Monthly Archives: August 2016

A Tale of Two Eastern Bluebirds 2016 Story Continues

Eastern Bluebirds Roberts' Roost Country Guest House

Gus and Eliza Bluebird in front of the Old Roberts’ Barn

Welcome to a “Tale of Two Bluebirds” the continuing saga of the Eastern Bluebird pair “Gus” and “Eliza” that reside at Roberts’ Roost Country Guest House. If you have visited my website anytime in the last two years, I am sure you have came across some photos of my favorite feathered friends. “Gus” and “Eliza” first appeared at Roberts’ Roost Country Guest House in March of 2015. You cannot imagine my excitement when they chose the nesting boxes in my yard as their home for the season. My dad was not much into birds but he always had one bluebird box nailed to a fence post at the corner of the yard and for many years had some bluebird visitors that would stop by to nest for the summer. “Gus” and “Eliza” were named after my grandparents, the original owners of the land Roberts’ Roost Country Guest House rests upon.

2015 was a great year for the little family. They had three separate nestings,  yielding a total of ten babies over the summer. My husband and I, along with many of the guests that stayed at Roberts’ Roost Country Guest House, thoroughly enjoyed their antics as they raised their families and played  around the yard the entire summer season. Every day I would put wax worms on a plate that rested on a stump in the back yard and they would fly in to feed themselves and their young. About mid October, was the last time in 2015, I saw my little family of bluebirds. I was out for a walk along the country lane back to the neighbors’ house, as Mom and Dad landed on the utility line above me. I could see circling above me was all ten babies they had raised that summer. Mom and Dad let out a couple of chirps as if to say goodbye and then all twelve gathered together and headed south. That was the last I saw of them until late winter, 2016.

Eastern Bluebirds Roberts' Roost Country Guest House

Mr. Bluebird Gus

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I got my first glimpse of “Gus” and “Eliza”  this year, on a very brisk, windy day on March 13th, 2016. We pulled into the yard of Roberts’ Roost Country Guest House and the first thing I noticed when I got out of our truck, was “Gus” and “Eliza” sitting among the branches of the dead maple tree next to the driveway. Their bright blue feathers shining among the bare branches was such a welcome sight after the long, dreary days of winter. It didn’t take them long to get settled back into the routine of the wax worms served on their little plate in the back yard. About every four days I would run to the gas station to restock their $10.00 container of worms. (I never said these were inexpensive friends!) By the end of the first week in April they had started their first nest of the season laying five eggs. Things went along fine for a few days until the day we noticed “Gus” was there but not “Eliza”. Dennis checked the nest box and all five eggs and the nest had been destroyed. “Gus” seemed very distraught and there was no sign of “Eliza”. It took two days before “Eliza” showed back up again. I had been sick with worry that something had happened to my little female feathered friend. I can’t tell you the relief when she reappeared.

Eastern Bluebirds Roberts' Roost Country Guest House

Mrs. Bluebird Eliza

They immediately started to work on a second nest in a different bluebird box in the yard. I had such hopes for the second nest as “Eliza” proceeded to lay four more eggs in the second box. A few days later we discovered that nest and all its eggs had also been destroyed. We finally figured out it was a raccoon that was raiding the nests at night. Devastated again, but very persistent, “Gus” and “Eliza” proceeded to build two more nests and “Eliza” laid a total of another six eggs still with no success. Dennis had put a sheet of aluminum on the fence near the nest boxes but that didn’t keep out the raccoons either.

Eastern Bluebirds Roberts' Roost Country Guest House

Mrs. Bluebird Eliza

Finally, around the 5th of June, “Eliza” completed laying another four eggs in the nest box they had raised two successful broods in last year. We didn’t look in the nest box after that as we were scared we would jinx nest number five. On June 20th, the 12th anniversary of my father’s death “Gus” and “Eliza” started taking wax worms into the nest box to start feeding the babies. The nest box they were using rests in the same place as the original box my dad had put up so many years before.  June 23rd, was the first time we were brave enough to open the lid of the box and were able to view to our first four babies of the  2016 season.

Eastern Bluebirds Roberts' Roost Country Guest House

Babies on June 23rd 2016

The next photo was taken on July 2nd.

Eastern Bluebirds Roberts' Roost Country Guest House

Babies on July 2nd 2016

Several days after that our four baby bluebirds fledged the nest. Their first flight took them across the yard to the large 150 year old plus Burr Oak tree. For a week or so mom and dad continued to take the wax worms we put on their plate each day, to the very top branches of that beautiful old oak tree. You could see the babies moving about among the leaves of that majestic oak. After a week or so the babies decided to brave leaving the safety of their big old tree and started venturing into the yard to claim their own worms at the plate. Soon all four babies were coming with “Gus” and “Eliza” to the feast. Here are some photos of one of the juvenile Eastern Bluebirds I names Gus Jr. (Really not sure if it is a male or female but thought the name was appropriate.)

Eastern Bluebirds Roberts' Roost Country Guest House

Gus Jr.

Eastern Bluebirds Roberts' Roost Country Guest House

Gus Jr.

Eastern Bluebirds Roberts' Roost Country Guest House

Gus Jr.

Eastern Bluebirds Roberts' Roost Country Guest House

Gus Jr.

Eastern Bluebirds Roberts' Roost Country Guest House

Gus Jr.

Eastern Bluebirds Roberts' Roost Country Guest House

Gus Jr.

Eastern Bluebirds Roberts' Roost Country Guest House

Gus Jr.

Eastern Bluebirds Roberts' Roost Country Guest House

Gus Jr.

It’s now been well over a month since the four babies left the nest and they are now taking off on their own in many directions. However they do still come occasionally and sit together on the utility wires back by the worm plate. We stopped by the house tonight just before dark and all six family members were sitting side by side on the high wires.

The pleasure and joy that I have receive from these beautiful little birds is almost beyond words. Every time I see them I think of my grandparents, “Gus” and “Eliza” Roberts. They gave birth to sixteen children on this land so many years ago. They too had their losses. Five of my grandparents’ children did not live to adulthood. For the other eleven, almost all made it into their late 80’s with three still living today. “Gus” and “Eliza” the Eastern Bluebirds have now raised fourteen “children” over the last two summers on this special piece of land. I am hoping the bluebirds stay around until the days grow shorter in October before once again they do a fly over and say goodbye.

I am not sure what the life span of these special little birds are but I am hoping “Gus” and “Eliza” will come back next Spring for another summer stay or two. When they are no longer around, I hope their ancestors enjoy this place called Roberts’ Roost Country Guest House as much as I and my guests seem to.

Have a great day!

Connie Zink

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mount Carroll’s Most Unique Attraction!

When visiting the area you might want to check out our most unusual attraction “The Raven’s Grin Inn” in Mount Carroll, Illinois. Located only six miles from Roberts’ Roost Country Guest House you can visit this unique home that was featured on HGTV’s popular TV show “Extreme Homes”. It is open for business year round and a very popular attraction the month of October!

Visit Mount Carroll Illinois!

During your stay at Roberts’ Roost Country Guest House, I hope you will have a chance to visit historic Mount Carroll, Illinois. Located about six miles from Roberts’ Roost, Mount Carroll is a glimpse into the past with its beautiful courtyard and historic houses. Antique shopping and fine dining awaits you in Mount Carroll. For a preview of this beautiful town check out this video created by Chad Winterland.