Monday, August 22, 2016

Como Park Bluebird Trail: Final Update 2016

Post contributed by Sharon, volunteer bluebird trail monitor:

Nesting season is done and the last box has been removed for winter storage. This year, a total of 55 birds fledged from 11 boxes: 33 bluebirds, 10 tree swallows, 9 chickadees, and 3 cowbirds. Of the 50 bluebird eggs laid on the trail, 66% successfully hatched and fledged. In the nine years this trail has existed a total of 273 bluebirds have fledged.

Monday, August 8, 2016

Como Park Bluebird Trail Update: August 8th, 2016

Post contributed by Sharon, volunteer bluebird trail monitor:

Eight bluebirds fledged from this box in the woodland!
Only two boxes remain active on the trail—one has 3 soon-to-fledge bluebirds and the other has 2 just-over-a-week-old bluebirds. I removed the other nine empty boxes for cleaning and winter storage. In the past two weeks 10 more bluebirds fledged, bringing season totals so far to 29 bluebirds, 10 tree swallows, 9 chickadees, and 3 cowbirds.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Como Park Bluebird Trail Update: July 25th, 2016

Male bluebird feeds nestlings
Post contributed by Sharon, volunteer bluebird trail monitor:

This week, there are active bluebird nests in five boxes. One has 3 eggs in it; four have a total of 15 bluebirds of various ages in them. Fortunately, the extreme heat of the past week seems not to have harmed any eggs or young. Two more cowbirds fledged from two bluebird nest boxes, but sadly none of their 7 bluebird nestmates survived. The cowbird nestlings either smothered the smaller bluebirds or outcompeted them for food. Six boxes are now empty.
Fawn and mother in the woodland

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Como Park Bluebird Trail Update: July 13th, 2016

Post contributed by Sharon, volunteer bluebird trail monitor:

In the past two weeks, 10 tree swallows and 1 cowbird fledged. Eight nest boxes are still active. In those boxes there are 14 bluebird eggs, 8 recently-hatched bluebirds, 2 young cowbirds, and 2 bluebird nests without eggs.
Hungry bluebirds and cowbird
(cowbird's mouth is pink)

Fast-developing cowbird with pin feathers
and two bluebird siblings

Monday, June 27, 2016

Como Park Bluebird Trail Update: June 27th, 2016

Post contributed by Sharon, volunteer bluebird trail monitor:
Bluebird and cowbird eggs

So far this nesting season 19 bluebirds and 9 chickadees have fledged from the 11 boxes on the trail. In round number two of nesting, there are currently 8 bluebird eggs and 3 cowbird eggs in 5 bluebird nests. Cowbirds lay their eggs in the nests of other birds, usually one or two eggs per nest. The cowbird eggs hatch sooner and the young birds grow faster, giving them an advantage over their host birds. Up to 11 tree swallows will fledge in the next week. Four boxes are now empty.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Como Park Bluebird Trail Update: May 23rd, 2016

Post contributed by Sharon, volunteer bluebird trail monitor:

Newly hatched chickadees
This week, no more bluebirds have yet hatched, but 4 out of 6 chickadees in one nest did. The first 4 bluebirds to hatch are now a week old and doing well. In three boxes there are 15 bluebird eggs: 6 white ones and 9 blue ones (these should hatch very soon, if all is going well). Another chickadee box has 7 eggs. There is one tree swallow nest that probably contains eggs under all the feathers and three partially made not-yet-identifiable nests in three other boxes. One box is still empty.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Como Park Sakura Cherry Trees: Enjoy Hanami in Saint Paul!

Post contributed by Kaitlin Ostlie, volunteer Restoration Supervisor:

Como Park cherry trees
Move over Washington, DC! You’re not the only American city where citizens can enjoy the Japanese spring tradition of Hanami, or cherry blossom viewing. Saint Paul Parks and Recreation has its own grove of cherry trees, also known as Sakura, ready for you and your family to discover.

The original 20 trees were a gift from the Japanese government in 2012 to mark the 100th anniversary of the gift of cherry trees to Washington, DC. In 2015, the Sakura cherry trees were named Landmark Trees in Saint Paul for their outstanding quality, historical value, and significance. The Sakura trees are special for more than just their beauty.  They were specially selected to withstand Minnesota’s harsh winters by the Department of Forest Resources at the University of Minnesota. The specialized tree, the Sargeant Cherry Spring Wonder Hokkaido Normandale, was grown from seeds taken from the northern-most island of Japan that has a similar climate to Minnesota.

Children planting Como Park cherry trees in 2012
Phenological research on the tree is still on-going with Department of Forest Resources working to answer the most important question of all – when will the tree bloom each spring? You can follow their prediction at their Sakura tree webpage or post your own predictions at Saint Paul – Nagasaki Sister City Committee Cherry Tree Celebration Facebook page!

The Sakura cherry trees can be found at the Mannheimer Memorial in Como Park near the Butterfly Lot and Global Harmony Labyrinth. Join Saint Paul Parks and Recreation and local Japanese culture organizations on Saturday, June 4, at the Mannheimer Memorial for the annual Cherry TreeCelebration featuring taiko drumming, crafts, Sakura theme treats, and the planting of two additional trees.