any day now (they fledge after 15-18 days)!

banding baby bluebirds

Young Naturalist J banding the babies!

bluebird nestling Eastern Bluebird

Very cute nestlings that are ready to be returned!

I was assisting Young Naturalist J with the banding of these nestlings and all of the photos were taken by Young Naturalist J’s Mother (which was also her Birthday yesterday). This was the pair’s second clutch and the same pair that I have been doing many of my bluebird post with. I only hope that they return next summer and keep me entertained with their daily activities.

returning to the nest!

Nestlings Returned to the Box

17 responses

  1. What a lucky young man, that Young Naturalist J! And we all are fortunate too that he is part of the future caring for birds and wildlife as he does. That last picture of the tired little heap of bluebirds is just too cute!!

    23 July 2007 at 5:22 pm

  2. Kaz

    Beautiful… just beautiful! I so want to photograph the Eastern Bluebird, but have never seen one. I’m sure they are around, just hasn’t been my luck to see one. I live near Beaver Island State Park, NY. I’ve gone to Tifft Nature Preserve fairly regularly, and last weekend we went to Stiglmeier Park in Cheektowaga. Do you have any idea where in this WNY area that I might have a chance of seeing one?

    23 July 2007 at 7:01 pm

  3. I too have never seen a bluebird. I was hoping to see one last week, but no luck. They are too rare in Ontario. Maybe a couple of those little ones will venture across the lake.

    23 July 2007 at 7:12 pm

  4. Oh I agree the baby bluebird is sooo cute. He looks just a tad indignant.

    23 July 2007 at 9:56 pm

  5. @ Lynne – This evening we were working on him doing his very own blog posting for this site. He has taken all the photos, video and wrote all the text for the posting! It should be up by the end of the week sometime!! I believe in giving the kids every opportunity to develop the needed skills for future conservation efforts.
    @ Kaz – thanks and I have been to Beaver Island SP but never been to any of the other locations you mentioned. My guess is that most anywhere you mentioned would have a pair of bluebirds in the area if they have some bluebird boxes on site. I probably find more bluebirds by song than I do by sight first! If you do wonder around driving in the back country roads, look on telephone lines for them!! Hope this helps but they are in the area all times of the year!
    @ Ruth – They are around and be sure to check every bluebird box that you find! They should be around the Ontario area and just maybe my little ones will make it up your way!
    @ KGMom- They are very cute and I love them when they are this age! They don’t try running or flying away on us!

    23 July 2007 at 10:40 pm

  6. Grace

    Very cute baby bluebirds.

    23 July 2007 at 11:46 pm

  7. Love that last picture . . . all that grey fluff and the blue feathers looking so lovely.

    24 July 2007 at 1:12 am

  8. winterwoman

    Hmm… I haven’t checked my boxes in a long time. Now I’m nervous to… If you don’t know when the eggs were laid, then you don’t know if the birds have reached that jumpy stage… I better be careful!

    24 July 2007 at 5:42 am

  9. Oh, how I love the bluebirds! Sweet, sweet photos of those babies. Naturalist J is a natural with the banding now, thanks to your teaching and patience. I finally removed my abandoned third nest with four eggs and took it to a physician I work with who had requested it for her son’s Montessori school. I have not seen my male around much any longer and miss them all. I do hope he can find a new mate for next season.

    24 July 2007 at 6:46 am

  10. They are just too cute! That’s a great helper you have there too……..

    24 July 2007 at 8:29 am

  11. Marg

    I love those flashes of blue, what little cuties!

    24 July 2007 at 9:01 am

  12. You really could sell so many of your photos to the Hallmark company! That first photo just has the “cute” factor like so many of your photos. They’re one-of-a-kind. Baby Bluebirds, what could be cuter!

    24 July 2007 at 9:19 am

  13. Happy Birthday to J’s Mom!!!! These babies are sooo cute Tom! So glad they are in your backyard this summer and hope they return next summer for you!

    24 July 2007 at 6:54 pm

  14. What a lovely birthday gift for J’s mom to witness her son doing what he loves.

    Oh, those babies are sweet. The parents will return…

    24 July 2007 at 9:40 pm

  15. Hi Tom,
    Those pictures were the best! The little bluebird face is so serious, but still makes me laugh because of the “messy hair.” I think it’s great that you are able to involve the young folks and “pay it forward” to the next generation.

    25 July 2007 at 8:16 am

  16. I always love how nestling beaks seems so big and out of proportion to their heads. At this stage, they are all mouth, aren’t they? Great photos.

    25 July 2007 at 11:02 am

  17. @ Grace, thanks
    @ Liz – thanks and they are very lovely for sure!
    @ Jen – you are not reaching in and pulling them out like I am when banding! Always be careful opening the boxes!
    @ Jayne – thanks and they are great little birds! He has been doing the banding for many years now under my supervision! He is getting VERY good at it and gaining experience for getting his own permit once he is old enough. I would have to believe that the bird will find his new love of his life next year for sure! Thanks!
    @ Laura – he and all the others are great helpers for sure!
    @ Marg – they are very cute!!
    @ Linda – Thanks but not sure if they are that good! I do love those cute shots!
    @ Pam – she will be seeing this and be very pleased to see everyone wishing her a happy B-day!
    @ Mary – She gets to see him do this all summer long, but I can promise you his whole family was having a great week doing everything together!
    @ RuthieJ – thanks and they are soo cute for sure! They do have very cute messy feathers when they are that small! I always try teaching the kids to teach other kids with the hope that they will continue to pay it forward to future and current generations!
    @ Robin – LOL, they grow into those cute beaks for sure!

    25 July 2007 at 12:59 pm

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