Nest Box Update 3.28.18

We’re on the move. All of our nest boxes have seen some sort of activity the past week. Three bluebird nests are underway, two chickadee nests, and one nest box has had been modified slightly by some unknown entity.

The nest box at the Cow Pasture which contained some 3” of moss last week has now been topped off with fur and feathers. A well-defined cup has yet to be made to finish off the nest, but that may very well be in process since one of the birds flew from the box as I opened the side door to have a peek. Will there be eggs by next week?

Will the chickadee nest at Cow Pasture have eggs next week (3/28/18)?

The nest box which sits alongside the service road on the back side of Explore the Wild has the characteristic moss base of a chickadee nest within. It was empty last week.

A chickadee nest in the works at the Explore the Wild nest box (3/28/18).

When I opened the nest box at the service road to Into the Mist I noticed a small amount of wood shavings or flakes in the berry cup at the base of the box. There were scrape marks, or pecking marks, on the inside of the door. A week or so back I noticed a downy woodpecker fly out of the box. Could that be what chiseled the inside of the nest box? Perhaps.

A sprinkle of fine shavings in the nest box at Into the Mist (3/28/18).
Was it a downy woodpecker that pecked away at the inside of the door of the nest box at Into the Mist (3/28/18)?

The are no insect larvae inside the wood of the box, so the woodpecker couldn’t have been after a grub. Was it trying to create shavings inside the box, to make a soft bedding for a nest? I don’t know the answer to that question.

Although woodpeckers traditionally create their own nest cavities the old fashioned way, by drilling them, they’ve been known to nest in artificial nest cavities or nest boxes. When they’re excavating their own nest holes, the constant pecking and hacking away at the tree naturally leaves debris at the base of the cavity in the form of wood shavings. Perhaps this woodpecker was doing just that, creating a soft substrate upon which to lay eggs.

Whatever it was that was going on inside the nest box, we’re going to have to wait a bit more to see what develops. I’d guess the woodpecker has moved on. This nest box seems a bit low for a woodpecker. It’s only about five feet off the ground.

Our newest location for a nest box is the parking deck area. Here, a pair of bluebirds have placed a modest collection of pine needles. I hope they continue with their work.

Just the beginning of a bluebird nest at the parking deck nest box (3/28/18).

Work was apparently underway when I approached the nest box near the Woodlands Classrooms. There were pine needles projecting from the entrance hole. Looking inside, I could see, as with the parking deck nest, only the beginning of a bluebird nest.

Sure sign of nest building at Woodlands nest box (3/28/18).
Proof of bluebird activity in the box at Woodlands (3/28/18).

Lastly, the Butterfly House nest box has shown no activity in three weeks. It has a nearly complete bluebird nest inside its cedar walls, but it hasn’t been touched since the last week in February.

No further activity in nest box at Butterfly House (3/28/18).

Well, there you have it, every nest box has nest material inside or has had some sort of activity over the past week. Of the three obviously bluebird nests, the parking deck and Woodlands nest boxes are fresh starts. The Butterfly House nest has had a bluebird nest in it since the last week in February but no new material added since.

The two chickadee nests both showed progress. The Cow Pasture nest has been topped off with fur and feathers and a new chickadee nest has been started at the Explore the Wild nest box.

I can’t wait till next week!

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