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Nest box update 3.17.21

The six nest boxes on our bluebird trail at the museum were cleaned and readied for the season on 25 February. There have since been two nest box inspections.

The nest boxes are located at the Cow Pasture (CP – near Ellerbe Creek Railway Tunnel), Explore the Wild service road (ETW), Into the Mist service road (MIST), east side of parking deck (PKE), west side of parking deck (PKW), and behind and next to the Butterfly House Conservatory (BFH). I inspect the nest boxes Wednesday mornings in the order they’re listed above.

The very first week (3.3.21) saw activity in two of the boxes. Upon approach to the PKE nest box, a female bluebird was seen carrying nesting material into the box. At her departure, we opened the side door and found a half-complete nest inside.

At the same time, the BFH nest box had just a few pine needles and grass stems inside its cedar walls.

Here’s where we stand on 17 March.

The Cow Pasture nest box remains empty as does the ETW and MIST boxes.

No activity in the CP, ETW, or MIST (shown) nest boxes (3.17.21).

The PKE nest box is still half complete. There’s been little change in the box since the first week’s inspection.

Little change over past two weeks at PKE nest box (3.17.21).

The nest in the PKW box was nearly complete last week. It now has three eggs. I’m not sure if all of the eggs have been deposited. The first brood of the season is usually the largest and three eggs is not a full load. Though, its important to remember, it’s the bird’s decision to make as to if and when she’s done laying based on factors that are beyond me. If the male that flew out of the box was incubating, the egg laying is over and the decision has already been made. Incubation starts when the last egg has been deposited to insure the eggs hatch at the same time.

Volunteer Sam announces herself before opening nest box door. Male bluebird sat tight and flew out as door was opened (3.17.21).
PKW nest with 3 bluebird eggs (3.17.21).

Finally, there’s been little change to the bluebird nest started in the BFH nest box. It’s still about half complete.

Not much activity for the bluebird nest at BFH (3.17.21).

So, we have three nests which contain bluebird nesting material, PKE, PKW, and BFH. One of those nests contains 3 eggs (PKW). The remaining nest boxes are empty.

I‘d like to predict what will happen next, but I’m usually wrong.

Till next week’s inspection.