Nest Box Update 5.14.24

Top Photo: eastern bluebird eggs. Of our six nest boxes, three hold bluebird eggs, two, five, and three for a total of ten eggs. The other three nest boxes are empty. — The Cow Pasture nest box still contains two bluebird eggs. There have been two eggs in this nest since at least April 30’s inspection of the nest boxes, two weeks ago. These eggs should have hatched. I’ve not seen adult bluebirds in the area. Has this nest beenRead more

Cicadas and Other Things Around the Campus

Top Photo: Magicada tredecim, one of two species of periodical cicadas emerging this spring in the Central Piedmont of North Carolina. You’ve most likely heard about the emergence of two broods of cicadas this spring, Brood XIII and Brood XIX of seventeen year and thirteen year periodical cicadas, respectively. Here in Durham and surrounding counties there is no overlap of the two broods but there are two species emerging at the same time from Brood XIX. Magicada tredecim and MagicadaRead more

Nest Box Update 5.7.24

Top Photo: Eastern bluebird eggs. We now have four newly fledged chickadees getting lessons in survival in the woods and airspace of the museum. There are seven eastern bluebird eggs being incubated. — The Cow Pasture nest is all bluebird. The nest looks clean and although the two eggs in the nest are a bit mismatched they’re being incubated by a female eastern bluebird. She hopped off the nest as we arrived. The more round of the two eggs inRead more

Nest Box Update 4.30.24

Top Photo: Eastern bluebird eggs. Seven more birds have fledged (all bluebirds). There are three eggs in the nests of different nest boxes, one is fresh (bluebird), one appears cracked (bluebird) and the other seems left over from the first brood and appears dead (bluebird). — The Cow Pasture nest, after having been emptied of eggs by an apparent house wren raid, now has two bluebird eggs. One though, seems to be cracked. If so, it won’t hatch. It appearsRead more

Common Snapping Turtle Tumble

Top Photo: Common snapping turtles during spring mating. A disturbance just below the water’s surface caught my attention. Something was breaking the water’s surface about 100 feet or more out in the open water of the wetlands. Then it was gone. Was it a duck? No, all our winter resident diving ducks had already departed for the north, or wherever else they feel a need to be at this time of year. Was it an otter? Otters can stay belowRead more

Nest Box Update 4.23.24

Top Photo: Eastern bluebird eggs. We have one empty nest box, one with a nest sans eggs (chickadees), two with 1 egg each (chickadee and bluebird) and a total of eleven nestlings (4 chickadees and 7 bluebirds. — After having been raided by a house wren and emptied of its five eggs, the bluebird pair has apparently rallied and started a new nest. The Cow Pasture nest box has come back to life and so far holds one bluebird egg.Read more

More Spring Sightings and a Red Wolf Observation

Top Photo: Male common whitetail. Common whitetails are everywhere. Ponds, lakes, even slow moving rivers and streams are home to this ubiquitous skimmer. The standout white/blue abdomen and dark marks on the wings lend to the easy recognizability of the male. The female too, is easily recognized by the three dark markings on each of her four wings. They both tend to perch low to, or directly on, the ground. Another early season dragonfly making an appearance is the blueRead more

Nest Box Update 4.16.24

Top Photo: Eastern bluebird eggs. There are currently 10 eggs (chickadees), 7 nestlings (bluebirds) and at least one unhatched egg (bluebird) in our six nest boxes. One nest has been destroyed by house wrens. — The nest at the Cow Pasture held 5 bluebird eggs at last week’s nest box inspection. The box was empty of eggs this morning (4/16/24). Looking around, there were 5 eggs on the ground directly in front of the next box, all punctured. While IRead more

Red Wolf Play

Top Photo: Oak in the grass. Oak, our female red wolf on display in Explore the Wild, is the more active of the two wolves in the enclosure. You’re more likely to see the sleek Oak trotting about the enclosure than the big lumbering male Adeyha. Here, in true Oak fashion, she romps in the tall grass of the compound. On the other side of the enclosure… The object of Oak’s attention is a deer pelt given her by theRead more