Thursday, July 27, 2017

Como Park Bluebird Trail Update: July 27, 2017

Post contributed by Sharon, volunteer bluebird trail monitor:

In the past two weeks, 4 bluebirds and 7 tree swallows fledged. Eight nest boxes are now empty as the
Damaged bluebird eggs
nesting season winds down. There are 12 bluebirds in the remaining three occupied boxes, 8 likely to fledge soon. Vandalism is unfortunately a recurring problem on the trail—two weeks ago a pinecone put into a box prevented bluebirds from laying eggs. Those bluebirds moved to another box, built another nest, and laid 5 eggs, only to have another pinecone put into their box—this time two eggs were destroyed, the rest could not be incubated, and the pair gave up for the season. A predator guard in the same area of the trail was also broken.
The last four bluebirds of the season

Friday, July 14, 2017

Como Park Bluebird Trail Update: July 12, 2017

Post contributed by Sharon, volunteer bluebird trail monitor:

Male bluebird on a sultry morning in
 the park
The bluebird trail is still very active. Five boxes are occupied by bluebirds—two have a total of 9 bluebird eggs in them and three have 12 nestlings (4 each) both newly hatched and almost ready to fledge. Two boxes have at least 7 tree swallow nestlings in them. In the past two weeks 6 chickadees and 2 tree swallows fledged. Four boxes are now empty, including the one that had a pinecone stuffed into it. The bluebirds who used that box quickly moved to another one, built a nest, and laid five white eggs.
Newly hatched bluebirds
Female with her week old tree swallows in the nest

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Como Park Bluebird Trail Update: June 26, 2017

Post contributed by Sharon, volunteer bluebird trail monitor:

Ten more bluebirds fledged in the past two weeks, bringing the total for the first round of bluebird nesting to 19. Round 2 has begun with 9 bluebird eggs in three boxes. A fourth box has a bluebird nest in it that probably would have had eggs in it, if not for a thoughtless person stuffing a pine cone through the entrance hole and blocking the nest. With the pine cone removed we shall see if the birds return to use that nest, or find another box to use.

    A tree swallow nest with at least four week-old chicks in it failed—the chicks were dead and covered with flies. It may be that this pair of tree swallows began another nest right away on top of an old bluebird nest in another nearby box—the new tree swallow nest has four eggs in it. Another two boxes have at least 5 tree swallows at various stages of development.

Three bluebird eggs from round 2 of nesting.

    There are 6 healthy chickadees approaching two weeks old in another box. Two weeks ago mom was on that nest, and a week ago, she was also on the nest along with her nearly week-old chicks! Next time I checked, the 6 youngsters had feathered out and filled up the nest and mom would have been hard put to find room to fit on the nest with them.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Como Park Bluebird Trail Update: June 14, 2017

Can you find the mother tree swallow's tail
in this picture?

Post contributed by Sharon, volunteer bluebird trail monitor:

Fourteen birds fledged in the past week—nine bluebirds and five chickadees. There are ten more bluebirds ready to fledge in the next week or so, and three new bluebird eggs laid. Two boxes have at least six young tree swallows in them, and one more box has tree swallows in it, but mom was sitting on the nest and didn’t allow any observations. A chickadee mom is also hunkered down on her nest, staying put no matter what—she probably learned this was necessary when fending off the encroachments of persistent tree swallows two weeks ago. If she’s still on the nest next week, though, it could mean her eggs are not viable and won’t hatch.

Como Park Bluebird Trail Update: May 31, 2017

Post contributed by Sharon, volunteer bluebird trail monitor:

Recently hatched bluebirds.
The cool weather in the past two weeks hasn’t stopped the bluebirds, chickadees, and tree swallows from progressing with their nesting activities at Como Park. Four nest boxes contain 19 bluebirds—9 over a week old and 10 more recently hatched. Two boxes have chickadees inside—one has 5 over-a-week-old chickadees and the other has eggs. The chickadees with eggs in their nest are being challenged by a pair of tree swallows who sit on top of the box and claim it as their own. I installed a smaller 1-1/4” entrance hole guard so only the chickadees could enter the box, and maybe that will encourage those tree swallows to look elsewhere for a box of their own. Two nest boxes have at least 8 tree swallow eggs inside, and three nest boxes contain partial nests that may have been abandoned.
A nest full of chickadees, over a week old.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Como Park Bluebird Trail Update: May 15, 2017

Post contributed by Sharon, volunteer bluebird trail monitor:

Bluebirds usually lay between 3-5 blue
  eggs,but for the last few years we've
had a pair that lays 6 or 7
pale white eggs.
Nesting season is well underway this week—things can happen fast once they get going. Now there are 20 bluebird eggs in four nest boxes, six chickadee eggs in one box, and four tree swallow nests built. Two other boxes have some nesting materials inside but not enough to identify the creators. 

Chickadee eggs are smaller and speckled.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Como Park Bluebird Trail Update: May 2, 2017

Post contributed by Sharon, volunteer bluebird trail monitor:

The first bluebird eggs of the season.

On the trail today there are two bluebird nests, one with three eggs and the other with one. Tree swallows seem interested in several boxes, but haven’t yet started building any nests. Chickadees started a nest in one box, but may have been stopped from finishing it by tree swallows, even though last week I installed a chickadee entrance hole guard (at 1-1/4” the opening is too small for other birds like tree swallows). Things are off to a slow start this year.
Tree swallows seem to have claimed this box.