Nest Box Update 4.16.24

Top Photo: Eastern bluebird eggs.

There are currently 10 eggs (chickadees), 7 nestlings (bluebirds) and at least one unhatched egg (bluebird) in our six nest boxes. One nest has been destroyed by house wrens.

The nest at the Cow Pasture held 5 bluebird eggs at last week’s nest box inspection. The box was empty of eggs this morning (4/16/24). Looking around, there were 5 eggs on the ground directly in front of the next box, all punctured. While I haven’t heard or seen a house wren yet this spring, this is surely indication that they (or at least one male) have returned from their winter quarters.

An empty nest at Cow Pasture (4.16.24).
Five punctured eggs below nest.

This is typical house wren behavior, toss the eggs out in front of the nest, usually emptying the nest box of its nest material, and build a twig nest of their own in the box. The wren must have just arrived, dumped the eggs, not quite having had the time to redo the nest in its own fashion.

Close of bluebird egg with hole from house wren beak.

You can protect against snakes, raccoons and other terrestrial nest box pillaging creatures with a good predator guard, but house wrens are different. They’re brutal and relentless (as if raccoons and snakes weren’t) and they can fly right past your defenses. Though, if the bluebird eggs had hatched just a day or two earlier they may have survived the wren invasion. The further along a nest the more likely it and its occupants are to live through such an attack.

Predator guard does well as raccoon and snake deterrent.

The chickadee nest at Explore the Wild has 5 speckled chickadee eggs inside.

Five chickadee eggs at Explore the Wild (4.16.24).

There are 5 bluebird nestlings huddled inside the nest box at Into the Mist.

Five bluebird nestlings at Into the Mist (4.16.24).

The 5 bluebird nestlings that had been in the nest box on the east side of the parking deck have fledged, nothing left in the box but a messy nest.

All bluebirds have fledged at Parking Deck East nest.

Chickadees have made it official and laid 5 eggs in the nest box on the west side of the parking deck.

Five speckled chickadee eggs at Parking Deck West (4.16.24).

The last nest box on the route is behind the Butterfly House. Last week I counted 4 bluebird eggs in the nest. Today (4/16/24) there appears to be 2 nestlings and at least one unhatched egg. It does not appear as though it, or they, will hatch. The nestlings that are present are a few days old. If the eggs were to hatch now the nestlings that have already hatched would certainly out compete the new nestlings for food.

Two bluebird nestlings and 1 unhatched egg?

So, we have 10 chickadee eggs being incubated, 7 bluebird nestlings begging for food, and 5 fledged bluebirds. And, house wrens are apparently back in town, having ruined one bluebird nest. One, perhaps 2, bluebird eggs have failed to hatch.

More to come!

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.