by , Ranger
Greg Dodge is a professional naturalist as well as a writer, videographer and producer of natural history DVDs. His images have been used in various TV productions, museum displays, and corporate videos. Above all, he has a fascination and passion for all things natural.
Stop by and say hello Tuesday thru Saturday in Explore the Wild, Catch the Wind, or on the Dino Trail.

Bluebird Update 4.9.13

April 11th, 2013

Lots of news to report today. We’ll start at the “Cow Pasture.” Last week this nest box contained a completed nest but lacked eggs. It now has 3 beautiful blue eggs.

Three bluebird eggs is a good start for this nest (4/9/13).

The nest box at the meadow next to the “Take Off” which was empty last week now has a completed chickadee nest with eggs. The bird was incubating when I approached the nest, flew out of the entrance hole and scolded me from a nearby tree while I opened and inspected the box.

Peering at me from a tree, this Carolina Chickadee seems displeased as I peek inside of its nest.

And what was inside?

Five tiny, speckled chickadee eggs in the nest at Take Off in Catch the Wind (4/9/13).

No eggs as of yet in this chickadee nest at the Sail Boat Pond (4/9/13).

Only a couple of hundred feet away another chickadee nest is underway behind the Sail Boat Pond. This nest was plagued by ants last year so I’m hoping for better result this year.

This particular location did host a bluebird on one occassion but it typically attracts chickadees and House Wrens¬†instead. It’s in a “tighter” situation and with two other nest boxes within 200 hundred feet or so the bluebirds have their pick of the best sites leaving this one to the other species.

I’m open to any species but European Starlings and House Sparrows using the nest boxes. Those two species have many sites available to them down the road in suburban and central Durham, sites where bluebirds, chickadees, House Wrens, and nuthatches will not, or can not, nest.

Last week the nest at the Amphimeadow had four bluebird eggs but I could not locate the adult birds. A second check the following day revealed a female incubating, she’s still at it.

This female sat tight while I photo’d her on her eggs at the Amphimeadow nest (4/9/13).

When I checked the nest near the Picnic Dome last Tuesday (4/2/13) it had a chickadee nest but did not contain eggs. It now has three eggs. Hopefully there will be more when it’s time for the next inspection.

I expect that there are more eggs on the way for this chickadee nest at the Picnic Dome (4/9/13).

Some birds seem to be on a tighter schedule than others. The bluebird that has a nest in the box at the Butterfly House has been very busy, she has added five bright shiny eggs to what was an empty nest last week.

The Butterfly House nest is off and running (4/9/13).

In summary, five of six nest boxes are occupied, three by bluebirds and three by chickadees. There are eight eggs in the chickadee nests (3 in one, 5 in another, and one has no eggs). There are currently twelve bluebird eggs waiting to hatch (5, 4, and 3).

See you next week!

Join the conversation:

  1. How often should the boxes be checked? Does it disturb the birds much?

    Posted by jennifer
  2. Ranger Comment :

    I wouldn’t check them more than once a week. The birds seem to be OK with me peeking inside, as you can see the female sat tight on the eggs when I did. She shuttered a bit when I stuck the iPhone in for a picture but didn’t fly out. A quick peek, a photo and that’s it.
    Once the eggs hatch and the nestlings grow large enough to bolt prematurely (fly out of the nest box before they’re ready to) I wouldn’t go near the box. When they start peering out of the hole, have nearly complete flight feathers, stay away from the nest, you might prompt them to leave the nest before they can fly, a flightless nestling on the ground is easy prey for a fox, dog, cat, and anything else that eats birds.
    Oh, and if one does fly out before its time you can pick it up and try to place it back in the box, the parents will still care for it regardless of what’s been said to the contrary.

    Posted by Greg Dodge

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