So far this year, 6 of the 7 boxes are being used by Bewick’s wrens, a couple of titmice, and a chickadee. I’m still a novice at identifying the birds by their nests and eggs, but sometimes you can spot the nervous parent chastising you from a nearby tree. (The Handy Dandy Freeman Ranch NestBox Bird Guide that is provided to monitors describes the chickadee’s song as an ominous “I -will-kill-you.”)
The early bird this spring was a Bewick’s wren, whose 6 babies have already fully left home. Box maintenance is part of the monitor’s job, and used nests are removed. I have to admit that holding the literal “empty nest” does tug at my heart strings!
New to me this year are the chickadee and titmouse nests. Theirs are more “mossy” compared to the wren’s twiggy nest. Apparently, it’s difficult to differentiate between the mossy nests, so I keep an eye out for nearby adults. The most interesting thing about all the nests is how often I see pieces of shed snakeskin in them!
It’s prime time in our parks and Natural Areas for the bird boxes; however, for the sake of privacy, it’s important to not disturb the boxes and birds during the nesting season. Monitors are carefully trained on how to manage and approach the boxes and document data.
Please do not disturb the boxes you might come across, but feel free to contact Rebekah Rylander if you have any questions about the bird boxes or almost anything else bird-related!