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 4.23.13

April 24th, 2013

Tuesdays are bluebird days. As I do every Tuesday during this time of year, I checked the nest boxes on our Bluebird Trail here at the Museum and the news is good. All seems well on the trail this week, no predation, new eggs laid and some eggs hatching.

The Cow Pasture nest has shown no change, it still has five unmolested eggs. They should hatch any day now.

These eggs will surely hatch by next week (4/23/13).

The Chickadees in the nest next to the Bungee are now parents, their eggs have hatched. It’s difficult to tell whether or not all of their eggs have hatched, but there was a pile of nestlings in the nest when I peeked inside (there were five eggs in the nest last week at this time).

A pile of chickadee nestlings. For a size comparison, that’s my left index finger at bottom left (4/23/13).

The nest behind the Sail Boat Pond has earned a reputation for strangeness over the years, it has hosted bluebirds (once), chickadees, wrens, and ants. Most recently a chickadee had built a nest in the box. Last week when I inspected the box some of the nest material had been tossed to the ground. I was curious to see what surprises this box contained this week.

When I opened the box on Tuesday and poked around to see if there were any eggs in the nest I heard a loud buzzing sound. I backed off. The buzzing stopped. I poked around again and the buzzing was even louder this time. Something was angry and getting more angry the more I poked around in the nest.

I pushed aside some of the fur that topped the nest and there, 3/4 of an inch or so below was a very upset Bumble Bee. She was flapping her wings frantically and pumping her abdomen as if to sting whatever it was that was disturbing her slumber, me. I let her be.

The buzzing Bumble Bee (4/23/13).

The next nest on the inspection list is the Amphimeadow nest. Last week it had three nestlings and one unhatched egg. I did not see an egg, but there were three very healthy looking nestlings staring back at me when I opened the box. This may be the last time I see these birds in the nest, they will likely fledge by next Tuesday.

Three healthy bluebird nestlings (4/23/13).

Last Tuesday, there were three eggs inside the nest box next to the Picnic Dome, there are now 6 eggs and the birds are incubating.

This chickadee nest has increased in size from 3 to 6 eggs. Again, for a size comparison, that’s my left index finger at the bottom (4/23/13).

And finally, the Butterfly House nest. Last week I reported five eggs in this nest, on Tuesday (4/23) there was only one. But, there were also four hatchlings, and they looked fresh, very fresh, as if they had just hatched.

The one unhatched egg (bottom left) will probably (hopefully) hatch later in the day (4/23/13).

So far everything seems to be going well, except of course for the Sail Boat Pond nest. Weirdness is the norm for that nest, so I suppose that one’s doing fine too.

In summary, we have six occupied nest boxes, three by bluebirds, two by chickadees and one by a Bumble Bee. There are a total of 7 bluebird nestlings and 6 unhatched bluebird eggs. The chickadees have what appears to be 5 nestlings and 6 unhatched eggs. I’m not sure what the status is of the Bumble Bee. My thoughts are that this female was simply trying to stay warm amongst the soft moss and fluffy fur graciously provided for her by the nest builders, the chickadees.

Next week….

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