Nest Box Update 5.3.22

Top Photo: Eastern bluebird eggs. Since last week we have seen twelve birds fledge, eight bluebirds (two different nests) and four chickadees (one nest). Two nest boxes are occupied by house wrens and one box still has three bluebird nestlings within. The Cow Pasture bluebird nestlings have fledged. The box was lightly cleaned and a new berry basket placed inside for potential future occupants. The Explore the Wild nest box remains untouched. The nest material in the box also remains,Read more

The Weather and The Squirrels

Top Photo: Gray squirrel nest (center) high in loblolly pine. The week leading up to New Years was warm. Daytime temps reached into the 60s and 70s, heck, the lows were in the sixties towards the end of the week. During that period I saw many squirrels out and about. They all seemed to be chasing around looking for an easy meal, a pecan, a hickory nut, black oil sunflower seeds from the bird feeders. I got the distinct feelingRead more

You Had to Be There

Top Photo: Hermit thrush surveys its winter quarters near red wolf enclosure at museum. A hermit thrush can be difficult to spot when sitting motionless amongst branches, twigs, and leaves of trees. Even while it calls out with a chup…chup…chup or slowly repeats a slurry, whistled tone, it can be hard to pin down. Perseverance sometimes pays off when the bird switches perch, the movement catching your eye, and you got him. While walking along a service road out ofRead more

Red Tails Overhead

Top Photo: Immature plumaged red-tailed hawk soars over museum. If you’ve visited the museum in the past several months you’re probably aware of the red-shouldered hawks that have nested here this season, like just about every other year since I’ve been here. Their loud vocalizations as they soar above the outdoor loop make them quite noticeable to even casual observers. You may not have known, however, about the red-tailed hawks that nested alongside the parking lot on the south sideRead more

Bonus Features

Top Photo: A green heron contemplates its next move. While making the rounds on my weekly bluebird trail nest box inspections I often come across other creatures besides the bluebirds, chickadees, and wrens that use the nest boxes on the trail. Red-shouldered hawks nest in the woods next to the train tunnel as they have been off-and-on for years. The one pictured is a product of this year’s effort. I have to pass by the parking deck on the southRead more

Hawks Identified

The answers to the hawk identifications from last week’s post “A Four Hawk Week” are as follows. Top Photo: Cooper’s hawk. The rest of the hawks are: Hawk 1 – Sharp-shinned hawk (immature) What you can see is the rounded wings, longish squared-off tail and small head. What you can’t see is the rapid flap, flap, flap and glide as the bird flies along. Quick movements usually means small bird. This is a small hawk. Some of the smallest malesRead more

A Four Hawk Week

Top Photo: A hawk passes over. This past week I saw four hawk species pass overhead here at the museum. In case you would like to have a try at identifying the hawks yourself, I’ll wait several days before filling in the captions with the correct species names. The hawks pictured are not to scale.Read more

No Time to Spare

Top Photo: A male slaty skimmer waits for flying insects to pass by. If you spend any time out in nature, you’ll no doubt see animals sitting around seemingly doing nothing. Perching, waiting, and sitting still is just part of life for many wild creatures. There’s usually a very good reason for the apparent idleness. While some dragonflies spend a good portion of their day hunting on the wing, slaty skimmers, like the one pictured above, do their hunting fromRead more

Taken For Granted

(Above: red-shouldered hawk wipes bill on railing after eating red swamp crayfish, on post behind hawk) I recently spent a few days at a coastal Virginia hawk watch witnessing hundreds of hawks passing overhead on their migratory treks south. Osprey, sharp-shinned and Cooper’s hawks, harriers, bald eagles, merlins and kestrels made up the bulk of the cast. And, of course, there were lesser birds as palm warblers, parula, kinglets, flickers, as well various butterflies, like monarch, buckeye, and fiery andRead more

What’s to Eat

The grasshopper in the above photo is being disassembled by a yellowjacket. The meaty parts of the hopper will be transported back to the hive where it’ll be placed in cells containing larvae within the hive. The female wasps are busy this time of year as the hive is perhaps at its largest of the season. I found the parts of a red swamp crayfish on the railing of the boardwalk leading to the Black Bear Overlook. It too hadRead more