Should they be building by now?

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  • #1216
    evie
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    I’m in western Connecticut. I’ve seen bluebirds at my birdbath, and this morning when I put out mealworms and used the whistle I used last year, a pair of bluebirds came to eat. But there is no sign of a nest nor do I see the male hanging around. Anyone else on this forum from my area or anyone have any thoughts?

    TIA

    #1217
    dogsandbirds
    Moderator
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    It might be a little early for them where you are. The timing of nest building somewhat hinges on the food supply. When it becomes abundant you’ll probably see some action.

    Gin
    Atlanta, GA

    #1274
    Susan Resch
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    I am in lower Fairfield County, CT and our male and female have been building a nest for close to 2 weeks. The recent weather (2 days of snow and wind) has slowed their progress even more. The nest appears to be nearly finished. They are around during the day and in and out of the box. There is another male with them…they do not seem to chase him away. Perhaps one of last years offspring? I am hopeful that the warming trend later this week will encourage some egg laying. They are ahead of last nearby two-three weeks. Hope that this helps.

    #1275
    evie
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    I am in lower Fairfield County, CT and our male and female have been building a nest for close to 2 weeks. The recent weather (2 days of snow and wind) has slowed their progress even more. The nest appears to be nearly finished. They are around during the day and in and out of the box. There is another male with them…they do not seem to chase him away. Perhaps one of last years offspring? I am hopeful that the warming trend later this week will encourage some egg laying. They are ahead of last nearby two-three weeks. Hope that this helps.

    Thanks to all of you who posted.

    Susan,

    I’m in Mewtown which should not be three weeks behind you. Unfortunately, I think this pair is nesting elsewhere but coming to me for food.

    I realized after I posted here, that I had not removed the overhang I added last summer to shade the house. Could that have deterred the birds from using the box? (I have since taken the overhang off.). Although I wish the Blues were making their first nest with me, I’m happy to help their survival with twice daily feeding. We’ve had snow and ice two times in the last five days, so I’m glad my order of mealworms has arrived.

    Looking forward to the arrival of the TRES and hopefully the blues for a second nesting.

    #1276
    dogsandbirds
    Moderator
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    I don’t know what your overhang looks like but something like that shouldn’t have stopped them. It could still happen that another pair will find your box.

    Gin
    Atlanta, GA

    #1374
    evie
    Participant
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    Just a little update. My bluebird pair appear regularly in the tree close to my front door, and wait for me to put out mealworms. There is no sign of a nest, so I have to assume they’ve built elsewhere. I can’t see any neighbors with boxes. Have any of you seen bluebirds nesting in tree cavities?

    In the meantime, I ordered a new box built to Peterson specifications as I think the one I’ve been using is Peterson style but has a slightly smaller floor. (You can tell I’m feeling desperate 😉)

    I’ve read that feeding fifteen mealworms per bird per day is about right. Is that what most of you are offering?

    The TRES should be here soon. But until at least second BB nesting I’ll be living vicariously through all of you, so I’m looking forward to reading your posts.

    #1375
    tamsea
    Moderator
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    Darn! Wish those bluebirds would stay with the plan! I don’t think there’s a set number for mealworms. I feed mine much more than that. Probably too many. They have me trained.

    Tammy

    #1378
    evie
    Participant
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    I was feeding a lot more too. But then I read somewhere that mealworms weren’t that nutritious unless you feed them dog food (no problem getting that in my house!) or dust them with calcium. So maybe that’s what I’ll do.

    #1381
    Love my blues!
    Participant
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    I’ve been coating my mealworms with calcium carbonate powder during the nesting cycle.

    Nicole

    #1384
    tamsea
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    I’m trying the calcium too. The bluebirds aren’t really appreciating the calcium coated mealworms but I’m thinking I’ll use less and that might work.

    Tammy

    #1385
    Carol – Mid-Mo.
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    Evie, I live in mid-Missouri (the Midwest) and my blues are definitely slower this year (we have had unusual cool spell for about 2 weeks or more). They have a full nest built (no egg yet) but I saw them on another Gilwood box yesterday and today noticed I believe the makings of another blues’ nest. This is not unusual for them, as they usually build 2 or 3 nests before choosing one. I believe they are an immature pair, as my previous pair always had a nest by Mid to late March and just built one, and then went on to have two more, total of 3 each year. Maybe yours are just late. Good – luck – keep us informed. P.S. I still believe we need to teach our blues how to read the “rules” book!!
    bbird

    #1388
    dogsandbirds
    Moderator
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    I was feeding a lot more too. But then I read somewhere that mealworms weren’t that nutritious unless you feed them dog food (no problem getting that in my house!) or dust them with calcium. So maybe that’s what I’ll do.

    Dog food? What’s that about? Anybody feeding their mealworms dog food?

    Gin
    Atlanta, GA

    #1389
    River
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    Any uneaten bits of wet dog food might turn rancid which would promote unhealthy bacteria. Don’t know if they would eat dry dog food as I never tried that. When I as raising mealworms, I fed them carrots and bits of cabbage. Both these provide both nutrients and moisture, but unless you’re keeping mealworms long term, as long as they’re alive they’re nutritious without adding any supplements. Dusting worms with calcium is a good thing for the birds, but unless you overfeed worms to the extreme, it’s not necessary.

    Fred
    Waleska, GA
    NestboxBuilder

    #1391
    evie
    Participant
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    Thanks again for all the comments and information. I think what I read about dog food was that you could mix some kibble or crumbs of kibble in with whatever you’re keeping your mealworms in. Right now I have mine in a container with oatmeal. I had been thinking of taking some of the crumbs from the bottom of the bag of dry dog food and adding them to the oatmeal, the purpose being to have the mealworms eat protein. But maybe I’ll try the calcium powder. Is that something I can purchase at the drugstore?

    On an additional note….I checked the Peterson style box this evening and it has the beginnings of a nest. Whether this will amount to anything. I don’t know. The male is still feeding the female when they settle down for their worms. So perhaps the mating has been delayed. Very weird after our exceptionally mild winter. Next year the rules will get posted early!

    #1395
    Love my blues!
    Participant
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    I’ve heard of some recipes where kitten or dog kibble are added to the mealworms along with other things. I read that rehabbers feed babies with a recipe that contains kitten kibble & mealworms. Our local rehabber does use both dog & kitten kibble in recipes to feed babies or sick birds.

    The calcium powder is recommended for nestlings because mealworms are high in protein, but low in calcium. They need the calcium to make their growing bones/wings stronger. Some suggest to add calcium to ensure female lays healthy eggs. The reason why I’m trying it this season is because I had 2 fledgers last year that couldn’t yet take flight. At first, I was coating the mealworms more than I am now because my blues weren’t as receptive. Now, they have no problem with it. I bought a nice sized bottle of calcium carbonate powder for ~ $8 online. Calcium citrate is supposed to be fine too. Would think you could find it locally too.

    Nicole :Cough: (how birds reacted to calcium powder at first)

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