Isn't this unusual behavior for a mama bluebird?
(Castle Hayne, NC)
I have pair of nesting bluebirds in my yard. This is second pair, first pair didn't make it. I want to try to make this as short as possible. Mama bluebird laid 3 eggs that were due to hatch between July 2-4. l peeked in the box Monday afternoon July 3rd and saw a little head sticking up and he was gapeing. I wasn't expecting to see that and it scared me a little due to the fact that I've been anxious with worry plus mama and daddy were perched in tree watching me so I stepped back real quick without investigating anything else. I don't know if he hatched that day or Sunday, the day before. I don't know if the other 2 had hatched yet or not because like I said I stepped back quickly. They could have been, I just didn't see them at that time. I know now there's 3 little ones in there. Thursday July 6th they were only 3 or 4 days old. I'm leaning more toward 3. Mama did not sleep in the box Thursday night and hasn't been since. I seen them both Thursday night around 8 when they were feeding babies, it was almost dark. They both flew off afterwards. I thought she was going to drop off fecal sac somewhere and come right back but she didn't. I'm now crying and wondering what happened. I kept watching until about 9:30 and never saw her. I went back out around 10 and stood off to side of box and shined a very dim light in there to see if she was in there or to see if I could see her shadow. She wasn't in there so I stuck a blade of grass in entry hole and went back in. I paced and kept looking out window. I was determined I wasn't going to sleep because I didn't want anything to happen to babies because there's a couple stray cats in neighborhood that I've been spraying witth water every time they get close to yard. I went back out about 2:30 that morning and blade of grass was still there. They did return next morning, don't know when exactly but I saw them about 9:30. My question is why would a mama bluebird not sleep in the box or brood babies that young. Everywhere I've read and researched it all says the same thing, mama bluebirds will brood nestlings until they are about a week old or fully feathered. Why would she do this knowing they are completely featherless and I thought they couldn't regulate their own body temperature until they are fully feathered. Isn't this unusual behavior?