Monday, May 23, 2016

Bluebirds! Season 6. Episode 7. Brave birds and egg smashers.

Tree swallow, Box 7, Charles River Peninsula, Needham, MA
Breeding continues at Charles River Peninsula and tree swallows are getting bolder and bolder, less quick to fly away when approached (making for nice super close up photos like the one above)
Tree Swallows, Box 5
and moving decisively into house sparrow territory. I finally pulled out the nest in Box 5 after house sparrows retook it earlier in the week. The very next day tree swallows took over and the sparrows have vanished, at least for the moment.
Tree Swallow on nest, Box 1
Three weeks in a row I've been unable to count the eggs in Box 1 because the female has been on the nest and hasn't budged. Today I saw the pair outside the box--this was my chance! But before I could get there the female, seeing me and apparently knowing my patterns, flew into the box and sat on the eggs before I could get there. Note that most birds leave the box when I approach. I've never had one deliberately enter the box when I've come near. Remarkable.
Smashed Tree Swallow egg in Box 12
Though given the recent rash of egg disappearances at CRP, she might have the right idea. Three boxes with eggs last week had zero eggs this week, including the usually unproblematic box 12. The lovely eggs featured in Episode 6 are all gone, except for one smashed into the white feathers lining the nest.
Eastern Bluebird nestlings
The neighboring bluebirds are too busy feeding their partially feathered chicks to bother with this kind of thing and the house wrens are way on the other side of the property. I'm beginning to suspect chipmunks. Indeed...perhaps chipmunks will be the ultimate Bluebirds! villains.

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