Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Disturbance on the Bluebird Trail

Post contributed by Sharon, volunteer bluebird trail monitor:

Four recently hatched bluebirds, one in mid-gape
Many more bluebirds hatched in the past week. In six boxes, there are a total of 16 young bluebirds (seven, a week old or older, and nine, under a week old). Seven blue eggs have yet to hatch. Parent bluebirds are busy finding insects to feed their growing youngsters.
The cowbird in the chickadee nest fledged and is likely out pestering its parent chickadees for food. Left in the nest is one chickadee, maybe a week old, one unviable chickadee egg, and one unviable cowbird egg. The other five chickadee eggs disappeared. Hopefully, the parent birds will be able to feed both their hungry cowbird fledgling and chickadee nestling.

One box remains empty.

The other three boxes are occupied by tree swallows and contain eight young tree swallows and three tree swallow eggs.

At the end of the trail, at the tree swallow nest box nearest the Como Visitor Center entrance, I witnessed a very disturbing scene. Several poorly-supervised young boys were gathered around the nest box and jerking its post back and forth. They were part of a very large group of preschool- to kindergarten-aged children picnicking on the grass. I told them to stop and explained why, but I’m afraid it fell upon deaf ears as they then moved on to terrorize a young chipmunk in a nearby tree. The chipmunk was nearly stomped to death by a toddler as it ran for cover to a wooded area nearby. All the while, the mother bird was inside, nestled on her three eggs, braving the storm and commotion, protecting her offspring.

Two bluebirds, over a week old