2012—A Great Year for Bird Babies

Three juvenile eastern bluebirds enjoy time spent at the birdbath.

The year 2012 was quite busy for us mainly due to the building of our dream home. Finding time to photograph wildlife seemed to take a back seat to more pressing matters. When able to venture out to our country property, I enjoyed watching many birds build nests and tend to their eggs, nestlings, and fledglings.

At the beginning of spring, we were thrilled to see that a familiar pair of eastern bluebirds set up home in the same nest box they did last year. The beautiful couple were successful with the first brood of five—then, the second crew of five—and a third group of four!

Our resident eastern phoebe pair spent time nesting as well. This rather tame couple decided to build a nest inside the garage of our house (currently in the process of being built). They did not seem to mind the daily din of construction noise and workmen milling about.

Juvenile phoebe perched on the scaffolding with quite a catch.

The eastern phoebe youngsters grew up quickly. Soon it appeared that they were too big for the nest!

I guess it was hard to resist that cozy nest made up of dried grasses, moss and fur from Honey and Bear, our two young akita/husky/shepherd mixes.

After the brood of five fledged, Bruce noticed the adult female phoebe sitting on the nest again. To our delight, five eggs were laid and another group of phoebes were born. Meanwhile, the first crew of juvenile phoebes were often seen hunting for food in the surrounding forest.

Plump insects for the babies.

Many house wrens inhabit our country property too. Two of the seven bluebird nest boxes were occupied by house wren couples. I never did peak inside the bird houses but I know the wren parents were extremely busy tending to the boisterous, hungry youngsters.

The house wren parents were especially attentive to their nestlings, feeding them continuously all day long.

This rather disheveled young male ruby-throated hummingbird guarded his feeder valiantly. Note the existence of pin feathers on his face.

And then there were the hummingbirds! These diminutive, zippy birds were plentiful in 2012. I usually hang 15 hummingbird feeders out on our property during the spring, summer, and fall months. We have so many ruby-throated hummingbirds pining for sugary sips of nectar that it is impossible for us to count all of them.

After the babies are born and leave their nests, there is pandemonium at the feeders. Young hummingbirds can be spotted everywhere, zooming from one feeding station to another.

Ruby-throated hummingbird nestling.

One of the highlights of 2012 was finding a hummingbird nest outside of the garage at our home in Chicago. I followed the flight of an adult female hummingbird after she finished lapping from one of the feeders. She flew to a nearby magnolia tree and seemed to be poking around on a branch for several minutes. I brought out the binoculars to get a closer look and saw a little beak pointing upward from a small nest. Joy!

About Julie A. Gidwitz

Julie has been a nature enthusiast since childhood, forever enchanted and captivated by nature's splendor. With her blog, Julie hopes to share her bird, wildlife, and nature observations through photography and writings. Visit Julie's blog at naturessplendor-julie.blogspot.com

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  • I live in Southeastern Massachusetts. Four "orphaned" very young poults (males) showed up in my yard about a year ago. They have been around all year. I do feed them cracked corn, and they come when I call for them. I don't want to over- domesticate them, but they do recognize me as the lady that brings food. They roost in the big oak trees at night. I have a 1 acre lot, with many acres of protected forest out back and a pond on the property.Lately, during mating season, I have had hens in the yard too. We've counted as many as 7 Toms and hens, but today, had just the one stalwart (a very robust Tom) that comes everyday. One of the Toms that has recently made an appearance is wounded, limping with an obvious predator wound. The local wildlife experts say he should make a full recovery, and that he's best left to recover with his flock.I find them to be interesting and beautiful birds.
    by Heather Cole, Mon, 06 Apr 2020
  • You have to put food in it.
    by Truckee Man, Mon, 06 Apr 2020
  • Love listeningto both songs and calls from birds in our woody neighborhood. The two types of birds I immediately recognize are the cardinals and the chickadees. Yesterday afternoon too, I heard a woodpecker. Then it’s time to check the birdfeeders and the birdbath. Then In no time at all the cardinals and chickadees arrive, as if they had been watching me. As it gets busier around the feeders, I also hear thé screeching of the blue jays. I even saw a couple of robins checking out our lawn....spring has arrived as the last pat gesofisticeerde snow and ice melt away.
    by louisabt, Sun, 08 Mar 2020
  • I am wondering about existing nests for Phoebes. I have two outdoor aisle entries to my barn and there are old Phoebe nests up. They ignore them each year and build new nests adjacent to the old, but space is running out. Should I knock down the old nests so they can rebuild?
    by [email protected], Sun, 02 Feb 2020
  • Just wondering, should we put anything in the bottom of the box...twigs, clippings, leaves....anything at all?
    by Hebb, Tue, 28 Jan 2020