Just the back yard!? Nah, I want the front and side yards landscaped in natives too.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Regular Visitor or Resident?

I was pleased to see a cedar waxwing perched on a dead branch of one of the wild cherry trees--of course, I didn't know what it was from the distance, but, after it flew to the quaking aspen in the blueberry patch, I was able to identify it through the zoom of the camera.  Normally, I have to wait until I upload the picture, but it was close enough, that, once I knew what it was, I was able to see recognize it with the naked eye thanks to its colorful wax-wings.

I've seen them in the yard a few times since last year, and I have to wonder if they might not be nesting here.  That would be thrilling to me.  If not yet, once I have more fruiting shrubs and trees, I expect they might. :)

Sunday, June 9, 2013

At It Again

Normally after the bluebirds fledglings have left the nest, within a few days, I clean out the old nest and wipe down the inside of the nest box (and around the entrance hole) with a bleach and water solution.  This year, with the house wren nesting across the yard, I put off the clean-up.  I figured after all the energy that it took to feed and care for the young, a little break would be welcomed.

However, after I noticed a photo I'd taken earlier in the week showed the male bird checking out the entrance hole again, I went out to clean the box a day or two later.  Since I was unsure what if the male bird would keep checking after finding the old, messy nest, I decided to leave the door open for 24 hours, hoping that would draw the attention of the pair if they were still in the area.  The next afternoon, I came back and closed the door...and waited to see what would happen. 

Again we were gone, but when I checked again within four days of cleaning it out, I found a completed nest!  :)  I'm pleased that they didn't go looking elsewhere.

 From the research I did online, it appears that once the house     wrens eggs are laid, they stop attacking other birds' nests..."as if a switch was flipped".  So, I'm hopeful that there will be nothing to interfere with the bluebirds having a fully successful second brood.

Nature Taking its Course, I Guess...

We have been busy and away too many weekends in a row lately.  I have not been able to keep as much of an eye on things as I'd like--not that I think I could've done much to change what appears to have happened.

I knew the bluebirds were back and had been feeding their young.  They were the first cavity nester to begin nesting in the meadow where I have several nest boxes.  Later, the tree swallows appeared--in bigger numbers than I've had before...although the last two years, I've found their nests and eggs abandoned.   I also had--what I thought was a Carolina wren.  I'd seen a pair late this winter/early spring, so, when I saw a wren at a distance, I assumed it was the Carolina; however, it was a house wren.  House wrens are notorious for piercing the eggs of other cavity nesters--and apparently open-nesting birds as well.

With that said, house wrens are native birds--I don't like their behavior, but I have welcomed nature to my yard.  It appears that only two of my bluebirds brood survived to fledge.  I always seem to miss them actually leaving the nest, but maybe some day I'll get it on video.

For now, here is the footage I got that shows the two babies getting fed by dad: