The Love Shack

The Love Shack

Monday, May 15, 2017

Updates and Set Backs

Hey all who may be stopping in for an update on things. Here I am, going to try and be brief because we are on vacation right now. Angie went out for part of the day so it gave me the opportunity to check all the nest boxes and hopefully finish this blog before she returns and we head out back for the remainder of the day. We do hope one day her mobility issues will not be such an issue and she can join me on one of the nest box walks in the future. Okay, here we go... I started off with a box I knew of but have not mentioned about it on here so far. It was going to be kept secret until end of season and have a special blog about it. Eastern Bluebirds have been seen in our area this Spring and I found their box of interest. Sadly, checking in today after a couple weeks, I found the male dead within the box.
He was on top of 5 Bluebird eggs.
It was a crushing moment. And a mystery as to what happened. Friends believe he was defending the nest from another bird, maybe another male Bluebird, maybe a House Sparrow or House Wren? I've not seen nor heard either of those species in my walks about the area but can't rule it out. I did notice the Bluebird male fighting off a Tree Swallow last visit but the Swallows have set up in a box about 35 ft east of the Bluebirds. That's ample space for the two if I'm not mistaken. I removed the male from the box but left the nest and eggs inside. Rest in peace little one.
Thank you for the joy you have given me the past month!
I had seen a female Bluebird about so we shall see what or if anything comes of this now. It's a very sad moment for me though as I was very excited about having these birds so close to our home. It reminded me of last year with my first monitoring walk and finding the 5 dead young Tree Swallows at my first box check. I hope this is not an on going thing having me dread the first walk in years to come. But now I've got a Tree Swallow nest to keep an eye on here. I continued my trek into Area One. I was amazed to discover out of the 13 nest boxes we have in one field, that 10 are active with Tree Swallows! I ventured to the other field where we set up 4 boxes and 3 of them have active Tree Swallow nests. In 2016 we had a total of 7 nests for Area One. Now we have 13. Incredible! Add that other nest I have under my watch... 14. I'm going to be a busy boy. Tree Swallows lay an average of 5 eggs, sometimes 6, sometimes 4, but usually 5. We have the potential for 70 fledges this season if everything goes perfectly. That would double last year's. Here are some photos from my walk about. I found a single egg in a couple boxes.
Most were well under way and pretty much ready for eggs.
One box had 3 eggs in it already.
Hooray, Wood Duck Alfie's box has a nest! Trust me, there's one in there.
Double hooray as our "Love Shack" has a developing nest as well!
Incoming Tree Swallow, at my head, as I approach his nest box.
Standing ground until the last steps I take.
I don't like stressing them out but it's been 3 weeks since I've checked how things are here.
I'm applying yellow vinyl tape to the posts this year, keeping the red bands from last year, just for my own curiosity about nest boxes being used 2 years in a row. I probably should have applied the tape first but you can see last year's red band still.
As always, I thank everyone who stops in to have a read about the nest monitoring. Let's wish all the Tree Swallows a great nesting season and maybe hold out a little hope for the female Bluebird now without a mate.
I don't know why Blogger is being a pain today, not allowing me to separate my paragraphs. Grrr... This is why I've gotten creative and bolding out every other sentence. Hope it's helped with reading. Back in about 2 weeks with another update after my next round of box checks.


  1. Good luck in the rest of the season. The Tree Swallows are scoping out my new birdhouse & I think it's been claimed. :)

  2. I'm glad to hear there's so much activity! That's really exciting but I'm so sad about Mr. Bluebird. Hopefully mama can hatch and raise the babies successfully. It might be the beginning of many years of Eastern Bluebirds, if so, and that would be wonderful.