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. 

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Como Park Bluebird Trail Update: May 18th, 2016

Post contributed by Sharon, volunteer bluebird trail monitor:

First bluebird hatchlings of 2016!
The first bluebirds have hatched! There are 4 young birds in one nest, and 12 more bluebird eggs in three other boxes. Three of those eggs are white rather than blue—it is thought to be a genetic trait of the mother—and last year the trail also had a female who laid white eggs.

White bluebird eggs
There are 13 chickadee eggs in two boxes. One box has a feathery tree swallow nest and another has a nest topped with some knobby sticks from pine trees, possibly the work of a house wren, but maybe only partially finished, as they tend to fill the whole box with sticks. Three nest boxes are empty.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Como Park Bluebird Trail Update: May 10th, 2016

Post contributed by Sharon, volunteer bluebird trail monitor:
Chickadee eggs
Nodding trillium in the Park

It promises to be a cool and rainy week on the trail, so it will be very important for parent birds to keep their eggs warm. Nesting season is well underway and there are many eggs this week. Three bluebird nests have a total of at least 13 blue eggs (one female stayed on her nest so I was unable to count her eggs—there were 4 last week). One chickadee nest has 6 brown-speckled white eggs, the other may have 1 egg, but with so much fur inside and a blurry photo, it was difficult to tell. Nine of eleven nest boxes are now up, and only one is still empty. There are three with nest beginnings inside—one of them includes feathers and may belong to tree swallows. Two more newly-installed posts await the attachment of the last two nest boxes.