, , ,

A Bluebird nest has no plumbing. Therefore, in addition to constantly flying around to look for worms and insects, the two parents have to keep the nest clean so that their babies can grow up in a disease free environment. The little ones naturally don’t do anything but eat and poop. Fortunately, nature has come up with a way for the parents to deal with their no-plumbing environment.

Lately I have seen them carry out what is called “fecal sacs” that they collect from the rear end of their babies. These sacs contain excretions (poop) from the digestive system, and the parents take them out to throw them far away from the nest. They are like diapers for birds.

Following is a series of photos I took these past few days to show how both parents perform their diaper duties.

Male Bluebird inspecting nest.

Male Bluebird reaching in to get fecal sac from a baby bird.

Male Blurbird carrying fecal sac away to dump somewhere else.

Male Bluebird taking fecal sac away.

With a brood of 3 to 7 babies, it really takes two adults to hunt for food and to carry out fecal sac disposal many times a day.

The female Bluebird shares with her mate the same diaper duties. The following photos, taken at different times, show her doing her share. She was too fast for me, or there was not enough light, so the photos turned out blurry.

Female Bluebird flying fecal sac away from nest.

Female Bluebird flying fecal sac away from nest.

Female Bluebird with worm.

Feeding their babies and cleaning after them constantly have taken their toll on the Bluebird parents. I think they have lost a good deal of weight compared to three or four weeks ago. Since Bluebirds usually have 2 to 3 broods each year, these parents may have a second set of babies to care for in a month or so!