Steve Greer Photography Blog

Eastern Bluebird WebCam

I’d like to invite you to share in the adventures of a pair of Eastern Bluebirds as they raise their family in a nest box in Lumberton – see the following posts.

Inside the nest box is a miniature low-light video camera.   There are also highly sensitive microphones inside the nest box to record rarely heard sounds.   Below I have a  “Bluebird Video Highlights”  reel, where you can click on videos to see a summary of the day’s events.

You can also view real-time video, showing their movements as they happen.   Click on www.SteveGreerPhotography.com and then click on the Nesting Bluebird WebCam on the left hand side of the home page.

Rest assured that all the pictures and sounds that you will experience are being obtained through “bluebird friendly” methods.

Happy viewing

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July 21, 2009 Posted by | Bluebird Video Highlights, Bluebirds | , | 7 Comments

The bluebird family moves out, and moves on

With more encouraging chirps from the adults, the three remaining chicks successfully flew from the nest this morning, joining the rest of their family where the forest meets the meadow.  Sometimes I see one or two of them through the trees, watching their parents hunt for insects.  Mostly, I hear them, still chirping their plaintive calls, begging for food.  The parents will continue to feed them until they are about 30 days old.

After 21 days of witnessing devoted parental care, editing over 300 hours of recorded video, and now listening to the melody of new bluebirds in the forest, the empty nest syndrome begins.

June 7, 2009 Posted by | Bluebird Video Highlights, Bluebirds, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

A bluebird enters a new frontier

This is the morning of day 20.  The female is calling to the chicks almost constantly, encouraging them to leave the security of the nest and enter a new world of challenges and triumphs. They listened.

After much jostling about, the first nestling pushed off at 6:00am, arched down toward the ground, then climbed slowly into the air, landing clumsily on to a tree branch at the edge of the deciduous forest – whew!  The male flew behind the chick, and landed just above it on another branch. The second youngster did the same at 7:15am, only flying precariously low through the tall meadow grass and managing to swoop up and grab a hold of a low hanging branch.

June 7, 2009 Posted by | Bluebird Video Highlights, Bluebirds, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The bluebirds wait impatiently for the opportunity to fledge

It’s now day 19, and most of the chicks are ready to fledge.   But the weather has turned cold and it has been raining again for 2 days in a row.  It’s a damp 60 degrees.  The adults are waiting for warmer weather before calling to the babies, to encourage them to jump.  There are many obstacles, including predatory dangers, awaiting these new arrivals to the forest.  It’s in their best interest to make the leap in better weather conditions.

In the meantime, they continue their wing flapping exercises and take turns peeking out at the new world just waiting for them.  The pinging sound you hear is the sound of the rain drops hitting the predator pole baffle.

June 5, 2009 Posted by | Bluebird Video Highlights, Bluebirds, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

A bluebird sees the outside world for the first time

As the walls in their home press inward, the nestlings continue to jostle for a comfortable position.   The chicks take turns carrying out vigorous wing flapping exercises several times a day to strengthen their wing muscles.    This youngster takes the inchoative of his or her new found strength to climb to the edge of the nestbox entrance to see what is happening outside.   A little hesitant to make that momentous jump, the chick decides to stay in the safety of the nestbox a little longer.

May 22, 2009 Posted by | Bluebird Video Highlights, Bluebirds, Uncategorized | 2 Comments

The bluebirds have opened their eyes

All the chicks’ eyes have now opened and they are almost completely feathered.  They’re now sporting a narrow ring of white feathers around each eye, and their breasts are speckled with gray.

The nestlings are standing more during the day, while continuing to preen and do wing stretches.  Some of the scratching around the eyes could be due to a blow fly larvae infestation.  So far, it looks as though the youngsters are able to cope.

May 22, 2009 Posted by | Bluebird Video Highlights, Bluebirds, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

How much can a bluebird eat?

It’s now day 10, and the warmer temperatures have returned.  This means insects are easier to find, and they are bigger.

This is good timing as the chicks are becoming more vocal in their demands for food.  In this clip, no insect is too big for this youngster.  He, or she, is determined to gulp this worm down, even it means being uncomfortable.

The chick continued to gag, slowly working the worm down it’s throat over the next several hours.  And even though there was no way to cram any more food into this chick, it continued chirping for more with every new delivery of insects.

Notice that their feather sheaths have started to disintegrate (leaving a white dust behind) and wing feathers have begun to emerge.  The nestlings are now preening, and doing some stretching and hopping a little to strengthen muscles.

May 22, 2009 Posted by | Bluebird Video Highlights, Bluebirds, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The bluebirds first feathers

The weather has changed, and with it the abundance of food has dwindled.  It has now been raining lightly for 2 days with daytime temperature averaging 60 degrees.  It’s harder to find insects in the damp weather.  But even with the less frequent feedings the babies continue to grow. Their first feathers have burst from the tips of their sheaths.

Now that they are beginning to spill out over the nest cup, the adults have little room to sit on the side of the nest.  More often, the adults are feeding from the entrance, and only jumping in to turn around making it easier to jump back out.

May 22, 2009 Posted by | Bluebird Video Highlights, Bluebirds | Leave a comment

Bluebirds feeding chicks

The parents are now arriving to the nest with insects on average of 1 per minute.  Now that the chicks’ digestive tracts are fully developed, and their always increasing appetites, the parents are removing their fecal sacs (60 to 70 bundles a day)  Both adults keep the nest clean by picking up the chicks’ feces, which are wrapped in a mucous membrane.  The chicks instinctively know to deposit their waste outside the nest cup.  As the chicks continue to grow the parents will take the fecal sacs and drop them in the forest far from the nest – see video no.2

May 22, 2009 Posted by | Bluebird Video Highlights, Bluebirds | 1 Comment

Bluebirds trying to stay cool in a sauna

This is now day 6 in the nestbox.  Daytime temperatures are now in the low 80’s. I estimate in the heat of the day the inside of the box to be around 95 to 100 degrees.  The chicks’ mouths stay open in an effort as to not overheat.  Birds lack sweat glands, so they don’t sweat to cool off like people do. Birds pant like dogs. By opening their mouths and breathing faster, they can increase the airflow, which causes more moisture to evaporate from the mouth, tongue, throat and respiratory tract.  Evaporation of moisture has a cooling effect on the body.

May 22, 2009 Posted by | Bluebird Video Highlights, Bluebirds | 1 Comment