Wednesday, May 23, 2018
Area One: Great Start
May 21, 2018. Angie and I went for a big walk through Area One. We've been on vacation for the last 2 weeks and I really wanted to do this before getting back to work as I know the first couple days back to the grind are gonna be rough.
It was a sunny warm morning and I enjoyed having my wife accompany me. It doesn't happen that often as I usually try to do these things during the work week since we work opposite shifts.
It was a bit of an adventure because some new boxes were set up that I had to find on my own, as I was not present during the install. Hopefully we found them all, but if not, I'm sure my friend and I can sort this out.
Okay, now for our finds in no particular order.
4 nest boxes with work in progress it would seem. I'm hoping they are in the early stages of development with some Tree Swallows. Last year I had a few that were started and then abandoned. It's a mystery as to why this happens.
2 nest boxes are empty.
8 nest boxes are just that... nests. 43 eggs in total so far. Many have 6 eggs within, a few 5's and one with 4 (which may have more in the coming days).
You may notice a Blue Jay feather was picked up somewhere for this nest below. We had one in a box last year as well.
Then, the really nice surprise is that Black-capped Chickadees have also taken up nesting in one box. They had 7 eggs, 4 of which hatched early that morning, and hopefully the other 3 will too. I could not see into the nest so I held my phone up over it to snap a photo, as I have to with many of the nests.
To give you an idea on the size of a Chickadee egg, here is a photo of mine from a few years back when Chickadees used to nest in our backyard. This egg came from a 2nd brood that did not hatch with our pair. The egg is on a 10 cent Canadian coin.
1 new nest box is active but whoever installed it, screwed the door side to the t-bar and it's currently not accessible for inspection. There was a pair of angry adults buzzing my head so I am going to leave the box be for the season. If they have eggs already, I'd rather not disrupt their development by moving the box. I will go with an average egg count (5) for this box until I can properly inspect later in the summer when the birds are done. NOTE: this number of eggs guess is NOT in my count of 43 so far. It will be a side note
1 nest box had a female Tree Swallow sitting in it. She was adamant about letting me have a peek. So I just closed the door, made a note and will check this box next visit in a couple weeks.
The Love Shack (cover photo) has a shallow pit of grass in the bottom. We shall see what, or if, anything has come of this with next visit.
1 House Wren nest well under way. I'm not going to do anything with this nest because they build them thick full of sticks and trying to catch a glimpse inside is too difficult without disturbing things. I borrowed this image from a Google search to give you an idea on what their nest looks like. It's amazing that such a tiny little bird like a House Wren can gather and set so many sticks inside a nest box. This one here actually built their nest over a Tree Swallow nest. I don't think this particular Wren nest is complete because in my encounters with them, you cannot see through the nest at all.
1 House Sparrow nest with 5 eggs. I borrowed this image from a Google search.
House Sparrows are no friend to Tree Swallows and Bluebirds. I know others would destroy this nest for many reasons but I will not. The box is well away from all the others, in the B area. Plus I have recently learned everything in the B area must come down in August due to some major development. There's only 4 boxes including our Love Shack and Alfie's box but we already have a plan on where they will go for 2019. I'm doubtful the House Sparrows will follow as I've not seen them in other areas.
I'd say this is a great start for the season. Ten nests for sure with four others potentially becoming. The Chickadee nest is a wonderful addition to the area.
Angie did a bird census for me during the walk.
I like to do this on occasion, especially in the month of May. This wasn't hard birding so I'm sure we passed a few Warblers high in the leafy tree tops. 19 species during a leisurely stroll is pretty good.
American Robin, Northern Cardinal, Common Grackle, American Goldfinch, Red-winged Blackbird, Baltimore Oriole, Black-capped Chickadee, Tree Swallow, Cooper's Hawk, Mallard Duck, House Sparrow, Chipping Sparrow, Song Sparrow, Philadelphia Vireo, Eastern Kingbird, Yellow Warbler, Common Yellow-throat, Cedar Waxwing and House Wren. She also spotted the first Black Swallowtail Butterfly for the season.
I will be checking my other areas later this week. Stay tuned.
Wow! I can't believe it's all happening once again, just like that. It wasn't much more than a month ago since we had the ice storm.
I've since done a follow up of the other two areas, you can check it out here.