Nest Box Update 6.12.18

A tree nearly smashed one of the nest boxes, fresh eggs are in another nest box, and an injured or deformed and dead bird in still another.

A small walnut tree came very close to landing on top of the nest box at Cow Pasture. As it is, a grape vine that had been growing on the walnut caught the top of the box. The nest box is occupied by house wrens.

Tree on nest box (6/12/18).
Grape vine caught top of box.

I could hear and finally saw the adult house wrens nearby as I approached the nest box. They were protesting loudly. Whether they scolded me or the fact that their nest had been intruded on by a tree, I don’t know.

I got saw and loppers and went to work on the tree, clearing away the branches and vines. The nestling wrens inside had not been harmed and although the pole the nest box is mounted on now leans a little to the right, all seems well.

Nestling house wrens were fine inside the nest (6/12/18).

Last fall a tree fell and clipped the roof of the nest box at Explore the Wild (ETW). The roof was repaired before this season began.

Two weeks ago there was a near miss at the same nest box. The box is currently vacant but is clean and ready to go for another brood of either chickadees or bluebirds.

What do all of these trees have in common besides the fact that they all hit, or nearly hit, nest boxes. They all had vines growing on them. Two had grape vines and one was covered with poison ivy.

Close call at ETW nest.

The Into the Mist nest box is empty.

An adult bluebird flew from the nest box at the Parking Deck as I approached. There are 5 eggs in the nest within. It appears the adults are incubating.

Five eggs for the bluebirds at the Parking Deck nest (5/12/18).

The Woodlands nest box is vacant but ready to go.

Bluebird eggs in the nest at the Butterfly House hatched on or before 15 May. On last week’s inspection of the nest there was at least one nestling. Three weeks is the upper limit of days (21) for a bluebird to fledge. Something was wrong. However, I left the bird in the nest hoping it would fledge that or the following day, a late bloomer.

A dead nestling, fresh mulberries, and maggots in the butterfly House nest (6/12/18).

I didn’t expect any occupants when I opened the door of the nest box this week. There was, however, still a bird in the nest. It flew out and onto the ground. There was clearly something wrong with the bird. I placed it in a shrub.

The parents had been bringing it food, as evidenced by fresh mulberries in the nest. But it never fledged. It couldn’t fly as it should, only a few feet at a time.

There was also a dead bird in the nest, and many insect larvae, fly, beetle…the nest was heaving. I tossed out the nest and opened the box to air out.

Besides the unpleasantness of the Butterfly House nest, we now have 2 active nests, the Cow Pasture and Parking Deck nests. The former holds 5 house wren nestlings and the latter 5 bluebird eggs. There are now four empty nests.

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