It’s a sad, sad week. Five little bluebirds won’t be born, and I had a part in their demise.
For the last week, I noticed that no birds were flying around or going in and out of a yellow birdhouse on our porch railing. Knowing that bird nests have to be disposed of when no longer in use in order to make way for a new nest, I opened the side door of the birdhouse and pulled out the nest that was so big it was keeping the door propped open. Looking inside the nest once it was in my hands, I saw five little perfectly-formed blue eggs. I quickly shoved the nest back in the birdhouse and walked away.
For the next few days, still no birds came around so I called a wildlife agent and asked what could be done to hatch the eggs. He said, “Nothing.”
I said, “Can’t you take them somewhere where they can be incubated?”
He laughed and said, “No. Bluebirds are a dime a dozen in North Carolina, just toss the nest.”
He might as well have put a knife in my heart as to suggest I throw out five potential bluebirds. My bluebirds.
He went on to say that sometimes, if there are two birdhouses in close proximity, the parents may lay two sets of eggs and hatch one set, leaving the other as dummy eggs. Well, let me tell you, my bluebirds are NOT dummies, they’re smart and clever and wonderful.
Realizing he wasn’t getting anywhere with that line of reasoning, he suggested there might be a snake in the area or some other reason why the parents abandoned the nest. Then he said, “Don’t give up hope yet. Give it a few more days and if they still don’t come back, throw the nest out.”
He informed me that birds don’t lay all their eggs at once; instead, they lay one egg a day, so by the time the fifth egg was laid, the first egg was already five days old.
I hung up with a heavy heart, thinking that my beloved bluebirds will never hatch and fly away. I suggested to Charlie, my parakeet, that he go outside and sit on the eggs, but he ignored me. I looked outside hoping to see the parents fly around the birdhouse when the flapping of the new flag I’d proudly put up a week earlier caught my attention. The flagpole was on the same railing post as the birdhouse! The white arrow points to it.
I called the wildlife agent back and asked if possibly the flag blowing in the wind would scare away the birds. “Very likely,” he said. “I suggest you take the flag down until after the hatching season.”
I immediately took my beloved flag down and brought it inside so my beloved bluebirds would come back. Today I finally pulled the nest out and prepared the birdhouse for a new batch. Four of the eggs spilled out and smashed onto the porch but one egg remained whole. I left it on an outside table in case some bird flies by and decides to sit on the egg. I can dream, can’t I?
Quote of the Day: A man who never sees a bluebird only half lives. Lewis Gannett