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 Railroad tunnel has what appears to be a near complete nest of a bluebird.
The nest box at the service road in Explore the Wild is typically claimed by chickadees each year. It is again this year. The nest, though, doesn’t look complete. It still needs a bit more fur, feathers or soft fibers to top it off.
There has been no activity at the nest box on the service road to Into the Mist. I’ve seen bluebirds in the area and even a bird or two peeking into the box over the past couple of weeks, so it may be next on the list. But as you can see from the photo, it hasn’t been touched.
The nest box on the east side of the parking deck has, as is typical, a chickadee nest within. It may be tweaked a bit before eggs are deposited, but it’s close to being ready.
On the other side of the parking deck, bluebirds have built a nest in the box erected for them there. Again, it may be tweaked a bit before eggs are deposited, but everything looks to be on schedule.
The Butterfly House nest box has a chickadee’s nest inside. It looks primed for eggs.
We typically get eggs during the first week of April. The first eggs are usually chickadees, followed closely by bluebirds. If the weather holds up, that is, remains in the high 60s, 70s and even 80s, I’d not be surprised to see eggs of both species by next week.
This early start is good. House wrens usually arrive from their winter quarters sometime in mid April. The little brown, bubbly wren is also a cavity nester and it’s notorious for tearing apart other birds’ nests, after removing and puncturing their eggs. They then take over the nest box for themselves. If that wasn’t insult enough, the wren may not even use the nest after all.
The male wren arrives first in spring and may build several nests. The female picks the one she likes, or may build her own, choosing to not use the original nest box after having been appropriated by the male. The further along the nest (bluebird or chickadee) the better the chances of it surviving the wren onslaught.
But let’s not jump the gun. Our birds have an early start, and the weather looks good for the near future. I’m betting on the early birds.
See you next week.