Bluebird Update 7/8/14

One nest has fledged all their bluebirds while two nests are still in the early stages, one contains eggs, the other four fresh nestlings.

The Cow Pasture bluebirds have flown their coop. Upon inspection, the nest box was empty except for hundreds, no thousands, of very tiny spiders.

Hundreds of tiny spiders can be seen on the end of the nest box door (7/8/14).
Hundreds of tiny spiders (dark specs) can be seen on the end of the nest box door (7/8/14).

At first sight I thought the minute creatures were mites, maybe even ticks. I thought that perhaps their parents had fed off the birds in the nest, laid eggs and now the eggs were hatching out. A closer look revealed that they were not ticks or mites but spiders. The birds had apparently fledged and the spiders hatched sometime afterward from an egg casing that I must have overlooked while cleaning the box following the previous occupation. There was probably little or no interaction between the birds and the spiders.

A closer shot of one of the spiders.
A closer shot of one of the spiders.
If I'm correct, the idividual at top left is a postemryo spdier (just hatched. The other appears to be a 1st instar (after the first molt).
If I’m correct, the individual at top left is a postembryo spider (just hatched). The other appears to be a 1st instar (after the first molt).

The Bungee Jump nest is still empty as is the Sail Boat Pond nest box.

Where last week the Amphimeadow nest contained 2 bluebird eggs, it now contains four. The female was incubating.

Four eggs for the Amphimeadow bluebirds (7/8/14).
Four eggs for the Amphimeadow bluebirds (7/8/14).

The Picnic Dome nest box is empty.

On to the Butterfly House. The female peeked out while we approached the nest box, but took flight as we got closer.

Carefully opening the nest box at the Butterfly House (7/8/14).
Carefully opening the nest box at the Butterfly House (7/8/14).
Four bluebird nestlings snooze away the day inside the Butterfly House nest (7/8/14).
Four bluebird nestlings snooze away the day inside the Butterfly House nest (7/8/14).

We now have two active nests, the Amphimeadow (4 eggs) and the Butterfly House nest (4 nestlings). With the fledging of the four bluebirds at the Cow Pasture nest box, we now have four empty nest boxes.

See you next week!

2 responses to Bluebird Update 7/8/14

    • Greg Dodge
      Greg Dodge says:

      You might be right. I considered Acari, but it looks as though there is a fairly clear separation between a cephalothorax and abdomen. There were also trails of silk behind many of the individuals which are not visible in these photos. I think there were both present.

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