Saturday, May 29, 2010

Baby Bluebirds Growing Up & First Daylily of the Season

Our resident Eastern Bluebirds have been very busy raising their clutch of four babies, and have done a great job--though they've kept us busy, too, refilling the mealworm feeder up to four times a day!  Checking in on them this morning, it looks like the babies are almost ready to fledge; they're nearly full-grown (or, at least as full-grown as nestlings get) and feathered, with the eldest and largest of the brood showing a fair amount of blue on his feather shafts.

This is a great success story.  Last year, we had a pair of bluebirds nest, with their first clutch hatching only one egg; their second clutch hatched five babies, but a cat got the parents before the babies were grown enough to survive on their own.  (We saved two of the babies, hand-feeding and stabilizing them long enough to get them to a wildlife rehabilitator who nursed them to full health, then transitioned them to a wildlife facility in Winchester, VA, where they rejoined the wild.)  So it was really a great joy to see bluebirds again visiting our yard early this winter; perhaps the male was Harry, the offspring of our first clutch last year?

The only worrisome happenings have been the several hawk sightings in our yard the past couple of days, including one who buzzed the roof and which Chance chased across the yard.  I hope we don't have an opportunistic Cooper's or Sharp-shinned pulling up to the counter for a meal of fledgeling bluebirds!

Today also saw the season's first daylily blooms, from the oddballs which seeded themselves right up against the side of the house.  Our other patches of daylilies are in various stages of bloom prep, with one bunch putting up the blossom stems and the larger one still thinking about it.  (All but the seedings along the side of the house were gifts from generous gardening friends.)

The past few days have also seen the first hummingbirds of the season, scouting out the sugar water feeder and the salvia Beth planted for them.

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