Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Bluebird Trail - 2013 First Report

The horrendously late spring this year, including heavy snowfalls in late April and early May, has our bluebird season off to a worryingly slow start. It seems likely that there has been significant mortality for these insect-eating birds, since the insect season is also starting slowly due to the cold.

Tree swallows on overhead lines

By this time last year, we had 20 bluebird nestlings already! This year we have just started to get out to check the boxes, and we barely have any nests that are more than a few strands of grass, let alone having eggs or nestlings.

We have only seen two bluebirds yet this season, one male and one female, seen on different days at our prairie-habitat trail, where one of the four boxes today had a substantially complete bluebird nest. Tree swallows have been much more conspicuous on or near several of our other boxes. Perhaps tree swallows, which eat flying insects in the air, may have had an easier time finding food than bluebirds, which pick insects off the ground.

We have complete or nearly complete chickadee nests in two of our boxes, while last year we had no complete chickadee nests.

We plan to move some boxes from a couple of areas that last year produced wrens but no bluebirds.

Follow our whole bluebird trail adventures here: Bluebird Trail.


Anonymous said...

I'm in Goodhue county and we got 12 inches of snow 2 weeks ago. Saw a few Bluebirds prior to the storm but have not seen any after. Normally we have 4-5 nesting pair by now.

Penelopedia said...

We saw another pair of bluebirds on our other trail last week, but that's only two confirmed pairs of bluebirds where last year we had at least 10. Sad.