The Love Shack

The Love Shack

Tuesday, June 6, 2017


I did a sweep of the boxes before the weather turned cool and damp once again, hence this blog title. I was due anyway for "Area One". In my mind, I had it figured that all the birds would be settled. The nests would be built. All the eggs would be laid. How wrong I was! It was a mixed bag of what I found from one box to another. Six contained female Tree Swallows incubating. I felt bad for disturbing these birds. They just lay there in their nests, glaring at me, one even lightly hissed. I took quick pics with my phone of a few and then closed the boxes up. I'm sure I lightly said "sorry" as I did. I still cannot figure out what is wrong with this blog and paragraph spacing. I guess it doesn't totally matter since this is more of reporting than story telling anyway. I will break it up with photos and share a bit with a few... Nice start with 4 eggs!
Tree Swallow on nest. Where did that Blue Jay feather come from?
Six eggs! Now we're talking.
Bizarre find in this box. Last check there was 2 eggs. Now the nest is double in depth and I could not find any eggs. A pair of Tree Swallows were annoyed with my invasion and swooping me.
Five eggs. Are we done?
Sorry for disturbing you.
Halfway through my checks of Area One, I discovered a House Wren nest.
The Wren nest is quite close to a Tree Swallow nest. I sat on a log just over the pond and watched the birds. They seem to be ignoring each other which is a good thing.
My view of the two boxes from where I sat across the pond.
The Wren was quite busy going back and forth, gathering more nesting material.
This nest box was abandoned since my last check.
Another 5 eggs.
Another nesting bird I disturbed.
The "Love Shack"! I found 2 eggs within.
I felt really bad for this bird. One, I disturbed her and she is the one who hissed at me. Second, there is an ant invasion in the box. In early April I moved this box, but did not grease the t-bar. I could not pound it into the ground and had someone take care of it a few days after I moved it. Then getting the grease to it... well, didn't happen. It's since been applied and hopefully will help with the situation. I should have photographed the mass of ants just under the nest inside the box.
I made the best of this lovely morning. I had a leisurely pace about the area. I took in all the sights and sounds around me, even trying to list all the bird species I saw and/or heard that I recognized. I ended up with about 30 species and there was a number of calls I just couldn't nail. I had a few mammal sightings through the woods as well. This Eastern Cottontail led me up the path.
This time of year I'm always looking and hoping to spot a Raccoon family. Area One had been great for years but not the last few. I did find one sleeping adult.
I spotted a Belted Kingfisher as I crossed the river heading to the next set of boxes.
The Swallows could see me coming a mile away.
No shortage of curious Red-winged Blackbirds in my travels.
As I trekked through the woods, I heard the call of a couple Wood Thrushes. At least I am quite certain they were Wood Thrushes only going by sound. I admit I have been mixed up between Thrush songs in the past. I'm calling it "Wood Thrush" unless someone corrects. Regardless it was a nice time out, listening to the soundtrack in the woods. Play the song of the Wood Thrush while I lay on my death bed and I will peacefully go. I took a short video, recording the call. I've made this more than just a nest blog update, haven't I? It was my intention to show that it's not just work, although it's good work in my opinion. It's another reason to get outdoors, to go for a walk, to enjoy the natural world around us, to take in all the birds and wildlife. Nothing wrong with that, is there? I visited the other areas I'm monitoring boxes. I had to check the Bluebird nest as I was very curious if the other 3 eggs hatched. Unfortunately that does not look like it's going to happen. Here are the 2 chicks at approximately 7 days old.
We had 10 eggs, 5 and 5 from 2 Bluebird nests. I prefer to look at it as we've got 2 hatched Bluebirds over we lost 8. And in the Forgotten Land, I discovered a third Tree Swallow nest. There were 2 eggs within.
I also discovered another House Wren nest in the area. So right now I've got 14 Tree Swallow nests, possibly 15 if that nest where the 2 eggs disappeared turns into something again, and 1 Bluebird nest (still hoping for a 2nd... there's always hope) and 2 House Wren nests. I'm not really monitoring the Wrens but since they are in vicinity of the other boxes, I will observe. There may be a delay for the next nest update here as very soon the fledge watch will begin for our resident Peregrine Falcons in Etobicoke (Islington/Bloor site). They have 4 chicks once again and let's hope it will be a better year than the previous 2. We have had 50% mortality both years. It is truly heart breaking stuff. But we carry on for the ones who do survive. One of our birds from 2015 has surfaced in Ohio. That was amazing news since that was one of the years where we lost 2 of the 4. Perhaps I will do a Falcon fledge blog here at some point? It is nest monitoring. Okay, time to end this long blog. Thanks for staying with me! If for some reason you are still in the mood for some reading, here is a link to my latest blog on my original blog page Rob and the Animals. And my wife Angie did one about our weekend at home which you might also enjoy, see here.


  1. Thoroughly engaged reading this!! Good work, Rob!

  2. Sounds like a perfect day to me! Especially when I played the clip of the thrush singing. Who can't be happy listening to birds sing?

    P.S. I would love to read about how the falcons are doing. :)