While the drive to reproduced has slowed, there is still some activity in some of our bird nest boxes. Four of our six nest boxes are empty, but life is just beginning in two of those boxes.
Three weeks ago the Cow Pasture nest was empty. Two weeks ago the nest had two bluebird eggs within. One week ago it held five eggs. When I opened the nest box this week (6/18) I expected to find five bobble-headed bluebird nestlings. What I found was five eggs. If the birds are incubating these eggs should hatch very soon. I didn’t see any adults in the neighborhood, but I’m going to assume they were somewhere nearby watching and waiting for me to leave. I expect to see miniature bluebirds by next week.
Both the nest box in the meadow next to the Bungee Jump and behind the Sail Boat Pond are empty. Neither has seen activity for two weeks.
Saturday (6/15) while at the Build It! Bamboo exhibit in the Amphimeadow I photographed a male bluebird bringing food to the nestlings in the nest box on the west side of the meadow. Indeed, all day Saturday both adult bluebirds were busy hauling food to the four nestlings who were rapidly outgrowing their home.
Last week, I predicted that these birds would have fledged by now. When I opened the box Tuesday they were indeed all gone, nothing remained but an empty nest and a mass of fecal matter. While in the meadow Saturday I could see the nestlings jammed together at the entrance hole, it must have been very cramped, and smelly, in the nest box. This is the third empty nest.
It appears as though the adults had been bringing the nestlings heavy doses of some kind of blue or purple berry for the past several days, the aftermath of which coated everything in the nest box. Judge for yourself…
The fourth empty nest is the nest next to the Picnic Dome. It hasn’t seen activity for three weeks. I’m not sure, but I doubt there will be another brood at the Picnic Dome.
Opening the Butterfly House nest box told a different story, inside were five very fresh little bluebirds. The birds were barely able to hold up their heads, but as newly hatched birds will do, any noise near the box sets them into motion. Expecting a parent to come in and plop an insect into their gaping bills, the nestlings rear up, open wide and hope for the best.
So, we now have four empty nest boxes, only the nest box at the Cow Pasture and the Butterfly House are active. The Cow Pasture nest contains five eggs while the Butterfly House nest holds an equal number of nestlings.
Till next time…
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!