Nest Box Season Begins

Top Photo: Eastern bluebird eggs from previous season. Though the season hasn’t officially started, at least two of our six nest boxes have seen some sort of activity. One had a pipe organ mud dauber’s nests within. Another has the very beginnings of a bluebird nest. It’s important to remember that it’s early and things can change quickly. If the weather remains good and the birds get an early start with few storms and cold, it’s definitely in their favor.Read more

Nest ox Update 6.6.23

Top Photo: Eastern bluebird eggs. There is currently only one active nest. House wrens have fledged and bluebirds have hatched. ————————— The four house wrens that had been in the nest box at the Cow Pasture have fledged. I could hear the family warbling away in the woods behind the nest box as I confirmed their departure by peaking into the nest. It was empty. The Explore the Wild and Into the Mist nest boxes are empty. The nest boxRead more

Nest Box Update 6.1.22

Top Photo: Eastern bluebird eggs. There are now 6 bluebird eggs and 6 house wren nestlings occupying our nest boxes. The 6 bluebird eggs in the nest box at the Cow Pasture have yet to hatch. I saw no adults in the vicinity so I can’t determine whether the eggs are being incubated. If they are, we should see hatchlings by nest week’s inspection. As always, the nest in the box at Explore the Wild is unoccupied. There’s been noRead more

Pickerel Frogs in the Water

Top Photo: Male pickerel frog on his way to pond to seek a mate. Besides spring peepers and chorus frogs, pickerel frogs are one of the earliest breeding frogs here in central North Carolina. Starting in February you can hear their rolling, snore-like call coming from low wet areas including ephemeral and permanent bodies of water. They’re calling right now here at the museum. I’ve already spotted eggs. Adult pickerel frogs are about 2 – 3.5 inches. Females average largerRead more

Nest Box Update for June 2021

We have six nest boxes on our bluebird trail. I inspect the nest boxes once per week following the same sequence each week; Cow Pasture, Explore the Wild, Into the Mist, Parking Deck East, Parking Deck West, and Butterfly House. This is a compilation of the nest box inspections for the month of June. June 9 There are two active nest, one with incubating house wrens and the other with hatchling bluebirds. The Cow Pasture nest box contains a houseRead more

The Results

Top Photo: A very fresh narrow-mouthed toad. Back in July when rainy days and nights reigned over the wetlands I would hear the bleating, lamb-like call of narrow-mouthed toads calling from in and around the wet areas of our campus. The toads were here to mate. The results are in. Ranger Tim, on duty in Hideaway Woods, spotted a freshly morphed narrow-mouthed toad along the path there. They are very small. Newly morphed toads are about 10 mm, give orRead more

In Disguise

Top Photo: Camouflage looper on right side of seed head. It’s time to start looking for camouflaged loopers. If you’re not familair with camouflaged loopers, they’re the small larvae of the small green moths in the family of moths known as Geometridae, geometrids or geometer moths. The adult moth of the camouflaged looper is called a wavy-lined emerald (Picture Here). These caterpillars (about 1/2” – 5/8”) are well known for covering themselves with the plant they feed on. The caterpillarRead more

Bald-faced Hornet

Smack in the middle of the photo above is a hornet’s nest, a bald-faced hornet hive. It’s in a small red maple just off the end of the boardwalk in Explore the Wild. The hive’s dimensions are approximately 12″ x 8″ (H x W). Bald faced hornets are part of a sub-family of wasps known as yellowjackets. Their markings are white instead of yellow as in the local eastern yellowjacket. They’re also larger than the more familiar yellowjackets. While easternRead more

Nest Box Update 4.23.19

There’ve been additional eggs, hatchlings and a change in occupancy since the last nest box inspection. Bluebirds, chickadees and house wrens are all involved. Yes, house wrens have returned from their winter quarters and have very loudly made their presence known. I heard the rolling warble of a house wren as I approached the nest box at the Cow Pasture and immediately started to wonder, ”Had the wrens taken over the chickadee nest inside the box, the chickadee nest whichRead more