We have six nest boxes on our bluebird trail. I inspect the nest boxes once per week following the same sequence each week; Cow Pasture, Explore the Wild, Into the Mist, Parking Deck East, Parking Deck West, and Butterfly House. This is a compilation of the nest box inspections for the month of May.
There are currently three active nests, though no eggs. Two nest boxes have been taken over by house wrens.
The house wren nest in the Cow Pasture nest box, which was originally started by a chickadee and taken over by a house wren has been worked on this past week, but not extensively. Remember, house wrens sometimes build several nests before deciding which one they’ll use.
The Explore the Wild and Into the Mist nest boxes are empty and haven’t been touched yet this season.
The nest box located on the east side of the parking deck, which had it’s contents mysteriously emptied out on the ground last week, now has a partial house wren nest within.
The only productive nest box yet this season now has a second bluebird nest started inside its cedar walls. This nest box fledged three bluebirds during the third week of April. It now holds a half completed nest.
The Butterfly House nest box has not changed since the first week of nest box inspections. It still has a half finished bluebird nest within.
So, we have two incomplete house wren nests (Cow Pasture and parking deck east) and one bluebird nest in the works (Parking deck west). The three remaining nest boxes show no activity.
There have been no changes to either of our six nest boxes on the bluebird trail.
The Cow Pasture nest still contains a half complete house wren nest.
The nest box in Explore the Wild is empty as is the Into the Mist nest box.
A partial house wren nest is sitting untouched in the nest box on the east side of the parking deck.
Still with a half complete bluebird nest, the nest box just west of the parking deck has seen no action the past week.
The Butterfly House nest box is quiet with just a handful of grass stems and pine needles.
This past week has seen no activity in any of the nest boxes. But remember, house wrens sometimes build several nests before deciding one to use. it’s also important to remember the nest boxes were not erected for house wrens.
Four of our six nest boxes are inactive. One nest box has a new batch of eggs, and another had a visit from a predator.
The nest boxes at the Cow Pasture, Explore the Wild, and Into the Mist saw no changes in the past week. The house wren nest in the Cow Pasture nest box still has no eggs, the other two have not been touched so far this season.
When I arrived at the nest box on the east side of the parking deck I noticed a large black rat snake in the crinkled or wrinkled posture they sometimes assume when disturbed. The snake was at the base of the nest box mounting pole.
I waited to see what would happened. This nest box has had a partial house wren nest inside for several weeks now and I could hear a wren calling in the distance.
After several minutes I decided to check on the nest box on the west side of the deck to give the snake enough time to feel comfortable doing what it was driven to do.
The west side nest box had a partial bluebird nest inside on my last inspection. It now has two bluebird eggs.
Back to the rat snake.
As I walked back to the east side of the deck, and to the house wren nest and snake, a house wren was loudly protesting from the nearby chain-linked fence while the snake had repositioned itself to face the fence and protester. It appeared the snake was more interested in the wren than what was inside the nest box.
I had no idea if the snake had been inside the nest box. The 8” stove pipe predator guard on the pole was supposed to deter snakes and other predators from climbing up to the nest box (photo above). But had it done its job?
I brushed the snake aside. I was there to check on the nest inside the box and while I would have enjoyed watching the interaction between snake and bird, I needed to check the box and move on to other duties.
The nest was empty, no eggs.
Further along, the Butterfly Housae nest box still contains a partial bluebird nest but it has seen no recent activity.
Of our six nest boxes, four are inactive, one had a visit from a predator and another has a new batch of eggs.
This week there are four inactive nest boxes and two very active ones, a house wren and a bluebird.
But first, though there has been a house wren nest in the nest box at the Cow Pasture for over a month, there are no eggs in the nest. The wren must have moved on.
The nest boxes at Explore the Wild and Into the Mist remain, as from the start of this season, empty.
As I made my inspection rounds last week, I came upon a large black rat snake at the base of the mounting pole for the nest box at the east side of the parking deck. I waited some time to see what the snake was up to, whether it was planning an assault of the nest box or was attempting to capture one of the nearby adult house wrens protesting its presence below their nest. I doubt the snake could have entered the nest, as it has a stovepipe predator guard mounted below it.
The snake was apparently baffled by the guard as there were no eggs last week and three eggs inside the box this morning. And though the eggs were house wren eggs, the dread of many a bluebird trail monitor, I’m glad they were safe.
A surprise waited inside the nest box on the west side of the parking deck. It had five bluebird eggs in the nest. The first brood of the season is usually the largest. This season the first nest in this box held four eggs and fledged three birds. The nest now contains five eggs.
So, while most of the nest boxes are inactive, two of them contains eggs. More to come.
Additional eggs in one nest and incubation in progress in two of the nests.
The Cow Pasture nest box still has a complete house wren nest inside but no activity.
Both Explore the Wild and Into the Mist nest boxes remain empty.
The nest box on the east side of the parking deck has three additional eggs making a total of six house wren eggs in the nest. Two weeks ago there was a rat snake at the base of the nest box mounting pole and I wondered whether the snake had somehow gotten around the predator guard on the mounting pole as there were no eggs in the nest.
The following week there were three eggs in the nest, and now six. Apparently the guard did its job.
The nest box which is located on the west side of the parking deck contained five bluebirds eggs on last week’s inspection of the nest. The female was incubating as I made this week’s inspection.
The Butterfly House nest box remains inactive. A partial bluebird nest is in the box, but it hasn’t been added to in over a month.
So, at the end of May we have two active nest, one house wren and one bluebird. The wrens have six eggs in their nest while the bluebirds have five. Both sets of eggs were being incubated as I made my final inspections of the month (6.2.21).