2013 Bluebird Journal

Saturday, March 16
Opened and cleaned 8 bluebird nest boxes on the route.

Saturday, March 23 – Saturday, April 6
Each Saturday found the nest boxes empty and there was no sign of Eastern Bluebirds in the area

Saturday, April 13
Ken came along on the route for an orientation.  He is taking over the second route I did for the last two seasons when another Bluebird Monitor had a family situation that prevented him from finishing out the 2011 and 2012 seasons.

Saturday, April 20

English: Eastern bluebird

I saw a female Bluebird diving for insects from a low shrub near box #4.
Box #6 has a well built-out Bluebird nest, but I didn’t see any Bluebirds in the vicinity.

This spring is unseasonably cold while last year’s spring was unseasonably warm.  By this date last year, there were Bluebird nests with eggs.

Competing Tree Swallows were in the area.

Saturday, April 27
Boxes #1 and 2 remain empty, though it’s obvious the Tree Swallows are pairing up and showing interest.
Box #3 has the base of a grass nest and at this time I don’t know if it’s a bluebird nest or a Tree Swallow nest.  It appears to be an Eastern Bluebird nest, but as the construction gets further along, the appearance of feathers to line it will assure it belongs to a swallow pair.  Nothing to do now but keep an eye on it.  A bluebird pair was active around the box as were the swallows.
Box # 4 also had active Eastern Bluebird and Tree Swallow couples inspecting the box, and it had a few shreds of grassy material on the bottom, though nothing resembling a formed nest.
Box #5 – empty
Box #6 – The first egg of the season in this well-formed bluebird nest.  I’m assuming it was laid early this morning.  Oddly, I have yet to spy any bluebirds at this site.
Box #7 – empty
Box #8 – empty

Saturday, May 4
Box #1 – empty
Box #2 – an incomplete Tree Swallow nest
Box #3 – a well-formed Bluebird nest, no eggs
Box #4 – a few scraps of grass
Box #5 – empty
Box #6 – Bluebird nest with 3 Bluebird eggs and 2 Black Headed Cowbird eggs
Box #7 – empty
Box #8 – thick layer of fresh moss for a Black-capped Chickadee nest foundation

Saturday, May 11
Box #1 – empty
Box #2 – Complete Tree Swallow nest, lined with feathers
Box #3 – Bluebird nest has 5 eggs
Box #4 – a few scraps of grass
Box #5 – empty
Box #6 – Bluebird nest with 3 Bluebird eggs and 2 Black Headed Cowbird eggs
Box #7 – partial grass nest – could be Bluebird or Tree Swallow – time will tell
Box #8 – moss being formed into a cup and grasses have been added to this Black-capped Chickadee nest

Saturday, May 18
Box #1 – empty
Box #2 – Tree Swallow nest, 6 eggs
Box #3 – Bluebird nest, 5 eggs
Box #4 – empty
Box #5 – Tree Swallow nest, 1 egg
Box #6 – Bluebird nest with 3 Bluebird eggs and 2 Black Headed Cowbird eggs, the eggs covered with some grass, seems abandoned by the adult Bluebird pair
Box #7 – partial grass nest
Box #8 – no change to the chickadee nest from last week indicating the site has been abandoned

Saturday, May 25
Box #1 – empty
Box #2 – Tree Swallow nest, 6 eggs
Box #3 – Bluebird nest, 4 hatchlings, 1 egg
Box #4 – empty
Box #5 – Tree Swallow nest, 4 eggs
Box #6 – Bluebird nest, 3 Bluebird eggs, 2 Black Headed Cowbird eggs covered with grass.  Clearly this nest has been abandoned by the adult Bluebird pair, so I removed the nest and eggs.
Box #7 – partial grass nest
Box #8 – partially built House Wren nest; Chickadee nest materials were removed by the wren.

Saturday, June 1
Box #1 – empty
Box #2 – Tree Swallow nest, 6 hatchlings
Box #3 – Bluebird nest, 5 nestlings
Box #4 – empty
Box #5 – Tree Swallow nest, 4 eggs
Box #6 – empty after having removed abandoned Bluebird nest last week
Box #7 – partial grass nest
Box #8 – incomplete House Wren nest

Saturday, June 8
Box #1 – empty
Box #2 – Tree Swallow nest, 6 nestlings
Box #3 – Bluebird nest, 2 nestlings – it’s fledging day!  Two of five left!  The adult male is in the area vocalizing; appeared to have food in his bill.
Box #4 – empty
Box #5 – Tree Swallow nest, 4 nestlings
Box #6 – empty
Box #7 – partial grass nest
Box #8 – incomplete House Wren nest

Saturday, June 15
Box #1 – empty
Box #2 – Tree Swallow nest, 3 nestlings – it’s fledging day!  Three of six left!
Box #3 – empty Bluebird nest    😦    Empty Nest Syndrome follows…
Box #4 – empty
Box #5 – Tree Swallow nest, 4 nestlings
Box #6 – empty
Box #7 – partial grass nest
Box #8 – incomplete House Wren nest; partial mouse nest; mouse — the mouse was invited to leave the premises with her belongings

Saturday, June 22
Box #1 – empty
Box #2 – empty Tree Swallow nest
Box #3 – empty
Box #4 – empty
Box #5 – Tree Swallow nest, 4 nestlings
Box #6 – empty
Box #7 – partial grass nest
Box #8 – empty

Saturday, June 29
Box #1 – empty
Box #2 – empty Tree Swallow nest
Box #3 – empty
Box #4 – empty
Box #5 – Tree Swallow nest, 2 nestlings – it’s fledging day!  Two of four left!
Box #6 – empty
Box #7 – partial grass nest
Box #8 – empty

Saturday, July 6
Box #1 – empty
Box #2 – empty
Box #3 – empty
Box #4 – empty
Box #5 – empty
Box #6 – empty
Box #7 – empty
Box #8 – empty

The season is over!  All nest boxes cleaned of nest remains.  It was a much better year for the Tree Swallows than for the Bluebirds.  There are always more Tree Swallows.  They are greater in number and put pressure on the Bluebirds as they compete for available nesting cavities.  This year, the Brown-headed Cowbirds put more pressure on when they left two eggs in one Bluebird nest.  The Bluebirds, likely knowing their own three chicks would suffer and perhaps perish given that they would not be able to feed that many mouths, abandoned the nest.  Most likely they moved on to start another and hopefully were successful in fledging healthy youngsters.

2013 Season Totals
species eggs laid young fledged
BLUE 8 44% 5 33%
TRES 10 56% 10 67%
total 18 100% 15 100%
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