Nest Box Update

Five of our six nest boxes contain nests. Four have eggs. Two contain chickadee eggs and two, bluebird eggs. Two nests had adults incubating, a bluebird and a chickadee. One nest box is empty. The nest box at the Cow Pasture near the Ellerbe Creek Railroad Tunnel has two bluebird eggs within. I expect there’ll be a few more by next week’s inspection of the box. The chickadees that started the nest in the nest box on the service roadRead more

Mallard Surprise

Top Photo: Six of 14 mallard ducklings in wetlands. I got a call on the radio telling me that there were, “a bunch of baby ducks swimming around in the wetlands,” specifically, the swampy area on the west side of the path near the Main Wetlands Overlook. I went to investigate. They were mallards, a female and at least thirteen ducklings (a later count totaled 14 ducklings). The ducklings were frantically feeding as the mother carefully swam along with them,Read more

Nest Box Update 3.23.20

I hadn’t conducted a nest box inspection since 10 march. At that time there was a nearly complete chickadee nest in one nest box and a mere sprinkling of moss on the bottom of another nest box (chickadee). There are now five nests in our six nest boxes here at the museum. Three nest are chickadees. Two are bluebirds. One nest box is empty. There are no eggs. The nest box at the Cow Pasture near the Ellerbe Creek RailroadRead more

Nest Box Season

It’s nest box season. While that in itself is exciting, only two of our six nest boxes show activity. The nest box at the Butterfly House has an almost complete Carolina chickadee nest inside. A bit more moss, some fur and or feathers to top it off and it’ll be ready for eggs. The nest box on the east side of the parking deck has just a few small pieces of moss. This nest box typically starts off with chickadees,Read more

Early Spring

Neotropical migrants won’t begin arriving on the scene for a month or more. However, our local year-round resident birds have the jump on those mainly insectivorous migrants. Some of the locals like cardinals, towhees, brown thrashers, Carolina wrens and others are in full song and some are building or investigating nest sites. American robin numbers are increasing, and keep an eye out for cedar waxwings on any shrubs or trees that still have fruit, like holly or red cedar. NorthernRead more

Purple Martin Update

North America’s largest and probably most familiar swallow is the purple martin. The birds spend the winter in South America and return to eastern North America to nest. They’re almost entirely dependent on manmade structures to nest in, plastic or hollowed out natural gourds, large multi-room bird houses and other structures. The first arrivals from South America usually make it back to North Carolina by the first couple of weeks in March. One was spotted in Durham on February 12th.Read more

Waxy Fruit Eaters

Above: Yellow-rumped warbler on wax myrtle. Yellow-rumped warblers (also know as myrtle warblers) are not the only animals that eat wax myrtle fruit. I read somewhere that some 42 bird species consume the wax-coated seeds of the shrub. Besides the above mentioned warbler, I can only remember seeing a handful of species of bird partake, ruby-crowned kinglet, eastern phoebe, and a few more. Regardless of how many birds or other animals eat the wax myrtle fruit, the grand prize winnerRead more

Canada Geese Back In Wetlands

Each year during February a pair of Canada geese shows up in our wetland. They’re here to mate and nest. Geese are typically noisy birds, but the pair doesn’t necessarily upset the quiet solitude of the wetlands. In fact, their presence enhances the experience of the swampy woodland. For the past several years, two pair have vied for the right to nest in out little pond. When the pairs clash, the erstwhile solitude of the wetlands quickly becomes a raucousRead more

Three Birds to Watch For

Don’t fret. If you visited the museum to get a look at our wintering female common goldeneye to add to your NC, year, month, or whatever other birding list you may be working on, and you missed her, she’s still around. Yes, there are days when she takes off for other fishing holes, but so far, she’s always come back. Though, she’s not always glued to the mergansers as in many of my photos of her would suggest. She frequentlyRead more

A Hairy Fungus

Above: Phycomyces, or pin mold, sporangiophores (stalks) and sporangia (round spore cases). A hairy mass of mold or fungus caught the attention of Museum Volunteer Sam as she was filling bird feeders. Superficially, it looked like fur. A closer look hinted at some sort of mold or fungus. At first I/we thought the stringy, filamentous fungus was growing up from the thistle or niger seed that was spilled along the ground near the bird feeders in Catch the Wind. ARead more