The contrasts between last year's early spring and this year's late one continue to be stark. By this date last year we'd had several sets of bluebirds fledge already, but we just found the first eggs of the season this week while checking the nest boxes we monitor weekly. As of Tuesday evening we had two nests with one egg each and this nest with three. Once they start laying, bluebirds lay one egg a day, with a typical clutch size being four or five eggs (most of ours last year had five).
|Three eggs - a beautiful sight!|
|There they are!|
On our rural Rice County bluebird trail, which this year has eight sites (four single nest boxes and four pairs), we now seem to have four bluebird nests, two tree swallow nests (no eggs yet), and one black-capped chickadee nest.
|Tree swallow nest full of feathers|
|Black-capped chickadee eggs in mossy nest|
The chickadee nest, above and below, is at the location where our most successful bluebirds were last year. We also have chickadees nesting in one of the nestboxes at our house in Northfield. Last year we had a couple of chickadee nests started, but no eggs. Chickadees are cavity-nesters that will use bluebird boxes. They build their nests with soft moss, and as can be seen here, they obviously supplement with other found materials. This is a very soft, fuzzy nest for these six speckled eggs. Chickadees typically lay six to eight eggs (see the sialis.org page about chickadees).
We hope to see these eggs hatch in another 11 to 14 days and the chickadee nestlings successfully fledge in about four weeks' time.
Follow our whole bluebird trail adventures here: Bluebird Trail.