Monday, March 16, 2009
All About Bluebirds at the Ossining Library
We went to a wonderful workshop at the Ossining Library, where we learned all about Eastern Bluebirds and built a bluebird nesting box. Mikro was fascinated and eager to participate in the discussion. There was a wonderful presentation by John Rogers and the Saw Mill River Audubon Society, and we bought extra nestbox kits to build at home.
We read some great bird books at the library, as well as the Kids Discover magazine issue about birds. These were two of Mikro's favorites:
During the presentation, we learned that the bluebird is the New York State bird. Other New York State symbols are the Beaver, Brook Trout, Snapping Turtle, Lady Bug, Rose and Sugar Maple.
Bluebirds are members of the thrush family, and are smaller than their American Robin cousins. They nest in cavities in trees made by woodpeckers. Their prefered habitat is open areas with short or sparse vegetation (so they can spot insects on the ground), like lawns or meadows, away from trees. Nest boxes should be mounted in the open, not directly under trees.
Bluebirds migrate north in February and March, and have two nesting cycles, the first of which is in April/May and the second in June/July. They usually lay 4-5 small blue ovoid eggs, which the mother incubates for 12-14 days. The male feeds the female throughout the nesting season. Six days after the eggs hatch, the mama bird joins the father in providing food for the babies (before then she stays on the nest to keep them warm). The parents feed the hatchlings caterpillars and spiders. The youngsters fledge in 17 to 22 days. Their parents continue to feed them for several more weeks.