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 5.21.13

May 22nd, 2013

No takers yet in the Cow Pasture nest (5/21/13).

We have three empty nests and three occupied nests. The Cow Pasture nest which was cleaned and readied last week for new occupants is still waiting for someone to move in.

This nest has so far fledged four bluebirds. I expect there will be at least one more brood from this nest box.

The bluebirds who have built a nest atop the old chickadee nest next to the Bungee Jump have laid four eggs in the nest. This nest has so far seen five chickadees hatch and fledge. It’s now up to the bluebirds to try and see their young through to fledging.

Four eggs in this bluebird nest at the Bungee Jump (5/21/13).

Three of the chickadee eggs in the nest behind the Sail Boat Pond have hatched. We’ll have to wait to see if the fourth egg is fertile. It looks as though the birds that have hatched had just hatched so that fourth egg may yet break open to reveal another chickadee.

Three tiny chickadees and one egg in the nest behind the Sail Boat Pond (5/21/13).

Last week the nest box in the Amphimeadow contained two bluebird eggs. It now has five.

An increase of three from last week for the nest in the Amphimeadow (5/21/13).

The five chickadee nestlings that had occupied the nest box next to the Picnic Dome can now be referred to as chickadee fledglings, they have flown the coop.

The five nestlings that lived here are now free flying birds (5/21/13).

Last week, through the comment column, Judy Overby asked me what the material, the white material, inside the chickadee’s nest box was. I told her that I’d pick a sample the next time I went into the box. I did. The material is synthetic. It looks to be pillow or cushion stuffing.

Chickadees use many different fibers to top off their nests from feathers to fur to synthetic fibers. I once saw a chickadee repeatedly work at shredding an old tarp which had washed up along a river. The tarp was already fairly shredded but the chickadee worked tirelessly at getting the fibers out of the tarp and incorporated into its nest.

Judy also mentioned that the white stuff in the nest (see photo above), “…looks very much like the white, fluffy stuff we are finding all around our yard.” I haven’t seen what Judy has in her yard but right now in our Wetland at the Museum, Black Willows are putting out seed, airborne seeds. Perhaps this is what Judy is seeing in her yard.

Willow seed ready to be carried off by the wind.

Willow seeds “snowing” down in Explore the Wild. Seed dispersal in action.

An empty nest box at the Butterfly House (5/21/13).

Back to the nests. Looking much like the nest box at the Cow Pasture, the Butterfly House nest box is still empty. But let’s not rush it, the birds that occupied this box fledged only a week or so ago, the parents need time to recuperate before starting anew.

So, here’s the run down of the current nest box activity. The Cow Pasture nest is empty, waiting for a new nest to begin. The nest next to the Bungee Jump contains four bluebird eggs. There are three new chickadee hatchlings and one unhatched egg in the nest box behind the Sail Boat Pond. The Amphimeadow nest has five bluebird eggs within. There is currently no nest in the box next to the Picnic Dome. And, the Butterfly House nest is empty.

We currently have three empty nests and three occupied nests. Two nests are occupied by bluebirds with 9 eggs, four in one and five in the other. One nest box houses a chickadee family with three chicks and one unhatched egg.

See you next week!

 

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