Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Bird nest season again

kw: observations, bird watching, photographs

'Tis the season for checking bluebird boxes again. Two colleagues and I get to take a stroll weekly to check six boxes. I have a different set of boxes to monitor this year.

One of the boxes houses a family of swallows. Here is Mom watching us approach. I could have gotten an even closer picture (this was more than twelve feet away), because she didn't bolt until I was within three feet. Inside the box, we saw four eggs.

This is the only swallow family in this group of boxes. Three boxes are empty so far, which is puzzling. Nice cavity nests like these are usually a hot commodity.

One nest had a moss nest with chickadee eggs in it two weeks ago, but last week they were gone, and a twiggy nest was built atop the moss. This week more twigs were evident, and we saw a wren leave the box as we approached. The nest fills the box so tightly that we couldn't get a mirror in to see if there are eggs.

One other box has a chickadee family, and if you count carefully, you'll see five little ones in this picture. I was expecting the eggs we saw for the past two weeks to have hatched, so we opened the nest quickly, with camera ready, snapped (no flash) and closed it back up. These chicks must have hatched just yesterday or the day before. We'll leave them alone for a couple of weeks to grow undisturbed, and make one more visit when they're due to be almost fledged out.

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