Sunday, May 1, 2011

CRP Nesting Box Update May 14

Rather than repeatedly post about very slow progress towards eggs and chicks I'll continue to post CRP nesting box updates to this space (a sub-blog, in reverse chronological order)

Saturday May 14

Lily helped me clear out house sparrow nests and eggs today (#1, #8) and was extremely thrilled to see the four baby bluebirds. That's an awfully yummy looking spider, dad!
More happiness in the tree swallow column. New eggs in boxes 3 and 6 and some swallow love-making full on display (Lily thought it was cool).

Friday May 13

Bluebird chicks! Four of them!

Tree swallow eggs! (Two in box 3, one in box 6)

House sparrow eggs! Boo! (tossed another couple into the river today)

Sunday May 8

Chickadee eggs! Nine of them! (When did this happen?)
And Box 5 was slow starting but quick to finish! Complete tree swallow nest topped with feathers. Mom-to-be was in the box when I came by.

Friday May 6

Eastern Bluebird catches beetle, Charles River Peninsula, Needham, MA
Ugh. The house sparrows have officially taken over Box 1. I cleared out the junk they had stuffed in there. Looks to be another challenge...
And speaking of house sparrows....Box 6 produced 5 little eggs. I tossed them and the full nest in the river. Felt bad and violent but necessary.
The tree swallows are finally getting down to business. Hopefully we'll be seeing some eggs soon. This shot is blurry to protect young eyes. (Actually, just bad autofocus).
The house sparrows are still challenging Box 8 but the tree swallows so far seem up to the challenge. They took the male sparrow DOWN TO THE GROUND this morning.

Wednesday May 4

Tree Swallow, Charles River Peninsula, Needham, MA
A lot of activity around Box 5 this past week. It had been one of the only empty boxes. Now it has been thoroughly claimed and is beginning to fill with grass and feathers. It is fun to watch this in action.
Meanwhile, the bluebirds keep holding on, hard-pressed to keep the tree swallows away. In another week we should be seeing chicks!
In other nesting box news: Box 1 may very well be another house sparrow casualty (joining Box 6). Box 8 is also getting strong house sparrow aggression.

Sunday May 1

Here are the beautiful bluebird eggs.
In other nesting news, house sparrows are beginning to compete over box 8. So far the tree swallows have been able to drive the male away.

Friday April 29

Here's a peek at the chickadee nest (no eggs yet). Lots of wool? Or is that foam from an old sofa?
Also tree swallow females have arrived. This one was carefully guarding Box 8. (I found some grass for the first time in Box 5).

And finally, another look at the heroism of the bluebirds as they try to drive off the tree swallows. I've included a slow motion clip (with slowed down sound) to give you a better look at the action.

Tuesday April 26

EGGS! Four Bluebird eggs! (How did she lay 4 eggs in 2 days? Did I just overlook them on Sunday?) Also, Chickadees are done and ON NEST (did not check for eggs--I should have!)

Sunday April 24

Tree swallows at every box (even Box 5, which has no evidence of nesting). House sparrows still at Box 6, replacement nest started. Chickadee nest building seems to have stalled out. Bluebird couple on Box 9; no eggs but female clearly in the mood for love.

Other CRP news: yellow warblers!
And ruby-crowned kinglet (that's it singing at the beginning)

Friday April 22

Still no eggs (or female tree swallows). Lily and I cleared out the sparrow nest in Box 6 (we scattered some feathers from the nest around for the tree swallows).Here's a photo of the chickadee moss pile.

Monday April 18

No photos. But interesting development. A pile of moss in box 4. Chickadees!

Friday April 15

Eastern Bluebird, Charles River Peninsula, Needham, MA

Not much new nest action, though the tree swallows are in hyper-aggressive mode and are battling over every single box. A new strand of grass in one box; a new feather in another. We'll see which get real nests....Meanwhile the house sparrows lurk in the bushes waiting for the tree swallows to go away. The bluebirds, on the other hand, are a little more assertive.
Below, a short video. Scene 1: a pair of competing tree swallows "talking" it out. Scene 2: tree swallows attack female bluebird--but she takes off after them! (I've added a slow motion clip to show the fight better).

Thursday April 14

Yellow-rumped warbler, Charles River Peninsula, Needham, MA
A quick later afternoon box check reveals no particular progress from Tuesday, but a tree swallow in box (Box 2) and lots of commotion around Box 7.
Still no females

Tuesday April 12

Yellow-rumped Warbler, Charles River Peninsula, Needham, MA

This "bluebird" nesting box monitoring stuff is quite interesting. I'm still not experienced enough to identify species by nest alone, so I'm really looking forward to more definitive answers. Only one clear house sparrow nest on my side of the property and that one seems to be contested.

BOX 2 Just begun.

BOX 6 House Sparrow (they are the only birds I've seen near the box and the nest is beginning to take the distinctive house sparrow shape. Here's what's interesting--today there were feathers (a distinctive tree swallow sign) plus a lot of nesting material appears to have been pulled out through the hole. I wonder if tree swallows are trying to take command.

BOX 7 New nest just begun

BOX 8 This one has been growing slowly over the last week or so. Today feathers for the first time.

BOX 9 Late last week I saw a couple of strands of dried grass and today, all of a sudden, a full nest! I think this one is bluebird (I've seen them quite often around this box in particular).

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