Final Nest Box Update 8.1.23

Top Photo: Eastern bluebird eggs.

The bluebird nesting season here at the museum is officially over. There’s no activity in any of our six nest boxes.

The table below is a total of all the birds fledged since 2012, when I first began monitoring the nest boxes.

There were a total of 36 birds fledged this season.

The best years for bluebirds were during the 2012, 2013, and 2014 seasons. Chickadees had their best years in 2013, 2018, and 2023, this year. House wrens didn’t fledge any young until 2017 (their best year) and have done so ever since.

House wren occupancy of nest boxes has kept the numbers of bluebirds down since 2017 when the wrens first used the nest boxes. Bluebirds and chickadees start nesting before the arrival of house wrens from their winter quarters each season. House wrens are very aggressive nesters. When they do arrive on site they often take over the nest boxes before the bluebirds and chickadees get a chance to start a second brood (sometimes before they’re done with their first brood, they’ll destroy the eggs and deconstruct the nest) thereby keeping bluebird or chickadee numbers lower than they might be. Even so, over the years, bluebirds have fledged more birds than the other species combined.

There was no data for 2020 due to the Covid Pandemic. There was no access to the nest boxes during that period.

Each nest box has been moved at least once over the years to accommodate construction of new exhibits or other construction (parking deck…) or changes in habitat.

The best overall year was the current one. We take a measure of pride in the fact that, over the years, we’ve played a part in adding 277 birds to the local avian population; 166 eastern bluebirds, 74 Carolina chickadees, and 37 house wrens. We’ve added 36 birds this season alone.

Bluebird hatchlings.

See you next year!

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