Friday, March 25, 2011

The bluebird monitoring begins

Lily, not looking particularly enthusiastic, knocks on a nesting box

Lily and I are now official bluebird monitors. Once a week we will tour the CRP and see what's happening in 9 of the 18 nesting boxes on the property. (Lily has given me permission to do this by myself when the weather is bad--I suspect she was including today...)

Only one out of nine boxes we examined exhibited any real nesting activity. I'm sure there are experts who already know whether this is the beginnings of a house sparrow or a bluebird nest. As for me, I'm going to wait and see (apparently there's no point pulling out a house sparrow nest right away anyway).
Very few of the 18 house boxes at the CRP will actually house bluebirds. Here's a candidate (a house wren box last year).
This is mostly tree swallow territory. I predict two bluebird nests, one house wren, and maybe a chickadee. And the rest swallows or sparrows (or mice). We'll see in a month or two! Regrettably the sparrow population seems larger at the CRP than in previous years.

Also of CRP interest: might this be an owl pellet? We found it right under a nesting box (I looked straight up and didn't see any obvious tree perch so I wonder if the owl was sitting right on the box itself when it spit out this mouse bone-filled fur nugget.)

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