My 2012 Bluebird Journal

Saturday, July 14 , 2012

County Line Route
Box 1 – box empty
Box 2 – box empty
Box 3 – box empty
Box 4 – 3 Tree Swallow nestlings
Box 5 – empty
Box 6 – 5 Bluebird nestlings
Box 7 – empty
Box 8 – empty

North Route

nature, photography

bee on black-eyed susan

Box 9 – 1 dead Bluebird nestling.  These birds hatched on the hottest days of summer with no shade on the box.  They were vulnerable to predators, and dehydration.  Lisa had been here to band the birds.  Now, only the corpse of one is found in the nest.  I removed the band from its leg to return to Lisa. 
Box 10 – empty
Box 11 – empty
Box 12 – empty
Box 13 – empty
Box 14 – 3 Tree Swallow nestlings
Box 15 – empty
Box 16 – empty
Box 17 – empty
Box 18 – empty
Box 19 – empty
Box 20 – empty

Saturday, July 7, 2012
Today’s temperatures were brutal once again.  It was 87°F when I began the first route just before 8 a.m. and hovering around 94°F (with a 100°F forecast high) when I finished nearly 2 hours later.  I opted to not wear mosquito repellant because it has been so dry.  Throughout the morning there were no mosquitoes.  I have never not been bothered by mosquitoes at this point in the season. 

bird, birds, birding, bird watching, wild bird watching, birdwatching, wild birdwatching, bluebird nest; bluebird nestlings, bluebird monitor

This nest of 5 bluebirds is the largest I have had since I’ve been a bluebird monitor. This is now my 4th season and every clutch I have had has been 3 or 4 eggs.

They generally show up at the end of May and continue their harassment non-stop.  Sadly, Box 16 had two dead bluebird nestlings.  This nest began with 4 eggs, then had 3 hatchlings and one egg.  There is no sign of the third nestling or the egg.  The missing egg and chick could be the result of a predator.  I believe the over 100°F heat wave contributed to the deaths of the remaining two.  Baby birds cannot control body temperature during their first days.  They could have been victims of the heat.  I was thankful for the water bottle I carried.  I hope the weather forecast for a cold front coming our way keeps my remaining nestlings from the same fate.  There are not many birds to be seen today.  A Song Sparrow is silent in a tree.  There are few humans on the trail and, wisely, none have children or pets.  The blazing sun sends all living things to seek shelter.  The prairie plants are not as dense or tall as they usually are at this time of the year.

County Line Route
Box 1 – empty
Box 2 – empty
Box 3 – empty
Box 4 – 3 Tree Swallow hatchlings
Box 5 – empty
Box 6 – 5 Bluebird nestlings
Box 7 – empty
Box 8 – empty

wildflower, wildflowers, bird, birds, birding, wild bird watching, wild birdwatching, bluebird, blue bird, bluebird monitor

Wildflowers bloom on the prairie in spite of the hot, dry days.

North Route
Box 9 – 4 Bluebird hatchlings – both parents strafe me
Box 10 – 4 Tree Swallows fledged; I removed the used nest from the box.

Box 11 – empty
Box 12 – empty
Box 13 – empty
Box 14 – 3 Tree Swallow hatchlings
Box 15 – empty Tree Swallow nest; have been unable to remove the used nest because of a rather large wasp nest inside the box for the last few weeks
Box 16 – 2 dead Bluebird nestlings
Box 17 – empty nest; 4 Tree Swallows fledged
Box 18 – 4 Tree Swallow eggs plus one that was broken
Box 19 – empty
Box 20 – empty Tree Swallow nest

Saturday, June 30, 2012
County Line Route
Box 1 – box empty
Box 2 – removed empty Tree Swallow
Box 3 – removed the collection of feathers
Box 4 – 3 Tree Swallow hatchlings
Box 5 – empty
Box 6 – 5 Bluebird eggs
Box 7 – empty
Box 8 – removed empty nest after Tree Swallows fledged

North Route
Box 9 – 4 Bluebird eggs
Box 10 – 4 Tree Swallow nestlings
Box 11 – empty
Box 12 – empty Tree Swallow nest; I removed it from the box
Box 13 – empty Bluebird nest; I removed it from the box
Box 14 – 3 Tree Swallow eggs
Box 15 – empty Tree Swallow nest
Box 16 – 3 Bluebird hatchlings and 1 egg
Box 17 – 4 Tree Swallow nestlings
Box 18 – 5 Tree Swallow eggs
Box 19 – partial Tree Swallow nest
Box 20 – empty Tree Swallow nest

Monday, June 25, 2012
County Line Route
Box 1 – box empty
Box 2 – empty Tree Swallow nest after 5 fledged
Box 3 – a large amount of feathers in this box of the type Tree Swallows use to line their nests.  But there is no nest.
Box 4 – 3 Tree Swallow eggs
Box 5 – empty
Box 6 – 5 Bluebird eggs
Box 7 – removed the partial Tree Swallow nest that has been here all season
Box 8 – 5 Tree Swallows fledged

North Route
Box 9 – 4 Bluebird eggs
Box 10 – 4 Tree Swallow nestlings
Box 11 – I emptied this box of the Tree Swallow nest and eggs that had been in it for many weeks.  The nest was abandoned for an unknown reason.
Box 12 – empty Tree Swallow nest
Box 13 – 4 Eastern Bluebirds fledged; nest is empty
Box 14 – 3 Tree Swallow eggs – a new clutch after 5 Tree Swallows fledged from this box
Box 15 – 5 Tree Swallow fledged; empty nest
Box 16 – 4 Bluebird eggs
Box 17 – 4 Tree Swallow nestlings
Box 18 – 6 Tree Swallow eggs
Box 19 – partial Tree Swallow nest
Box 20 – empty nest after Tree Swallows fledged

Saturday, June 16, 2012
County Line Route
Box 1 – box empty
Box 2 – 5 Tree Swallow fledged
Box 3 – found a clump of feathers
Box 4 – 3 Tree Swallow eggs in feathers taken over partial Bluebird nest
Box 5 – empty
Box 6 – 3 Bluebird eggs
Box 7 – partial Tree Swallow nest
Box 8 – 5 Tree Swallow nestlings

North Route
Box 9 – 1 Bluebird eggs
Box 10 – 3 Tree Swallow hatchlings and 1 egg
Box 11 – 4 Tree Swallow eggs
Box 12 – 3 Tree Swallows fledged
Box 13 – 4 Eastern Bluebird nestlings
Box 14 – 5 Tree Swallows fledged
Box 15 – 5 Tree Swallow nestlings
Box 16 – empty
Box 17 – 4 Tree Swallow eggs
Box 18 – 5 Tree Swallow eggs
Box 19 – partial Tree Swallow nest
Box 20 – 5 Tree Swallows fledged

Saturday, June 9, 2012
County Line Route
Box 1 – box empty
Box 2 – 5 Tree Swallow nestlings ready to fledge
Box 3 – empty
Box 4 – partial Eastern Bluebird nest
Box 5 – empty, nest removed
Box 6 – empty, nest removed
Box 7 – partial Tree Swallow nest
Box 8 – 5 Tree Swallow nestlings

North Route
Box 9 – 1 Tree Swallow nestling – the others have fledged and this one will wing his way out shortly
Box 10 – 4 Tree Swallow eggs
Box 11 – 6 Tree Swallow eggs
Box 12 – 3 Tree Swallow nestlings
Box 13 – 4 Eastern Bluebird nestlings
Box 14 – 5 Tree Swallow nestlings
Box 15 – 4 Tree Swallow nestlings + 1 egg
Box 16 – empty, old nest removed
Box 17 – 4 Tree Swallow eggs
Box 18 – 5 Tree Swallow eggs
Box 19 – partial Tree Swallow nest
Box 20 – 5 Tree Swallow nestlings

Saturday, June 2, 2012
County Line Route
Box 1 – box empty
Box 2 – 5 Tree Swallow nestlings
Box 3 – Disaster strikes!  I expected to find that the 3 Eastern Bluebird nestlings had fledged.  Instead, I found them all dead under their dead male parent Bluebird.  It is impossible to say what happened.  It did not appear as though their demise had anything to do with a predator, poisoning (as from pesticides) or any injury.  I can only conclude that the parent bird died of a natural cause while in the box and atop the youngsters who were trapped by the adult’s body and perished.  The female would not have been able to remove the dead male bird.  Very sad.  It seemed like such a healthy nest and the parents were the most aggressive Bluebirds at protecting the nestlings on either route this season.
Box 4 – partial Eastern Bluebird nest
Box 5 – empty nest — 4 Eastern Bluebird nestlings fledged
Box 6 – abandoned chickadee nest
Box 7 – partial Tree Swallow nest
Box 8 – Female Tree Swallow did not leave the nest while I removed the cover.  She continued to sit on the nest so I closed the box.

North Route
Box 9 – 6 Tree Swallow nestlings
Box 10 – 2 Tree Swallow eggs
Box 11 – 6 Tree Swallow eggs
Box 12 – 3 Tree Swallow eggs (last week there were 5)
Box 13 – 4 Eastern Bluebird eggs
Box 14 – 5 Tree Swallow nestlings
Box 15 – 4 Tree Swallow nestlings + 1 egg
Box 16 – the sole Eastern Bluebird nestling fledged.  Originally there were 4 eggs, then 1 nestling and 2 eggs that never hatched. Box 17 – 2 Tree Swallow eggs
Box 18 – 6 Tree Swallow eggs
Box 19 – partial nest – Tree Swallow nest
Box 20 – 5 Tree Swallow nestlings 

Saturday, May 26, 2012
County Line Route
Box 1 – box empty
Box 2 – 5 Tree Swallow nestlings
Box 3 – 3 Eastern Bluebird nestlings continue to grow
Box 4 – partial Eastern Bluebird nest
Box 5 – empty nest — 4 Eastern Bluebird nestlings fledged
Box 6 – abandoned chickadee nest
Box 7 – partial Tree Swallow nest
Box 8 – 5 Tree Swallow eggs

North Route
Box 9 – 6 Tree Swallow nestlings
Box 10 – empty, old nest removed
Box 11 – 6 Tree Swallow eggs
Box 12 – 5 Tree Swallow eggs
Box 13 – 4 Eastern Bluebird eggs
Box 14 – 5 Tree Swallow nestlings
Box 15 – 4 Tree Swallow nestlings + 1 egg
Box 16 – 2 Eastern Bluebird eggs and 1 nestling
Box 17 – partial Tree Swallow or Eastern Bluebird nest
Box 18 – 6 Tree Swallow eggs
Box 19 – partial Tree Swallow nest
Box 20 – 5 Tree Swallow eggs 

Wednesday, May 23, 2012
Back from a few days out of town, time to keep pace with the bluebird route.

County Line Route
Box 1 –box empty
Box 2 – 4 Tree Swallow nestlings + 1 egg
Box 3 – 3 Eastern Bluebird nestlings continue to grow
Box 4 – partial Eastern Bluebird nest
Box 5 – 4 Eastern Bluebird nestlings will soon fledge
Box 6 – abandoned chickadee nest
Box 7 – partial Tree Swallow nest
Box 8 – 5 Tree Swallow eggs

North Route
Box 9 – 6 Tree Swallow eggs
Box 10 – empty nest – 4 Eastern Bluebird nestlings fledged
Box 11 – 6 Tree Swallow eggs
Box 12 – 5 Tree Swallow eggs
Box 13 – 4 Eastern Bluebird eggs
Box 14 – 5 Tree Swallow nestlings
Box 15 – 5 Tree Swallow eggs
Box 16 – 2 Eastern Bluebird eggs and 1 nestling
Box 17 – empty
Box 18 – 6 Tree Swallow eggs
Box 19 – partial Tree Swallow nest
Box 20 – 5 Tree Swallow eggs

Thursday, May 17, 2012
I am switching my schedule this week as I will be winging (yes, pun intended) my way to Las Vegas on Saturday morning to spend a few days visiting a college friend who moved there.  So as not to miss anything on the bluebird route, I went this evening and I’ll go again mid-week next week upon my return home.  Then, I’ll resume my usual weekend schedule.

Box #3 - Eastern Bluebird Nestlings ~ 4 days old

Box #3 – Eastern Bluebird Nestlings ~ 4 days old

County Line Route
Box 1 –box empty
Box 2 – 5 Tree Swallow eggs
Box 3 – 3 Eastern Bluebird nestlings ~ 3-4 days old
Box 4 – partial Eastern Bluebird nest
Box 5 – 4 Eastern Bluebird nestlings – banded
Box 6 – abandoned chickadee nest
Box 7 – partial Tree Swallow nest
Box 8 – 4 Tree Swallow eggs

North Route

Box 9 – 6 Tree Swallow eggs
Box 10 – 4 Eastern Bluebird nestlings – ready to fledge
Box 11 – 6 Tree Swallow eggs
Box 12 – 5 Tree Swallow eggs
Box 13 – well-formed Bluebird nest
Box 14 – 5 Tree Swallow eggs
Box 15 – 5 Tree Swallow eggs
Box 16 – 2 Eastern Bluebird eggs and 1 nestling ~ 2-3 days old (there had been 4 eggs in this nest)
Box 17 – empty
Box 18 – 6 Tree Swallow eggs
Box 19 – partial nest – Tree Swallow nest
Box 20 – 5 Tree Swallow eggs

Saturday, May 12, 2012
There is news today – not all of it good.  Bad news to report about box 17 where 4 new bluebird eggs were found last week.  Today, I found the 4 eggs with the adult female dead in the box.  I could not determine the cause of death.  Sadly, the male of the pair was in a nearby tree.  Neither one of the bird pair can continue on with a nest alone if the other dies.  On the bright side, 4 bluebird nestlings (about 11 days old) in Box 10 were banded by a volunteer licensed bird bander.  I experienced something today that I have never had happen before.  When opening Box 9, the tree swallow incubating the eggs did not leave the nest during monitoring.  She continued to sit on the nest.  Needless to say, I could not count how many eggs she was sitting on.  Last week there were 5.  Today there could be more, but I let the bird continue to incubate and closed the box.  The 4 bluebird eggs in box 5 hatched and are now nestlings about 5 days old.  I found many tree swallow eggs along the route.  Tree swallows are interesting birds, but they multiply more rapidly than bluebirds and put pressure on the bluebirds for nesting habitat. 

BB nestlings 11 days old

BB nestlings 11 days old

County Line Route
Box 1 –box empty
Box 2 – 5 tree swallow eggs
Box 3 – 3 Eastern Bluebird eggs
Box 4 – partial Eastern Bluebird nest
Box 5 – 4 Eastern Bluebird nestlings
Box 6 – abandoned chickadee nest
Box 7 – partial Tree Swallow nest
Box 8 – partial Tree Swallow nest

Tree Swallow eggs in a cluster of feathers
Tree Swallow eggs in a cluster of feathers

 

 

 

 

North Route
Box 9 – tree swallow continued to incubate during monitoring
Box 10 – 4 Eastern Bluebird nestlings – banded
Box 11 – 6 Tree Swallow eggs
Box 12 – 3 Tree Swallow eggs
Box 13 – partial bluebird nest
Box 14 – 5 Tree Swallow eggs
Box 15 – 5 Tree Swallow eggs
Box 16 – 4 Eastern Bluebird eggs
Box 17 – female Eastern Bluebird found dead with 4 eggs in nest
Box 18 – 6 Tree Swallow eggs
Box 19 – partial nest – Tree Swallow or Bluebird – unable to determine
Box 20 – 5 Tree Swallow eggs

Tree Swallow Incubates Nest

Tree Swallow Incubates Nest

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wild Flowers on my Bluebird Route
Wild Flowers on my Bluebird Route
Box 5 - 5-day-old Bluebird Nestling

Box 5 – 5-day-old Bluebird Nestling

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Saturday, May 5, 2012
There is bad news and good news on the bluebird monitor route today.  The bad news is that the egg and 4 hatchlings that were in box 20 last week have disappeared without a trace.  The good news is that there is 1 additional bluebird egg in box 3; there are 2 additional bluebird eggs in box 16; there are 4 new bluebird eggs in box 17.  In addition, the 4 bluebird eggs in box 10 hatched and there are 4 healthy baby bluebirds.

Box 3 Bluebird Eggs

Box 3 Bluebird Eggs

County Line Route
Box 1 – plant material gone; box empty
Box 2 – complete, feathered Tree Swallow nest; no eggs
Box 3 – 3 Eastern Bluebird eggs
Box 4 – partial Eastern Bluebird nest
Box 5 – 4 Eastern Bluebird eggs
Box 6 – abandoned chickadee nest
Box 7 – partial Tree Swallow nest
Box 8 – partial Tree Swallow nest

 

Box 10 Bluebird Nestlings

Box 10 Bluebird Nestlings

North Route
Box 9 – 5 Tree Swallow eggs
Box 10 – 4 Eastern Bluebird nestlings – eggs hatched
Box 11 – Tree Swallow nest, no eggs
Box 12 – Tree Swallow nest, no eggs
Box 13 – empty
Box 14 – 1 Tree Swallow egg
Box 15 – Eastern Bluebird nest, no eggs
Box 16 – 4 Eastern Bluebird eggs!
Box 17 – 4 Eastern Bluebird eggs!
Box 18 – 2 Tree Swallow eggs
Box 19 – partial nest – Tree Swallow or Bluebird – unable to determine
Box 20 – sad news in this box.  The single Bluebird egg and 4 nestlings monitored last week are gone without a trace.  The nest is totally undisturbed.  What could have happened to the baby bluebirds?  Although impossible to say for certain, a snake is the most likely culprit in their disappearance.

 

Saturday, April 28, 2012
The rare bird of the day award goes to the Eastern Towhee.  A handsome fellow I have not seen in a long while and never in these woods. 

Yesterday I received an email asking if I would help out by taking a second bluebird route since the original volunteer is unable to do it the rest of this still young season.  How can I say no?  Thus, 12 more boxes on which to report.  Here is what I found today.

Bluebird eggs and a whispy feather for decoration in box 10

Bluebird eggs and a whispy feather for decoration in box 10

County Line Route (my original route)
Box 1 – a small amount of plant material on the bottom of the nest box
Box 2–partial Tree Swallow nest with some feathers
Box 3 – 2 Eastern Bluebird eggs!
Box 4 – partial Eastern Bluebird nest
Box 5 – 4 Eastern Bluebird eggs – two more than a week ago
Box 6 – no change to what appears to be a Black-capped Chickadee nest in this box
Box 7 – a shallow layer of grass on the nest box bottom
Box 8 – a shallow layer of grass on the nest box bottom

Four nestlings and a (hopefully) yet-to-hatch Bluebird egg in box 20

Four nestlings and a (hopefully) yet-to-hatch Bluebird egg in box 20

North Route (my adopted route)
Box 9 – Tree Swallow nest, no eggs
Box 10–4 Eastern Bluebird eggs!
Box 11 – empty
Box 12 – Tree Swallow nest, no eggs
Box 13 – empty
Box 14 – partial nest – Tree Swallow or Bluebird – too soon to determine
Box 15 – Eastern Bluebird nest, no eggs
Box 16 – 2 Eastern Bluebird eggs!
Box 17 – Eastern Bluebird nest, no eggs
Box 18 – partial nest – Tree Swallow or Bluebird – too soon to determine
Box 19 – partial nest – Tree Swallow or Bluebird – too soon to determine
Box 20 – 1 Eastern Bluebird egg and 4 Eastern Bluebird nestlings about 2 days old!  The remaining egg may hatch or may not.  Stay tuned.

Saturday, April 21, 2012
Along the route, I again observed a handsome Eastern Bluebird male very actively hunting insects in the grass.  What a delight to see!  It was wonderful to see so many Blue Jays and hear them chattering.  One was carrying nesting material

Eastern Bluebird Eggs - Box 5            copyright 2012 - How To Spy On Birds

Eastern Bluebird Eggs – Box 5

Nest Boxes 1 and 7 remain empty.
Box 2 – feathers found last week were replaced by shreds of grass.
Box 3 – nearly complete Bluebird nest.
Box 4 – grass nest under construction
Box 5 – Two Eastern Bluebird eggs!  The male was feeding the female in a nearby tree (courtship behavior) and the female flew into and out of the nest box several times.
Box 6 – no change to what appears to be a Black-capped Chickadee nest in this box
Box 8 – a few shreds of plant material on the bottom.

Saturday, April 14, 2012
A handsome Eastern Bluebird, busy hunting for caterpillars, found a choice one to carry into a tree to snack on as I began my route this morning.
Nest Boxes 1, 7, 8 remain empty.
Box 2, strangely, had several feathers of the kind Tree Swallows use to line their nests.  But there was no nest or base/foundation material in the box.
Box 3 has a grass nest under construction.  It could be a Bluebird or a Tree Swallow.
Box 4 has a few pieces of grassy material on the bottom.
Box 5 has a nearly complete grass nest with a deep cup and appears to be a Bluebird nest.
Box 6 has a complete or nearly complete nest with a grass foundation having a few pieces of moss.  It is now lined with plant down, small feathers and other soft materials.  It appears to be a Black-capped Chickadee nest.
I applied a coating of silicon to the metal mounting poles of the boxes that appeared near completion to help keep out predators, e.g., snakes, and pests, e.g., ants.

Trillium
Trillium

Saturday, April 7, 2012
Nest Boxes 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8 were empty.  Nest Box 6 had what appeared to be a well built out bluebird nest, albeit with clumps of fibrous material placed over the nest cup that is unusual.  Tree swallows and chickadees were active and peering inside nest box 6.  Boxes 3 & 4 no longer had any evidence of wasps.  There were many wildflowers, the day was delightful.

 Saturday, March 31, 2012
Nest Boxes 1, 2, 5, 7, 8 were empty.  Nest Box 6 had a few scraps of grassy plant material placed on the bottom.  Nest Boxes 3 & 4 had wasp nests smaller than the ones I found last week.  There was a wasp in Box 3.  I removed them and rubbed bar soap over the spot where the wasps keep attaching their nests.

Yellow-Rumped Warbler, Paradise Pond, Port Ara...

Yellow-Rumped Warbler, Paradise Pond, Port Aransas, Texas (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Birds observed along the route today included: Eastern Bluebirds, American Robin, Black-capped Chickadee, Downy Woodpecker, Eastern Phoebe, Northern Cardinal, Northern Flicker, Red-tailed Hawk, Redwing Blackbird, Yellow-rumped Warbler.

Saturday, March 24, 2012
All boxes are empty of any trace of bird nest evidence.   Two boxes have wasps building nests on rear of the inside (not on the wooden inside top where I applied soap, but on the PVC housing).   I removed the wasp nests and in one box carefully daubed a touch of silicon and in the other applied soap over the spot to which they enjoyed attaching their nests.  Hopefully this will keep them from rebuilding as I’ve had them do in the past.

Along my Bluebird route, I spied three male Northern Flickers hopping around in the trees.  I think they were exhibiting what is called a “fencing duel”.  Basically, they are showing off for any lady Northern Flickers who may be looking on.

Drat!  I saw Tree Swallows!  They compete with Bluebirds for nest cavities and for sure will be a presence along my route this year – taking up valuable Bluebird real estate.  Did not see any Bluebirds today.   😦

Saturday, March 10, 2012
Today I opened the nest boxes.  The temperature was up to 60F with a stiff breeze and full sun.  The boxes fared well over the winter.  I took the tape off of the box openings, cleaned out the insides with a 2% bleach solution and rinsed with water.  I put a generous coating of soap on the top inside of the boxes (to deter wasps).  They are ready to be claimed.

Sialia sialis English: A pair of Eastern Blueb...

Sialia sialis English: A pair of Eastern Bluebirds in Michigan, USA. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

On my walk today I observed a Red-tailed Hawk, Cardinals, a Red-winged Blackbird and a special treat – a Sandhill Crane!  What a magnificent bird!  A coyote ran across the trail and disappeared into the brush ahead of me. 

Just as I finished my chores for the day, I spied an Eastern Bluebird pair happily flying about. 

Tuesday, February 21, 2012
My friend, Chris, also a bluebird monitor, thought it might be wise to open and clean our nest boxes early this year due to the warm winter.  She thought the birds might be migrating back north earlier this year.  That’s a thought!  I usually go out in mid-March to prepare the boxes on my route, but I’m giving thought to going a bit earlier.

 Saturday, February 11, 2012
Attended the annual Forest Preserve District Bluebird Monitor meeting.  This year’s session did not include the usual new monitor orientation since all the monitors are returning veterans.  The entire time was spent reviewing our data collected from the 2000 through 2011 breeding seasons.  We discussed important observations relative to the increase in both Bluebird and Tree Swallow populations.  Tree Swallows compete with Bluebirds for nesting habitat.  By improving Bluebird nesting sites, so too are we improving the habitat for the Tree Swallows.  There have been noticeable differences in the sites where the environment has proven to be more favorable to one species over the other.  For example, sites along routes where there is tall grass and water invites Tree Swallows whose fledglings outnumber the Bluebirds’.  Sites with short grass and vegetation more suitable for Bluebirds to perch as well as more favorable food sources such as berries greatly improve the percentage of successfully fledged Bluebirds.  The FPD (Forest Preserve District) will be responding by making some changes to the routes. 

Tachycineta bicolor English: A Tree Swallow in...

Tree Swallow

Another discussion centered around possible ways to alter the nesting boxes placed along the Bluebird routes that might discourage Tree Swallows.  Ron O., a long-time Bluebird Monitor, discussed how the anatomical differences between the two species could be key to making adjustments that would thwart Tree Swallow attempts to enter the nest boxes while making no difference to the Bluebirds.  Ron’s extensive experience as a Tool and Die Maker always has him inventing some way to make adjustments deterring the competition be it from Tree Swallows or House Sparrows.

All agreed it was a fascinating meeting and it was great to see all our Bluebird Monitor friends back for another season not too far ahead.

2 Responses to My 2012 Bluebird Journal

  1. Pingback: Bluebird Ankle Bracelets | How To Spy On Birds

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