Nest description: Messy, typically with rootlets, grass, weed stems, and dry cow or horse dung in the nests, and a cup lined with fine grass and matted hair/fur. Unlike Great Crested Flycatchers, they seldom add snakeskin to their nests.
Egg descripton: Eggs are oval, smooth, slightly glossy, creamy white to ivory, and sometimes pinkish white background color, heavily marked with fine or heavy streaks or blotches in browns, purples, and grays (fewer markings than GCFL eggs.)
Left: This nest fills up about 1/4 of the box height. Something syntehtic and green was woven in the lower right corner. Below: A messy mess, with eggs in a "well." Photos by Zell Lundberg.
ATFL egg relative to penny. This egg was buried deep in the nest and did not hatch. Not too many cavity nesters lay eggs wtih such scrawly pigment on them. Photo by Zell Lundberg.
Photos by Zell Lundberg. Left: These eggs are being incubated. Below: Seven day old nestling. Only one nestling hatched in this batch.
One hatchling so far. Photo by Zell Lundberg.
These ATFL nestlings are 4 days old. Photo by Zell Lundberg.
A 14 day old ATFL nestling. Fecal sac on left. Tina noted the "Bart-Simpsonesque" crown feathers coming in, and light feathers on wings folded over back.
Tina heard the nestling tapping on the box as they walked away after taking the photo. It apparently fledged the next day (ATFL nestlings typically fledge 13-17 days after hatching), and the unhatched eggs were also missing (perhaps a chipmunk or other critter took them after the parents stopped guarding the box.) Photo by Zell Lundberg.
A homeowner will take better care of bluebirds in a backyard box than a trail manager ever could.
- Steve Garr, NABS 2006 conference
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