Bluebird Update 5.9.17

We’ve had 9 birds fledge since last week, one bird died before fledging, and house wrens seem to be taking over the nest boxes. House wrens have built nests in three of the six nest boxes. The other nest boxes currently contain empty chickadee nests. We’ve only had 2 bluebird nests so far this season, one was destroyed by a house wren, the other fledged three birds.

The nest box at the Cow pasture now contains a house wren nest, a work in progress. If you remember, house wrens cleared this nest box of its bluebird eggs in mid April and it had remained untouched since. House wrens are known for NOT using nests that they build, so we’ll have to wait to see what happens here.

House wren nest under construction at Cow Pasture (5/9/17).

On Friday of last week (5/5) I came across the chickadees that had occupied the nest box on the service road to the outdoor classrooms in Explore the Wild. The six chickadees that had been in the nest box had fledged. They were out of the nest and ready to start thinking outside the nest box.

One of the recently fledged chickadees from the Explore the Wild nest box (5/5/17).

Not wasting time, house wrens have completed their nest in the recently vacant chickadee nest at the old Bungee site. No eggs yet but the nest looks to be complete.

Bungee site house wren nest (5/9/17).

The nest box at the service road to Into the Mist remains empty. There’s been no activity here since the third week in April.

No activity at Into the Mist nest (5/9/17).

I didn’t know whether I’d be greeted by an empty box or four ready to fledge chickadees when I opened the door of the nest box at the Woodlands Classroom. Last week the birds seemed to be doing well. But, I wasn’t quite sure if they’d be ready to fledge before this week. When I did open the nest box, three birds were gone, one had died in the nest. I was not able to determine cause of death.

Three chickadees fledged, one didn’t make it at Woodlands nest (5/9/17).

The Butterfly House nest box, which had hosted and fledged three bluebirds, is now the site of a completed house wren nest.

A wren nest inside Butterfly House nest box (5/9/17)?
Confirmation of wren nest at Butterfly House (5/9/17).

We now have three house wren nests, at the Cow Pasture, Bungee site, and Butterfly House. Nine chickadees have fledged, 6 from the Explore the Wild nest and 3 from the Woodlands nest. One chickadee was found dead in the Woodlands nest. The Into the mist nest is empty.

That leaves us with three active house wren nests (Cow Pasture, Bungee site, and Butterfly House) and three unoccupied nest boxes (Explore the Wild, Into the Mist, and Woodlands.

I should perhaps title these updates Chickadee and House Wren Updates given the occupants of the nest boxes this season. This is an indication and result of the nature of the habitat here at the Museum and how it’s changing. House wrens and chickadees prefer more forest, shrub and edge habitat for nesting whereas bluebirds are typically open habitat nesters, fields and edges. Our open areas are becoming overgrown.

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