Sunday, May 4, 2014

Bluebird Report: 2014 First Report

We got out to prep the bluebird nestboxes in early April this year, our third year as bluebird monitors of two "trails," which now comprise 19 nestboxes. Though not quite as bad as last year's slow spring, still the cold, rainy weather has slowed things down. We have a few complete bluebird nests (also two chickadee nests) and several others have been started, but only a single nest has any eggs yet -- three eggs, as of yesterday.

When we first checked the boxes, we thought we already had a new egg in one, but determined eventually that it was an unhatched egg from the second brood last year. We should have done a final clean-out at the end of the summer. Our confusion at the start of this season is a good reminder of why it's a preferred practice to clean out the boxes at the end of the season. Some people take their boxes down; others close them up so nothing can get into them over the winter. We like the idea of leaving them accessible as roosting or shelter boxes, and we've seen some signs this year that they were used for that purpose.

Today we got some great views of a male and female bluebird at our prairie trail of four nestboxes, where we have three full nests but no eggs yet.

Male Eastern Bluebird
The many tiny scratches visible on the road sign suggest that it's a popular perching spot, as it was today.

Female Eastern Bluebird
We wish these two, and all their fellow birds, good luck as they embark upon the vital task of reproduction in 2014.

(Our bluebirding adventures began in 2012. You can follow the full story here: Bluebird Trail.)

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