QUESTION: My wife and I have been watching a pair of bluebirds feeding their young in one of our nest boxes for nearly three weeks. We have become concerned that perhaps one or more of the babies cannot get out, as it seems well past the time the young birds should have fledged. What should we do?
ANSWER: If I were you, I would not be concerned over the fate of the young bluebirds housed in your nesting box. I would just sit back and enjoy watching the adults bringing food to their rapidly growing brood.
Typically bluebirds will fledged when they are anywhere from 17 to 20 days old. When they finally begin vacating the box, it can take two or more hours for all of the youngsters to leave. However, it is not uncommon for one or two members of the brood to make their first flight the following day.
Which hummingbird food you use is a matter of choice. Some prefer to purchase commercially prepared food; others like to make their own. Some swear by red-colored nectar while some say that clear nectar is the best. The hummingbirds don’t seem to prefer one type of nectar over the other.
If you prepare your own hummingbird food, mix four parts of water to one part sugar. Boil the mixture for at least two to three minutes. Let the liquid cool to room temperature before pouring it into a feeder. Store the surplus in the refrigerator.
Water is used by wildlife for drinking and bathing. Additionally, species such as amphibians (frogs, salamanders and the like) damselflies and dragonflies need water to reproduce.
Many backyards and neighborhoods have no open water whatsoever. In fact, open water is often not found nearby. This can seriously limit the number and kinds of wildlife that will use a yard.
Believe it or not, you can actually attract for more birds with water than food.
Water can be provided by adding a small pond or bird bath to your yard. If you decide to purchase a bird bath, select one that has a gently sloping basin that is not over more than an inch and a half to two inches deep at its deepest point.
A number of backyard birds nest in tree cavities. The list of these birds includes the eastern bluebird, tufted titmouse, Carolina chickadee, great crested flycatcher, screech owl, brown-headed and white breasted nuthatches, purple martin, tree swallow, Carolina and house wrens.
The problem is there are rarely enough natural cavities to go around. In addition, the suitable cavities that do exist are often taken over by aggressive introduced species such as house sparrows and European starlings. As a result, often few, if any, native cavity-nesting birds nest in Georgia’s backyards and neighborhoods.
Fortunately, many cavity-nesting species will nest in nesting boxes, Consequently, by erecting one or more nesting boxes in your yard, you will help alleviate this severe housing shortage and increase the diversity of birds using your yard.