For the past two days I temporarily moved out of strict birdwatcher mode and decided to do something a little different. Why not?…although migrants continue to trickle in (first-of-season Brown Thrasher appeared for me today), the big push of spring migration has not yet happened, so it seemed like a good time to take a break. On Monday I participated on a survey route of 24 Eastern Bluebird nest boxes. It was quite a treat that started out by viewing examples of nests of some of our cavity-nesting birds; the Bluebird’s neatly woven cup of dried pine needles, the moss-lined cup of Carolina Chickadee, the Carolina Wren’s soft dried grass cup overlaid on a platform of twigs, and the taller fluffy nest of the House Sparrow. When we ventured out to examine the boxes, at least 4 boxes contained delicate blue eggs in a cup of pine needles: Eastern Bluebird eggs!
A few boxes showed early signs of being occupied, including several that contained mossy deposits indicative of Chickadee occupation. Thankfully there was no evidence of House Sparrow nests in any of the boxes. It was a great experience seeing the nests close-up.
Today was a continuation of the same theme. Amazingly, the person who took care of the bluebird boxes in our village decided to relinquish her post as of yesterday. With a grand total of one day experience, the responsibility of taking care of our own boxes fell upon my shoulders (the birding gods must be laughing with glee at this ‘coincidence’ that they arranged). The ‘route’ in our village is much smaller, with only nine boxes, two of which are in dire need of repair. Despite a lack of care so far this year, two of the boxes already were occupied by Bluebird nests, with 4 eggs in each box. That is great news. I’m looking forward to watching the progress of the nests and the young, repairing the damaged boxes, reporting the results on-line, and perhaps even expanding the number of nest boxes in the village. It’s my small attempt to move beyond being simply a birdwatcher. Its a great feeling already, and I highly recommend that all birders out there find their own analogous project.