The heavy rain and chilly nights of the past several days seems to have had little effect on the chickadees and bluebirds that are nesting on our Bluebird Trail here at the Museum. All occupants of our nest boxes seem to be doing well, even flourishing.
The bluebird nestlings in the “Cow Pasture” nest seem about ready to fledge. It’s difficult to see exactly how many nestlings are crowded into that nest but it appears as though there are four. The nest had five eggs when incubation began. It appeared as though all the eggs hatched when I inspected the box last week, but it now looks like there are four nestlings present. I don’t like to poke around too much inside the nest, not at all in fact, so it’s sometimes a guessing game as to just how many birds are in the nest.
Looking more like chickadees every day, the birds in the nest next to the Bungee Jump will probably depart sometime this week. I’ll probably see these birds following their parents around the woods later this week taking lessons on how to feed themselves.
The chickadees who have chosen to nest in the nest box behind the Sail Boat Pond apparently have worked something out with the House Wren and the Bumble Bee that had been delaying this nest’s progress over the past several weeks. The bee is gone, the House Wren moved on to hassle some other cavity nesting birds and the chickadees have deposited four eggs in the nest. I suspect that there will be a few more eggs by next week’s inspection.
Not much to say about the nest in the Amphimeadow, it fledged its birds, has been cleaned and is ready for occupancy. Once the birds that have fledged are on their own the parents may start a new nest in this box. We’ll have to wait and see.
This nest was not very productive last year due to construction of the Into the Mist exhibit just across the path from this site. This season promises to be a more quiet season, and hopefully a more productive one for the bluebirds.
Last week I reported that the chickadees in the nest box next to the Picnic Dome had started to incubate the 6 eggs they had deposited there. The eggs have hatched. Next week these naked, blind, fragile little creatures should be fat and happy.
If the bluebirds that are in the nest box at the Butterfly House are still there next Tuesday, I’d be very surprised. I was a bit nervous about photoing these birds after opening the nest box and seeing how large they were. I thought that they may bolt, fly out of the nest before they were ready to fledge. I was very careful, moved slowly and quietly and got the shots that I needed.
Curiously, this nest started with five eggs, hatched four nestlings, and now it appears that there are only three birds in the nest. Perhaps one of the birds had already fledged moments before I inspected the box. I didn’t see any activity nearby, but I could have simply missed seeing the bird. It wouldn’t be the first time that I overlooked something.
As it stands now, we have two nests of six occupied by bluebirds, one with four nestlings and one with three. Three nest boxes are currently being used by chickadees, one with five nestlings, one with five or six nestlings (not exactly sure which) and the other with four eggs. One nest box is empty.
So, till next week….
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.
He can be found Tuesday thru Saturday in Explore the Wild, Catch the Wind, or on the Dinosaur Trail. Ask him what’s new in the wild!