Sunday, May 17, 2015

Bluebirds! Season 5. Episode 5. Wait for the Punchline.

Charles River from Charles River Peninsula, Needham, MA
Last episode I reported how tree swallows had driven the bluebirds from nesting box 5.
Charles River Peninsula, Needham, MA
Meanwhile, I had been working for weeks to discourage house sparrows from box 16 (historical favorite of bluebirds). Last week I finally succeeded. No more house sparrow eggs to remove. The female evidently grew tired of her mate's inability to defend the box... So I cleared out the mess of feathers, dried grass and trash.
Eastern Bluebird on box 16
This morning: bluebird song! At box 16! Had I succeeded in clearing the way for a renewed breeding attempt?
Eastern Bluebird at box 16
Almost immediately the male house sparrow (still hanging around) flew up to challenge the male bluebird. While the bluebird was able to chase the sparrow off, it seemed rather reluctant to enter the box, hovering outside the opening. Uh oh. I hadn't yet seen the female bluebird. Was she dead, in the box, the victim of house sparrow aggression? I slowly opened the door and

Black-capped Chickadee nest, box 16
Moss and fur? The chickadees had gotten there first!

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