Thursday, April 26, 2012

Como Park Bluebird Trail Update: April 26th

Post contributed by Sharon--Volunteer Como Park Bluebird Trail monitor:

Cowbird eggf in Eastern Bluebird nest. Photo by Lara Hampton
Example of a cowbird egg that was laid in a bluebird nest.
To learn more about cowbirds check out this web article.
April 26, 2012: The bluebird nest with 5 eggs, one smaller than the rest, is likely a failed attempt and out of an abundance of caution I will wait until next week to remove it.  Then I can be certain the nest has failed as by then those eggs, if viable, should have hatched.  One chickadee nest has 8 eggs, another, 7 eggs, and a third is covered completely in fur.  Another box has a carpet of moss, a chickadee nest in progress.  A medium-sized speckled egg has been deposited in an unoccupied nest, probably made by bluebirds but abandoned.  House sparrows and cowbirds lay speckled eggs of that size.  I believe it is a cowbird egg, because the next box on the trail, one containing a thriving bluebird nest, now also has two speckled eggs in it, in addition to the 5 blue eggs.  Cowbirds lay their eggs in the nests of other birds.  They are a protected native species so I may not interfere, though it may make it difficult for the bluebird parents.  A tree swallow emerged from one nest box, but hasn't yet begun to build a nest in it.  A nearby box had one feather, one long pine needle, and one empty gum wrapper inside.  The gum wrapper points to a house sparrow, the feather could mean a tree swallow.  I removed the wrapper and will check again next week.  The final box has only a small amount of grass inside.