Nest Box Update 6.1.20

It’s been just about nine weeks since I last reported on the progress of the bluebird trail at the museum. I haven’t had access to the trail. I don’t know what transpired during that time period. A full tally of successful nestlings fledged won’t be possible this year.

The Nest Box Update from nine weeks ago, March 31

I did, however, visit all of our six nest boxes on Monday, the first day of June. Here’s what I saw.

When I last checked the nest box at the Cow Pasture near the Ellerbe Creek Railroad Tunnel at the end of March there was a bluebird’s nest inside with 2 eggs.

I could see as I approached the nest box on Monday that a house wren had built a nest in the box. When I opened the nest box inspection door, four house wrens flew out pass me. They were ready to fledge and I gave them the nudge they needed.

House wren nest on top of bluebird nest (Cow Pasture – 6/1/20).

The wren nest was built on top of the old bluebird nest. Typically, house wrens will remove all the previous owner’s nest material from the nest, including eggs if present, and replace it with their own.

I’m not sure what occurred between the bluebirds and wrens but I don’t think the bluebirds successfully raised a brood. The inside of the nest box looked too tidy. When bluebirds go through a complete nesting, from egg to fledge, the nest is quite a mess at the end of the period. This box looked too clean to have gone through a brood of bluebirds. But, we’ll never really know for sure. I do know, the wrens were successful in fledging four young.

When last inspected, the nest box in Explore the Wild had a complete chickadee nest inside, no eggs, but a nest ready for eggs. It looks the same as it did nine weeks ago.

Did the chickadees abandon this nest? (ETW – 6/1/20)

The nest box at the service road leading to Into the Mist was untouched nine weeks ago and is untouched today.

No activity at Into the Mist (6/1/20).

When last inspected, the nest box on the east side of the parking deck contained a chickadee nest holding four eggs. Today (6/1) it holds a house wren nest. I didn’t see any eggs in the nest.

House wren nest at east side of park deck (6/1/20).

The nest box on the west side of the parking deck held five bluebird eggs on March 31 during its last inspection. Nine weeks later in contains four bluebird eggs. A new bluebird nest has been built atop the old nest. There’s no way of knowing for certain but I’d wager the first nest was successful.

New nest on top of old nest at park deck west (6/1/20).
Four fresh eggs at park deck west (6/1/20).

And lastly, the nest box at the Butterfly House was occupied by chickadees on 31 March. On June 1, the nest contains a well used chickadee nest. I believe the chickadees were successful. It looks as though there was a lot of activity in the nest.

The nest box may be may used again, this time by bluebirds, pine needles have been placed on the old chickadee nest.

Recent activity at Butterfly House nest (6/1/20).

As I mentioned earlier, there’s no real way to determine how many nests were successful in the nine weeks since I last inspected the nest boxes. But, I feel confident in saying that there are a least a handful of juvenile chickadees, bluebirds, and house wrens (eyewitness) flying around the museum grounds today. And, there’s one bluebird nest with eggs (west side of parking deck) and perhaps a new bluebird nest in progress at the Butterfly House.

Till next time, enjoy!

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