I was out on the bluebird route this morning. Seven of the eight nest boxes on my route remain empty. One, that had a few scraps of plant material on the bottom of it a week ago, is now home to a lovely nest. The nest does not appear complete, although it is fairly well built out with a deep cup. Interestingly, I still can’t determine if it is a bluebird nest or not. At first sight, that is what it appears to be because it’s made from grassy material arranged in a circle with a deep cup. There is also a little moss in the building material. Moss is classic chickadee nest-building material, but my bluebirds have included small amounts of it in their nests before. What appeared unusual for a bluebird nest was some fibrous material that has been placed on the nest cup in clumps. Chickadees line their nests with soft material. Bluebirds do not. So, that was a bit of a puzzle.
After I finished making my notes and taking pictures, I stopped and looked back to observe the nest box site as I left. I was a far enough distance away that the birds did not take notice of me. What do you know…a chickadee pair flew over and one of the pair sat on the nest box entry hole and peered inside. Then all of a sudden the tree swallows arrived. They swooped down and chased the chickadees away. “Bird Wars,” I thought! It was very interesting to watch their interaction.
Having chased away the chickadees, a tree swallow peered inside the nest box. Finding a different species’ nest there it few away to another, empty nest box. Tree swallows appeared very interested in the empty nest box, clinging to the entry hole, peering inside, and finally a tree swallow pair sat on top of the box for a long time.
There were a lot of wildflowers dotting the forest floor. But I didn’t see any bluebirds along the route today. 😦