Top Photo: Eastern bluebird eggs (previous season).
Each year I monitor six nest boxes placed in various locations throughout the museum’s 84 acres from March to August. Over the last 10 or so years that I’ve done the project habitat has changed, new exhibits have been built, and nest boxes have been moved to accommodate it all.
I check the nest boxes once a week (Tuesdays) in the same order, Train Tunnel or Cow Pasture (TT), Explore the Wild (ETW), Into the Mist (MIST), Parking Deck East (PKE), Parking Deck West (PKW), and Butterfly House (BFH).
The nest boxes were originally installed to attract bluebirds, but all species are welcome. Three species have successfully nested in the boxes, eastern bluebird, Carolina chickadee, and house wren.
On the first official nest box inspection of the season there was nest material in four of the nest boxes. Three had pine needles and grass, no doubt placed in the nest box by bluebirds, and one had moss and a few silky plant fibers, the work of chickadees.
The cow pasture nest box had a nearly complete bluebird nest inside. The nest is not quite ready for eggs.
The Explore the Wild nest box was empty, no sign of visitation.
There were just a few pine needles and grass blades inside the berry basket of the Into the Mist nest box.
Parking Deck East nest box also contained minimal offerings. It held half a dozen or so pine needles.
The nest box on the west side of the parking deck was empty, no sign of activity.
The Butterfly House nest box had a near complete chickadee nest. A few tufts of animal fur or a few feathers and plant fiber and the nest should be ready for eggs.
So far we have at least two pairs of birds who seem dedicated to using our nest boxes for raising young, bluebirds at the Cow Pasture and chickadees at the Butterfly House. Exciting as the results of this first inspection are, things can change quickly as birds compete for nest sites, new arrivals appear on the scene from migration, and predators move about and make their own inspections. It’s very early in the season and anything can happen.
Until next time?