A few weeks back Angie and I met up with the Ontario Eastern Bluebird Society board members in Brantford. Angie is on the board. Me, I'm the driver... and I am totally okay with that (just saying). A few days before I had inquired about buying some boxes and they were provided for me. Four new ones, all ready to go. Bill Read, the founder of the OEBS also gave me a few older boxes to do as I wish; meaning touch up and set up where I wanted.
I'm going back and forth in my mind with locations for the new boxes. Since they are in public places and I haven't the highest of faith in humanity, I worry about where they will go. It's the main reason I have turned down a number of people who have offered to help me the last while, offering to buy me needed items for these projects, especially the Forgotten Land. Funny how in this same paragraph I mention my lack of faith in humanity, eh? Ha ha!
This week I cleaned up one of the boxes. I threw a coat of paint on it as well. A while back I was asking for anyone with some old exterior wood paint, in neutral colors, if they could spare some. It wasn't so much about the money being spent, but trying to keep this as cheap as possible, plus maybe help someone get rid of an old paint can or two. Well, recently I had to paint our porch, which meant buying some exterior wood paint. I've got some left over for other projects including painting a few boxes.
Today I went into Lambton and I've added a fourth box. That reddish box in the photo above is now this one here.
It's close to this box. About 15 ft away and on the other side of a large bush.
I am trying to leave the doors open on these boxes in order to deter mice from nesting inside. Even more so to keep Squirrels from chewing the holes open, thinking it may be a good place to hide out (or nest). We lost a few boxes last winter because of just that. The entry holes get chewed open enough to allow a Squirrel to "sort of" get inside, only to realize they cannot fit. Unfortunately the box is now not very good for a bird either. Sure they could try to nest inside but it would most likely fail as the eggs could easily be predated upon. You may recall that happened in Area One this year with a box we discovered that was long forgotten about by the organization. It's entry hole was chewed open. We found the box and nest after the Swallows had set up, laying 6 eggs inside. All were taken by something, Grackle or Jay is what I suspect from some observations.
Anyway, what I have noticed the last couple visits is someone has been going and closing the doors. I know they mean well, thinking these are birds' homes year round. It could be a losing battle for me so I'm thinking of investing in some metal protection rings at the entry holes to deter the Squirrels. I will worry about mice in the Spring, if any try to live within.
So, now for what really makes me title this blog "PROMISE"...
As I was setting up the new box, I heard a somewhat familiar bird call up the hill. I'm pretty good with some bird calls, especially the ones at home, or ones I really adore out in the field. Can you guess what bird I heard?
If you guessed Eastern Bluebird, you are correct. Funny because I've probably had no more than thirty encounters with Eastern Bluebirds since getting into birds a decade or so ago but I know that call.
I saw one in the area on September 12th.
I was still stoked to hear the call at this moment shy of one month later. I'm texting Angie and telling her what is going on. I quickly set the box set up, raced back to the truck and got my camera and binoculars. It took me a bit of searching but I found the bird high up in a tree.
It called a few times, then it flew off. The bird headed east, which funny enough is the direction of our house perhaps two thousand feet over. So darn close to home in the big picture. The bird returned, landing on a hydro pole, with a large catch of some kind of insect in it's mouth. It had a feast. Then landed on a wire below.
The bird I saw a few weeks ago spent a lot of time in this same spot. I'm betting it is the same bird.
Bluebirds in Toronto is not a common thing. We can see them during both migration periods but rarely outside of those two windows. Interesting that this bird is still with us weeks later. Will it overwinter? Is it just taking it's time? Bluebirds do overwinter in some parts of Southern Ontario, so not to fret over this one.
Male Eastern Bluebird we saw in Bronte Creek, January 2017. There was at least 6 adult birds in the area.
We still have many weeks of Autumn to go. Then hopefully not too long of a Winter this time around before we see Spring, and birds returning to the area to nest. Seeing this Bluebird here at the Lambton site does give me promise that maybe 2019 I will luck out and have a nesting pair again. This also inspires me to get back over to the Forgotten Land where Bluebirds nested in 2017 and get some things done. I did inform the organization that I'm not waiting for them anymore. It won't be a big project but 4 to 6 boxes will do. I have the boxes, now to find me some more t-bars.
I must not have promoted my last nest blog which has some numbers you might want to see from this past season. See here.