Friday, September 21, 2012

Field Studies Report – July 2012

During the 2012 nesting season July has been the least productive month of the study.

The constant heat and drought have caused many of the birds to abandon their eggs. The rate of success is very meager if any, and the outlook for the remainder of the study is dismal at best. Still the research goes on and I can only keep hoping for a break in the extreme weather conditions.
 Photo by Adam Triska
For July there were a total of 28 active nests, with 24 of them being Eastern Blue Bird nests and 4 House Wren nests.  Of the 109 eggs present, 88 were Eastern Blue Bird eggs and 21 were House Wren eggs.  Only 25 Babies were hatched successfully and 15 were banded. Four of the banded babies were lost due to the extreme weather conditions, so only a total of 11 babies fledged during July. The total of banded birds for this year is 293, and the overall total of birds fledged (banded or not) is still to be determined, but I would suspect the number will be in the ballpark of 350 birds.

The weather, as we all know, has been very unforgiving this month for the birds and also me.  In my weekly route I make note of temperature and other weather related information.  I recorded 12 days that were over 100° F.  This extreme heat combined with less than 1 inch of precipitation has brought the nesting season almost to a stop. From July 10-31 only 2 babies were banded, and this trend will most likely continue.

This month 10 nests and over 45 eggs were lost to predators and the elements. I expect that the number of birds lost will only increase before the nesting season is over if the extreme conditions continue.  Fear not, though!!  Nature continually throws curve balls at its residents, and the residents improvise, adapt and overcome.

Submitted by Adam Triska, World Bird Sanctuary Field Studies Coordinator

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