Friday, August 2, 2013

Summer Bird Parenting

It's been six years since we purchased our country property in northwest Indiana. We spend more time at this wonderful paradise with every passing year. There are a variety of habitats on our acreage, thus many species of birds can be seen. Over the years, I have been fortunate to find and monitor several bird nests. What a joy it has been to observe bird parents tending to their young. This post features just a few of the bird families seen in recent years.

I never wish to disturb the bird parents or nestlings in any manner, thus the photographs featured in this post are taken from quite a distance. Many of the images are not of the best quality, but I hope you still enjoy this post.


A beautiful male and female Eastern Bluebird claim the nest box

In 2012, this bluebird pair successfully raised three broods. This year, they reared five youngsters and then relocated to the above nest box. Unfortunately, the handsome male suddenly disappeared and the female had to raise the next crew by herself.

Female Eastern Bluebird with nesting material

Insects for the nestlings

A hungry fledgling begs for a treat

Three juvenile bluebirds test out their water wings in the bird bath


A Blue Jay couple tends to their newly hatched blind babies

This past June, while working on the second floor exterior of our house, my husband noticed two Blue Jays spending a lot of time in one area of a pine tree. He thought there might be a nest in the tree and suggested I take a look. I focused my long lens on the area and to my delight, saw the Blue Jays taking care of their recently born young.

Seven days later ~ Four hungry Blue Jay nestlings beg for food

Six days later ~ Young Blue Jays minutes before they leave the nest

An attentive parent sees to the young bird

Fledgling Blue Jay

The last to leave the nest, this little jay was very reluctant to venture out. It finally did hop out onto a pine limb and sit for a bit. Minutes later, it seemed to be startled by one of the adults and tumbled to the sand below. The parents fed the young bird and kept a keen eye on it. Shortly there after, the jay hopped up to the top of a sand mound, vigorously flapped its beautiful wings, and slowly made its way up a nearby pine tree.


A male Baltimore Oriole feeds a caterpillar to the nestlings

This year, I spotted a Baltimore Oriole nest in a sycamore tree limb overhanging our property. The busy oriole parents provided a constant supply of spiders and plump caterpillars.

 Dad waits his turn while mom feeds the kids 

The little orioles grew quickly!



A House Wren in the process of building a nest

Over the years we have had many wrens raise their young in several of the nest boxes on our property. 

Crane fly is on the children's menu for lunch

Housekeeping ~ A House Wren removes the fecal sac


A pretty Eastern Phoebe sits on her five eggs

Over the last two summers, a pair of phoebes have built a nest inside the garage of our house (currently in the process of being built). This year, my husband put up two platforms for nesting in the carport area but the phoebes preferred the old familiar location for raising their young.

Phoebe adult with newly hatched fluffy babies

Outgrowing the nest

We have had the pleasure of observing the phoebe couple rear twenty phoebes in our garage. The juveniles born this year can currently be seen foraging for insects in the surrounding forest.

Posted by Julie Gidwitz


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. What a lovely post; I enjoyed it very much! Thank you for posting.

  3. What a great post, Julie! Your property looks like a birder's paradise! I really enjoyed your beautiful photos that document the lives of juveniles!

  4. Great post, Julie! I love the bluebirds! They did not nest in my yard this year and I miss them.
    Wonderful photos, happy birding!

  5. Sounds like a great place to have a Nest. Congrats on all the new families over the years and I hope you have many many more :-)

  6. Great post! That is some active property with all those nests and busy parents.

  7. Wonderful post Julie, so many happy nesting birds on your property. A joy to view. I especially loved the crane fly delivery and the reluctant bluejay leaving the nest. Beautifully written and photographed moments from the nest.

  8. Wonderful post and photos, Julie. I love your intimate views on birds' lives. I have plenty of blue jays but have never seen any juveniles; have to be more observant. I took photos of two birds perching in my crabapple tree the other day and, remembering your photos, recognized them immediately as juvenile bluebirds. Thanks for sharing!