Bluebird Update May 31, 2012

Four unhatched bluebird eggs. (Train Tunnel – 5/29/12)

There is some good news and there is some bad news. First, the nest at the Train Tunnel still contains four bluebird eggs, the nest is quite dry, and although I didn’t see an adult nearby I’m hopeful that they are still incubating and that the eggs will hatch soon. I first observed eggs in this nest on May 16 which still gives us time when you consider that the incubation period for these birds is about 18 days. That’s the good news, or at least part of it.

The House Wren nest at the flower meadow next to the Take Off in Catch the Wind presents a bit of a mystery. It contained three eggs on May 8 and six eggs were observed during the inspections on the 16th and 22nd of the month. It now contains neither eggs or nestlings.

But perhaps it’s not as big a mystery as it may seem. When I peeked into the nest box I could see no egg fragments and the nest appeared in good shape. If a raccoon had been feeling around in the nest there would have been significant damage to the nest. And, I’m not sure that the pole (steel grounding rod) which supports the nest box would be an easy climb for a raccoon. I think that a Black Rat Snake is the culprit here.

Black Rat Snakes are excellent climbers and have a known likeness for bird eggs and nestlings. If you’ve ever had a Carolina Wren or House Finch nest on or near your front or back porch you may already know that. I’ve seen many a nest fall prey to rat snakes. That’s the bad news.

The rest is news that is neutral or leans towards the good side.

The nest behind the Sailboat Pond has once again attracted ants.

The nest at the Butterfly House contains five eggs (5/29/12).

The Amphimeadow nest is still empty. I’m afraid it will have to be moved to a new location due to all the traffic this area has seen from the new exhibit installation. The move will have to wait till next season though. At least we, or the birds, managed to fledge one brood from the box this season.

The nest next to the Picnic Dome is starting up again. It now has what looks like a complete nest inside. Hopefully, there’ll soon be eggs in the nest.

The Butterfly House nest box has five eggs. The female was incubating during the last inspection and didn’t flush when I approached last week making it difficult (impossible) to determine how many eggs were present.

And that’s it. We now have nine eggs being incubated in two nest boxes, the Train Tunnel and the Butterfly House nests. One nest has been relieved of its contents (the House Wren nest at the Take Off), two nest boxes are empty (Sailboat Pond and Amphimeadow), and one contains a newly constructed nest but lacks eggs (Picnic Dome).

See you next week!

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