by Donna Cain
I have always loved bluebirds since I was a little girl. My mother always use to try to attract these lovelies to our back yard in the Berkshires, with little success, as most of my memories were from birding books:(
When we purchased Brewster by the Sea in 2003 we again tried to attract the bluebirds by placing some bluebird houses around the inn. Over our 13 year tenure there I never saw a bluebird on the property. Last month the new owner of Brewster by the Sea, Amy let out a glea when we were talking on the phone as she thought she saw several bluebirds in the hedge off of the kitchen area. I said to myself…..no way could she see these treasured birds. Well a few minutes later she sent me a picture text and sure enough they were bluebirds. Feeling a little disheartened that I would never see one on our property…….the next day I looked out to our kitchen window and saw many of them fluttering around our feeder area.
Later that week Amy saw a gentlemen placing a bluebird house in the conservation land across the street in Drummer Boy Park. She ran across the street, apron in tact, and met Steve Petruska who built and installs bluebird houses for the Brewster Conservation Trust. What a great organization that does such great work to preserve the land in our quaint town of Brewster on Cape Cod. After talking with Steve we both ordered bluebird houses from him.
Steve was gracious and kind and shared with us some information about how to attract Bluebirds to our property. I feel confident and hopeful that the Captain Freeman Inn will be a nice attraction for some bluebird couples this spring.
Bluebirds prefer open country and were rare before the 1900’s as most of our area was forrest. Bluebirds increased as forests were cleared but declined sharply in the mid 1900’s because of wide spread use of pesticides and competition for nest sites from sparrows and starlings. Today, bluebirds have made a significant comeback primarily because of the management activities of landowners.
Most bluebirds migrate south during the colder months with the make coming back in March to scout out nest areas.
The females arrive shortly after with the adults often returning to the same nesting area. Yeah:)
Young bluebirds that were born the last season will often return to a nest close to their parents. Yeah….we have two houses.
Soon after arriving , bluebirds look for suitable nesting sites. The love birds begin breeding in early April. The female lays 3-6 light blue eggs, which she incubates in the nest. The eggs hatch in 12-14 days, and the young birds are fed in the nest by both parents for 15-20 days. The adults feed the young for an additional 10 days outside of the nest until the young are on their own.
Most adults will raise two broods in a season.
Another past to follow with tip on how to manage your habitat and birdhouses to attract these beauties. Let’s hope that post includes news that we have a family staying at the Captain Freeman Inn. This innkeeper is VERY excited. Cape Cod is a wonderful mecca for birdwatching.