Question: The babies left the nestbox but have disappeared. Where did they go?
Answer: Bluebird babies fledge (leave the nest) about 17-22 days after they hatch. After they fledge, the parents care for them for about 28 days, feeding them and teaching them to hunt. The fledglings can’t fly all that well at first so they hunker down in the trees, and are almost impossible to see because they are spotted – it’s great camo. Eventually the family hunts together. If you have a mealworm feeder (http://www.sialis.org/feeder.htm) the babies often eventually show up at it with the parents.
If it is early enough in the nesting season and the parents start another brood, the mother often focuses on nesting again while the father tends to the last batch of fledglings.
The fledglings from the earlier brood may act as “helpers,” and get involved in feeding their siblings from a subsequent brood.
SOMETIMES, when it is the last brood of the season, they all take off after fledging – maybe to areas with better food sources, but they may come back in the fall. Then they may migrate.
Also, bluebirds have pretty strong “nest site fidelity” so they often come back the following year to nest if they survive.
So hopefully you will see at least some of them again!
When will I see you again? When will we share precious moments? Will I have to wait forever?
– The Three Degrees