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Click to go to Audubon Society of Omaha Home Page Audubon Society of OmahaEastern Bluebird

Welcome to The Bluebird Box since 1995
Best of Bluebird Mailing Lists Classified

Bluebird Mating and Fidelity



From: Shane&Emily Marcotte [mailto:marco50 "at"bellsouth.net]
Sent: Monday, December 20, 2004 8:07 AM
Subject: Re: an aside about brood patches

...How exactly do BBs mate?Call me naive but I really dont know?!?

Shane Marcotte
Watson Louisiana


From: Bruce Burdett [mailto:blueburd "at"tds.net]
Sent: Monday, December 20, 2004 9:50 AM
Subject: Re: an aside about brood patches

Shane, et al,
I believe that the male inserts his male reproductive organ into the female's reproductive organ and thus introduces his sperm into her reproductive system, where it fertilizes her eggs, or ova.
I believe, too, based on what I have observed, that the male always approaches the female from behind.
This method, or some variation of it, is widely used by creatures throughout the natural world, though there are some notable exceptions.


From: Torrey [mailto:torrey_canyon "at"yahoo.com]
Sent: Monday, December 20, 2004 2:52 PM
Subject: a further aside about mating

I've never observed bluebirds mating, but i've seen Tree Swallows in upper branches near their boxes. The female clings to the branch & the male approaches her from behind. She has to move her tail to the side, & he has to kind of cling to her back. There's lots of fluttering of wings to keep balanced & whatnot. The whole process lasts a couple of seconds. I had a professor once who described it as pressing 2 cloaca together & spitting. Very romantic. :-)

Unfortuantely, i've never seen any of the courtship ritual. I'd bet it involves a lot of arial displays.
My trail is at a nearby state park (well, recreation
area) so i don't get a lot of the observational benefits that backyard monitors have. (On the plus side, i've only had 2 House Sparrows in the past 8
years.)

For good general bird natural history, rent "The Life of Birds", a 10-part PBS series by David Attenborough.
(Or however you spell his last name.) Each show is about an hour long & focuses on one area, like flying or raising young. There is also a companion book, which i haven't actually read.

& as a further aside, ducks & geese *do* have permanent male parts. I don't know about loons or herons or raptors.

I hope people elsewhere are having better weather for their Christmas Bird Counts. :-)

=====
Torrey Moss
Kalamazoo Nature Center



From: Jeff Aufmann [mailto:jaufmann "at"ameritech.net]
Sent: Monday, December 20, 2004 3:33 PM
Subject: RE: a further aside about mating

The easiest bird to see mating is the HOSP. They make a very specific twittering noise while they are mating and they do it often.

I agree on the quality of David Attenborough's "The Life of Birds". I wish PBS would show it again. I have the companion book and it is also excellent. He also more recently did a series on the oceans that was unbelievably good.

Jeff
Cary, IL



From: JOHN & BARBARA SIBIO [mailto:jsibio "at"comcast.net]
Sent: Monday, December 20, 2004 4:00 PM
Subject: Re: a further aside about mating

David Attenborough's series was excellent. I was working in the learning resource center at Middle Tennessee State U. when it came out and we bought the rights to copy it for our use. I wish they would show it again, too.

As far as watching Bluebirds mate, I had never see it although all we backyard birders get to see the prolonged courtship centering on the nestbox. Wouldn't you know that one day I was sitting on my back porch with my grandchildren (6 and 9) and the Bluebird pair decided to mate, with much enthusiasm, on the fence right in front of us! Several times too.

I got to give an impromptu lesson on the birds and bees, for which I wasn't prepared. Eventually, the kids got to see the eggs and the chicks too, so it was a good lesson, all in all. I haven't seen a mating since.

Barbara in Cloverdale, CA



From: Tina Phillips [mailto:cbp6 "at"cornell.edu]
Sent: Tuesday, December 21, 2004 2:27 PM
Subject: Re: a further aside about mating

Surprisingly, many people, even bird lovers, have no idea how birds mate because the reproductive organs are not visible as they are in mammals, for example. I encourage anyone interested in seeing how birds reproduce to visit TBN's Nest Cam site where we have catalogued several short movie clips of Barn Owls, many of which are clips of the birds mating. Here's the link for those interested http://birds.cornell.edu/birdhouse/nestboxcam/CAmovies_2004.html

Enjoy!

Tina Phillips
The Birdhouse Network



From: Paula [mailto:PaulaZ "at"columbus.rr.com]
Sent: Tuesday, December 21, 2004 12:08 PM
Subject: Re: The Life of Birds

Well, I just have to say that I love our local Columbus Metro Library system - I just reserved the DVD "The Life of Birds" online at your recommendation and should be watching it within the week. Don't forget your public library system so you can see and read all these special things listers talk about.

Paula Z
Powell (Central) Ohio



From: Evelyn Cooper [mailto:emcooper "at"bayou.com]
Sent: Tuesday, December 21, 2004 9:24 AM
Subject: RE: a further aside about mating

Torrey says:

"Very romantic. :-)

Unfortuantely, i've never seen any of the courtship ritual. I'd bet it involves a lot of arial displays.
My trail is at a nearby state park (well, recreation
area) so i don't get a lot of the observational benefits that backyard monitors have."

I have a backyard pair. Though I've never seen them mate, I have seen some enduring things that to me is very romantic and I've never witnessed it with birds that build nests in bushes around here. (It may happen, but I don't see it) Of course, there is much wing-waving on my trail and in my yard with the Blues.

Mr. Blue took food to Mrs. Blue while she was incubating. He would also sit on the rain gauge that is just a few feet away on a pole while she was incubating. He absolutely adored her it seemed.

While she was building the nest, he would make every trip she made from the nestbox to the ground (right beneath my bedroom window) to pick up pine needles. He would light just above her and was apparently keeping guard over her while she scooped the needles up in her beak. Then, back to the nestbox they both would go and he would sit on top of it while she built it.
Complete devotion!!! (even though she did all the work building) I guess somebody has to watch out for the big bad guys! I thought it was the sweetest thing I ever witnessed.

I have three nestboxes in my yard and it was a sight watching Mrs. Blue trying to make up her mind. I put a brand new one in the front yard and Mr.
Blue fell in love with it and he just could not stay away from it. However, Mrs. Blue did not choose it, but he sure loved that brand new box!

Evelyn Cooper
Delhi, LA


From: Elizabeth Zimmerman [mailto:ezdz"at"charter.net]
Sent: Wednesday, December 22, 2004 12:19 PM
Subject: OT: Ducks, a further aside about mating

...A cloaca is defined as "The common cavity into which the intestinal, genital, and urinary tracts open in vertebrates such as fish, reptiles, birds, and some primitive mammals." Bet from CT



From: PTom [mailto:ptom"at"austin.rr.com]
Sent: Wednesday, December 22, 2004 9:45 AM
Subject: bluebirds mating

At the 2004 NABS Convention in Ithaca, Dr. Patricia Gowaty called on Helen Munro to show how bluebirds "do it". Helen held both hands up and out in the air, then quickly clapped the heel of her palms together. Dr. Gowaty explained that this quick action usually takes place above the nestbox. She suggested that it might become the official greeting sign for bluebirders.
:-)

... Dr. Gowaty writes in her "Birds of North America" account of Eastern Bluebirds that mating takes place before and during egg laying. And, she told how a female will have eggs in a clutch fertilized by two males (in the talk, she spoke of how the frequency of infidelity varies from place to place, which included a factor related to mate guarding). So, my question for an expert is ... "Do bluebirds 'do it' before each and every individual egg is layed?"

Pauline Tom
Mountain City (no mountains) TX



From: Christy [mailto:ke4fej1"at"email.msn.com]
Sent: Wednesday, December 22, 2004 9:02 PM
Subject: Re: bluebirds mating

Hi All, Just a peek at the topic... But I have seen them mate as I went out to check on a box. I thought at the time I might be seeing something special since I don't get to see much of anything thing else connected with BBs. They just flew by real quick and it was that quick both flying in the the same direction.

I also read somewhere that BBs actually mate with more than one ...that males will go after a female and maybe two or three ...but then the one male who is the mate will actually peck out some of the sperm and he tries again...trying to ensure he is the parent.

oh boy... seems like I just made all this up... but I know I have read it and sure thought it was about BBs... might even be on the Audubon video on BBs 1 hr long.

....

Christy



From: Evelyn Cooper [mailto:emcooper"at"bayou.com]
Sent: Wednesday, December 22, 2004 9:32 PM
Subject: RE: bluebirds mating

... In Dr. Gowaty's study, she stated that socially they remain monogamous, but they do mate with other males on a nesting cycle. ...

Evelyn Cooper
Delhi, LA


From: Elizabeth Zimmerman [mailto:ezdz"at"charter.net]
Sent: Sunday, January 02, 2005 12:32 PM
Subject: Description of bluebird mating

I found this in Sialia, Volume 6, No. 4, Page 143:

During courtship there are displays for the male and female alone, and there are mutual displays acted out in tandem. These include a number of nest demonstrations, sexual chases, courtship feeding, and copulation. Many of these are rooted in agonistic behavior. Figure R shows a female bluebird, at left, in a classic SOLICIT posture. She crouches, sleeks her feathers, points her bill upward, and keeps her tall level raising it higher as sexual intensity is increased. This soliciting posture is often preliminary to actual copulation. At right, the male demonstrates, however, a rather low intensity threat or even attack display. From this position the male will often land on the soliciting female's back and repeatedly peck her head. This ATTACK behavior almost always precedes copulation, although it is often difficult to determine if the male is attempting actual copulation or just attacking the female. In many cases, if the male in this position depresses his spread tail, copulation does in fact result.

Bet from CT


From: Evelyn Cooper [mailto:emcooper"at"bayou.com]
Sent: Wednesday, February 23, 2005 8:26 PM
Subject: Time Is Drawing Near

My husband went out in the rain to take some raisins to the feeder about 20 ft. from our den. Just as he came back in, he turned around to see a male and female rush to the feeder and then they went to the ground right below it and mated! ....I have always had eggs the first week in March.

Evelyn Cooper, Delhi, LA ...


From: Tnbluebirdman"at"aol.com [mailto:Tnbluebirdman"at"aol.com]
Sent: Tuesday, March 29, 2005 9:21 PM
Subject: A question of Bluebird Reproductivity.

List,
My question is a simple one. I have had my resident pair of Eastern Bluebirds for about 5 breeding seasons now.This will be the 5th coming up. I'm thinking that in a Bluebirds life,they are getting on in years. I have no idea of knowing how old the pair was when I built my house, but there is no doubt that it is the same pair. They come when I call them and beg for mealworms at my window daily and have been since I started feeding them 4 yrs ago.
My question I guess is this. Is there an age among Bluebirds at which they become barren? Do they ever become TOO old to have young or are they capable of reproduction as long as they are living? I don't know if there has ever been a formal study on this subject or not but any ideas will be appreciated.
Thanks, Bob in NE Tenn.



From: Sheila Rogers [mailto:sheilarogers"at"charter.net]
Sent: Tuesday, March 29, 2005 10:15 PM
Subject: Re: A question of Bluebird Reproductivity.

Good question!!!

I have no idea if this Male/Female are the same as last year in the nest box. Another question?

When do the juveniles come into season? For I have this pair, female is bringing in shiny paper/cellophane...built to the TOP:) last year was just a feather( White)

I don't think they watch Mom much <grin>

Sheila



From: Keith & Sandy Kridler [mailto:txbluebirder"at"sbcglobal.net]
Sent: Wednesday, March 30, 2005 9:43 AM
Subject: Re:A question of Bluebird Reproductivity.

Keith Kridler Mt. Pleasant, Texas
Harry Krueger trapped and banded all of the adult and young Eastern Bluebird
pairs laying eggs in his 60 nestboxes near Ore City Texas. He had one female
bluebird that was six years old that he trapped all six years in the same
nestbox she was born in! At the age of six years she was with her third
different male bluebird in this same nestbox. At this time the male had been
trapped with her, feeding "their" young EVERY nesting attempt for THREE
whole years in this same nestbox. The male was trapped and banded as an
adult so it did not hatch from one of Harry's trail nestboxes but moved into
the trapping area and mated with this banded female.

(Harry used a radio controlled, modified Huber Trap to trap EVERY nesting
bluebird EVERY nesting attempt and MANY of these bluebirds returned to be
trapped EVERY year and to be handled and have their numbered bands checked
EVERY nesting attempt. A FEW pairs freaked out and were never seen again
after they fledged their first young in one of Harry's nestboxes!)

This pair had 6 young "at" 12 days old when Harry got a call from the landowner
where the nestbox was located. "Harry, this is Bob, my kids came down from
Dallas, brought their cat and it just killed a bluebird that flew down to
catch a cricket by my front porch."

Harry went to the bait shop on Lake'O'the Pines and bought crickets and
grasshoppers and was in Bob's yard within 10 minutes holding the very dead
male banded Eastern Bluebird. Across the yard a frantic female was
efficiently capturing insects, feeding 6 voracious 12 day old bluebirds.(Not
too bad for a 6 year old female and at least a three year old male.)

Harry is holding the dead male bluebird and a couple of boxes of insects
when another male bluebird calls from the edge of the yard....The female
responds and the now excited male wing waves and chortles out a long
tune.....The female responds again...the new male becomes VERY
vocal....Harry sadly looks down at the still warm, but very dead bluebird
and quietly covers the dead male with his other hand....The new male
bluebird accompanies the newly widowed female out into the field and returns
with her to the nestbox. Within 15 minutes from the time the three year
marriage ended in death by a city raised cat, the female had a new mate.
Harry banded this new male bluebird feeding his adopted young a couple of
days later. He trapped this male again with this female the very next month
feeding his young with this same female.

Harry always felt that this female, having been married for more than 39
"human years" should have had the decency to remain in mourning at least a
full day before getting a new "man" to help her with the kids.

Harry banded young male and female Eastern Bluebirds that fledged in August
that were trapped feeding their own young in nestboxes the next March. Or at
7 months they were old enough to breed.

Bluebird young are old enough to fledge at 16>18 days old or EVERY day after
hatching is equal to one year in a human life! (Our 17 year old Shawn could
drive and use a credit card at 16 or be "fledged" from our house.) After
fledging, young birds slow down in aging and it normally takes another 14
days for the parents to each their young how to fly without crashing into
things and about three weeks to have them quit begging for food or free
handouts! (American Human parents pay for cars, college and food and
clothing normally for another 8 years or so after kids graduate high School
at 18 so this will be about age 26 for the actual cut loose date for
humans.) Bluebirds can "cut loose" from their parents at about 2 months
after birth or hatching. But young bluebirds prefer to stay near their
parents all during the summer and winter months and will only cut loose on
the migration back north to breeding areas or when they go in search of
mates and new territory that REALLY needs to contain several nestboxes or
natural cavities on about three acres of PRIME bluebird habitat.

Many you on this list think I only "do birds" but I actually do have other
very time consuming "hobbies" besides bluebirds. The following is a link to
a picture of me and one of Jack Finch's (a true bluebird man) paulownia
trees that will be 4 years old the end of this coming June. KK
http://www.countryworldnews.com/Editorial/ETX/2005/et0310trees.htm



From: Gail [mailto:thorntog"at"ci.hamilton.oh.us]
Sent: Wednesday, March 30, 2005 10:16 AM
Subject: RE: A question of Bluebird Reproductivity.

So, Keith, does this mean that females (or males) generally don't ever mate with one of their offspring? Do they even recognize their offspring the year after they're born?

Gail

SW Ohio



From: Keith & Sandy Kridler [mailto:txbluebirder"at"sbcglobal.net]
Sent: Wednesday, March 30, 2005 11:19 AM
Subject: Fw: A question of Bluebird Reproductivity.

So, Keith, does this mean that females (or males) generally don't ever mate
with one of their offspring? Do they even recognize their offspring the
year after they're born?

It is interesting what we can learn from banding but there are MANY
variables. The original "Little Brother & Little Sister" bluebird photo of
Larry Zeleny's that is used on NABS brochures where I believe he had to hand
raise these abandoned siblings after a House Sparrow attack. I do recall
that the following year these siblings mated and raised young. It is better
to have a wider gene pool in any species. But way back then for Larry and
his bluebirds there were just not that many available bluebirds to choose
from. All different types of in-breeding has been recorded for Eastern
Bluebirds.

Now then, Harry showed me records of a pair of his bluebirds that they
allowed 5 of their daughters to nest in the five closest nestboxes the
following year to the box they were born in!!!! Harry was working with
non-migrating Eastern Bluebirds, he was fledging about 500 young a year to
compete for the same 60 nestboxes each year. He had a larger percentage of
banded females turn up the next year in his much sought after nestboxes.
Young banded first year males had a hard time muscling out a territory from
older more experienced banded males. Some of his males banded as nestlings
did not show up again in his boxes for 2 or 3 years.

Males on his trail seemed to disappear more often after only a few years.
Females seemed to last about twice as long as males on his trail. Harry did
not know if older birds got driven off after their prime or there was simply
a high mortality rate that we never see. He always wondered how many first
year males were successful breeding in cavities other than his boxes or did
they just "hang around" as single males.

I live only about 35 miles from Harry's old trail and often found 20 or more
dead adult bluebirds every year but no one every recorded one of Harry's
banded birds beyond about 15 miles from Harry's trail and it was found dead
in a Purple Martin house the spring after it was banded as a nestling.

Bluebirds have a complex vocabulary and It would not be a stretch for these
birds to have the ability to recognize their own young even a year or more
later. Crows remember their young and their parents for many years.

Bluebirds migrating long distances have the breeding pairs from the previous
year break up on the wintering grounds in the deep south. Several on this
list are now working at trapping and tracking breeding pairs of migrating
populations of Eastern Bluebirds and Mountain Bluebirds. ALWAYS check the
legs of bluebirds you capture by accident!!!!

...

I joked about tracking bluebirds with cell phone towers a couple of years
ago on this list. Who would have dreamed 40 years ago I could watch eggs
popping out of a female bluebird in real time from anywhere in the world
that has phone service! KK



From: Bernie Daniel [mailto:bdaniel"at"cinci.rr.com]
Sent: Thursday, March 31, 2005 6:36 AM
Subject: Re:A question of Bluebird Reproductivity.

Keith,

That is a fabulous story and wonderful effort by Mr. Krueger. If it has not been done this story should be printed in Bluebird or some other widely read birding journal. I would think there would be enough raw data there for a scientific article even. That is really great information about box fidelity. I have often thought that I "recognized" some of the birds on my trails.

The Paulownia tree article was also most interesting. [See remainder of this thread under Planting]

Bernie



From: oinker"at"comcast.net [mailto:oinker"at"comcast.net]
Sent: Saturday, May 07, 2005 7:59 PM
Subject: Bluebirds and Mates

I have had a male Bluebird around for a week now just singing his heart out.
He comes daily for mealies. Will he stay in the area to find a mate or will
he leave? Does a male always find a mate during the season or is it common
for a male or female EABL to be without a mate for the entire summer?
Thanks.

Ruth in PA



From: Bet Zimmerman [mailto:ezdz"at"charter.net]
Sent: Sunday, May 08, 2005 2:50 PM
Subject: RE: Bluebirds and Mates

I've had a bachelor hang out for what seemed like months. It appears he finally snagged a female whose babies had fledged. The female left the previous mate to tend the babies and started a new nest with the bachelor.

I guess it depends on how many bluebirds you have in your area in terms of whether he will find a mate or not....

Bet from CT



From: Keith & Sandy Kridler [mailto:txbluebirder"at"sbcglobal.net]
Sent: Sunday, May 08, 2005 9:23 AM
Subject: Re:Bluebirds and Mates & species pushing each other

Keith Kridler Mt. Pleasant, Texas
Happy Mothers Day to all!
Ruth asked, "Does a male always find a mate during the season or is it common for a male or female EABL to be without a mate for the entire summer?
Thanks."
Pretty good question for this morning! The easy answer is that yes there are male bluebirds out there that never mate or female bluebirds that never lay and incubate eggs all season.

Harry Krueger felt from his banding study that more males were killed during nesting season than females that spent weeks inside well protected nestboxes incubating or brooding young while the males guarded or hunted for food more often. (This would require a larger pool of available adult males to keep up with the widowed females.)

Those banding and checking adult birds at the nests could look at the average age of males and females to see which sex lives longer on average.

Then you need to see what the ratio of young males to females fledging from nestboxes is and figure survivor ratios for the two sexes.

Males must be strong enough to find a territory with nest sites, sing a good song, be attractive to the females in territory, voice and color and then be able to defend their territory from other male bluebirds for the duration of the nesting season!

Females on the other hand are more interested in the nestbox location/habitat than the males themselves due to their returning quite often to the area they were born in or were successful in the past in raising young, but often the females have different males/mates from year to year.

Once bonded to a mate in spring Harry saw that the same pair might jump 10 miles from one nestbox to another nestbox all the way across his trail if his trapping and banding of the adults and his intrusive monitoring of the nest in his boxes bothered a certain pair. (Or maybe some pairs just moved!)

Many people report horrific fighting when either a new female or male shows up and challenges the resident pair for the territory or the other mate.
Bluebirds surviving as a species depends on the strongest birds holding and breeding in the best territory (easily provide them with food, water and shelter nearby) with a mate that is equally strong and determined to fight for their survival. Those birds with inferior skills or poor health due to disease or age (too young or too old) will get bumped to a territory that is less desirable to most other bluebirds. (Nearly all birds in a closed community or habitat have a pecking order where a few birds dominate all of the others in that same species.)



From: rob barron [mailto:rebel1956"at"comcast.net]
Sent: Tuesday, March 07, 2006 9:00 PM
Subject: RE: something strange

Birds are strange creatures. Most migratory birds have gonads that shrink 90% in size and weight after the breeding season to make them lighter for long flights. A bird's feathers weigh a lot more than their bones. Female birds have specialized sperm storage tubules in which they can store sperm in a viable state from one week to 72 days. Long range migrants usually can store it longer. Many migratory birds whose sexes arrive at nesting grounds at different times are fertilized before or during the migration. Passerine birds that arrive at nesting grounds concurrently and non migratory birds usually have a shorter time that sperm can be stored in a viable state.
Bluebirds can usually be observed mating daily during egg laying (last in first out).

The recent advances in DNA testing are turning the world of what we thought we knew about birds upside down.

Rob Barron-Bluebird Lover



From: stan blaylock [mailto:birdwatcher103"at"bellsouth.net]
Sent: Monday, March 27, 2006 7:27 AM
Subject: Egg laying?

How many days between mating & egg laying?

Stan Blaylock
Pelham, AL (Birmingham area)



From: mrtony8 [mailto:philip.berry"at"mchsi.com]
Sent: Monday, March 27, 2006 11:25 AM
Subject: Re: Egg laying?

I don't think anyone knows the answer to that one.
Phil Berry



From: eindians [mailto:eindians"at"zoominternet.net]
Sent: Monday, March 27, 2006 7:52 PM
Subject: Re: Egg laying?

Stan,

Last Spring I was fortunate to witness copulation,4 days later the first
egg was laid. I have no idea if there was copulation before or after that,
but it was 4 days after that encounter.

Evan - Northeast Ohio



From: Torrey [mailto:torrey_canyon"at"yahoo.com]
Sent: Tuesday, March 28, 2006 4:33 PM
Subject: Re: Egg laying?
Hi Stan,

I checked the Eastern Bluebird article in "The Birds of North America" & this is what i found:

"In Clemson, SC, within-pair copulations occur as early as 8 days before first egg is laid & up to 6 days after. In Clemson, SC, & in Athens, GA, all extra-pair copulations occurred during egg-laying period."

They appear to be pretty secretive about mating, so it's not a common sight. Up to a third of the young in a nest might be sired by a different male. Ironically, the more a male guards the female, the more likely she is to visit another male.

Birds of North America Online is a subscription-only service, but you can probably find the original paper version in a good public library.

Torrey Wenger
Kalamazoo Nature Center
Kalamazoo, MI


From: Ruth Brinckman [mailto:r.r.brinc"at"comcast.net]
Sent: Sunday, April 23, 2006 6:55 PM
Subject: More than one Mate??

Ruth
Souderton, E. PA

I have another question regarding bluebirds. My EABL pair has been together a month now; with ONLY one egg laid so far on Saturday, none today. The male sometimes feeds his bride her mealies and they come to the dish to dine together. Today he was sitting on top of another box I have that is currently empty. He was singing his heart out, even looking into the hole and singing into it too, just as though he was trying to attract a female. I swore I saw another female around today. Is it possible for one male to hook up with two females and have two broods? The two boxes cannot be seen from one another and they are about 100 feet apart. I must say I am coming upon some strange things this season. My daughter will relay your answers to me after I leave Monday for the west.

Thanks so much.



From: Jimmy Dodson [mailto:rocks_and_flies"at"hotmail.com]
Sent: Monday, April 24, 2006 12:10 PM
Subject: RE: More than one Mate??

NORMALLY... EABL's are monogamous. But that doesn't mean there aren't exceptions.

I will add that many times if there are multiple boxes around, the male will begin singing from another box once laying/nesting has begun. It's almost like he's already "prepping for round 2", since across most of NAmer EABL's have 2-3 broods per year. Once the clutch in the box they are currently using is done, they will likely move to another box UNLESS you remove the current nest -- some of this does depend on the availability and competition for the other box(es) -- there are cases where they just build another nest on top of the one previously used. Normally I try to remove the used nest
1-3 days after all of the nestlings fledge -- many times that will motivate them to stay with that box. But if other boxes are available, it's not a big deal if they move... there are pro's and con's both ways... many of which are circumstantial.

...

Jimmy Dodson
Asst Forest Manager -- NCSU Dept of Forestry & Environmental Resources
Campus: 3024B Biltmore Hall, Raleigh, NC



From: Evelyn Cooper [mailto:emcooper"at"bayou.com]
Sent: Monday, May 08, 2006 9:29 AM
Subject: Males Mating With Injured Females

Something new I learned. Just recently, two people told me that they had
an injured female, one a Bluebird, the other a Purple Martin. They both told
me that while the injured female was on the ground, males repeatedly mated
with them.

I asked one very experienced monitor what he thought about this and below is
his answer:

"I don't think males (in all of these species) realize the female might be
injured (or care). They see a female that is not moving and appears to be
in some sort of submissive posture that mimics what goes on in the wild.
They seemed to be compelled to mate."

I did a little research on this and have not found anything on it. Has
anyone had this happen (KK?) and could give their thoughts? I thought the
above reasoning sounds like a good one.

We never stop learning!

Evelyn


From: rdb"at"att.net [mailto:rdb"at"att.net]
Sent: Saturday, July 01, 2006 12:12 PM
Subject: After the first nest

I was reading an account on the web of a bird bander who banded 18 female bluebirds at his nest sites. He said that on the second nests, none of the original females were present...all were different females. From this he concluded that female bluebirds fly some distance from where they first nested, and that the second nests are made by other females that originally nested somewhere else. Any thoughts on this? thanks!

--rudy
in maryland


From: rdb"at"att.net [mailto:rdb"at"att.net]
Sent: Monday, July 03, 2006 12:25 PM
Subject: Re: catching bluebirds and House Sparrows

Here's the article and comment. It's under ^Courtship^, and the bander was T.E. Musselman (1935). It does raise questions, for sure. Would be interesting to see how other bander's data compares.

http://birdsbybent.com/ch21-30/bluebird.html

--rudy


From: David Trachtenberg [mailto:dat2"at"nyu.edu]
Sent: Sunday, May 06, 2007 7:20 PM
Subject: Re: bluebird-l digest: May 04, 2007

Are offspring born the previous Spring mature enough to mate the following Spring?
Thanks in advance

lviolett wrote: Yes.


From: Keith & Sandy Kridler [mailto:txbluebirder"at"sbcglobal.net]
Sent: Monday, May 07, 2007 7:20 AM
Subject: Re: bluebird-l digest: May 04, 2007

Harry Krueger banded a nest of young Eastern Bluebirds that were going to fledge in August. The following April he trapped one of the males from this nest that was paired with a female and they were feeding their young. He figured that this male was only 7 months old when it bred with the female and she began laying eggs. Or actually it was only 7 months out of the nest.
He did not do DNA testing to see who the actual father of the babies was but most of the time the majority of the baby bluebirds in a nest are from the bird mated with the female.

When chickens are less than 7 months old they can begin to breed and lay eggs so it would seem the same goes for Bluebirds. You could do a search on the internet to see how old various species need to be to breed in the smaller birds. I believe we have breeders of canaries on this list that have interesting information as to line breeding or in breeding to produce color breaks in the birds feathers. Keith Kridler


From: Bet Zimmerman [mailto:ezdz "at"charter.net]
Sent: Tuesday, May 15, 2007 10:30 AM
Subject: Bluebird mating photos by Dave

http://nature.gardenweb.com/forums/load/bluebird/msg0514364231790.html?8

Bet from CT


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