Monday, January 14, 2013

2012 ~ A Great Year for Bird Babies

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 backseat 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.

Though many of the images are of poor quality, I hope you still enjoy the post.

Male Eastern Bluebird

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 ...

Baby Eastern Bluebird

... then, the second crew of five ...

A demanding baby Eastern Bluebird begs for a tasty wax worm

... and a third group of four!

Three baby Eastern Bluebirds enjoy time spent at the birdbath


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.

A very attentive Eastern Phoebe parent sees to the nestlings

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

Five Eastern Phoebe youngsters nestled together on a ledge (6/14/12)

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.

A day later (6/15/12)

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.

Juvenile phoebe perched on the scaffolding with quite a catch

Juvenile phoebe preening


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

An active House Wren in the process of building a nest

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

Plump insects for the babies


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

Female and male Ruby-throated Hummingbird

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

This rather disheveled young male guarded his feeder valiantly. Note the existing pin feathers on his face.


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. 

Baby Ruby-throated Hummingbird in nest (a.k.a. Maggie)