Sunday, June 9, 2013

Field Studies - May

Hey everyone. Hope you are all enjoying this amazing summer. I know the birds are keeping busy, and that is keeping me busy.  I am not complaining though.  It has been an incredible year so for.

Anyway, I thought maybe you would all like to know how things stand so far. The season got off to a slow start, but by late march we had lots of hopeful new birds picking boxes and starting on their new homes.  At first it looked like all we were going to get were Eastern Bluebirds, but by mid-April the Chickadees started staking their claims as well.

The first new chicks of the season were banded in the first week of May: 94 little Eastern Bluebirds and 6 Carolina Chickadees.  Of course, this was just the beginning.  Over two hundred Bluebird eggs were laid in April and by the middle of May we are looking at over 300 Bluebird eggs in total.

A nest full of Bluebird chicks
It has been a little tricky figuring out just when to get the bands on the chicks.  They are so tiny and delicate; it made me nervous at first.  They grow up so fast as well.  You do not get many opportunities before they fly the coop.  I managed to get it all figured out though, and have so far banded 137  birds--121 Eastern Bluebirds, and 16 Carolina Chickadees.  Many more will be banded in the following weeks.

As of this writing I had counted 322 Eastern Bluebird eggs. Of those 322 eggs 198 have hatched so far and I still expect many more to hatch in the following weeks.  Of course I cannot band them right away. In general, in about a week to ten days their little legs will have grown strong enough to get the little aluminum band.

Late April and early May saw the arrival of two new species to the boxes--House Wrens, and Tufted Titmice.  Already, the House Wrens have established 19 nests with 57 eggs, so they are going to give the Bluebirds a run for their money. The Tufted Titmice are moving a little slower with only two confirmed nests so far.

So that is my report to date. Do not worry. I will keep you informed with each new and exciting development in the field.

Submitted by Neal Cowan, World Bird Sanctuary Field Studies Supervisor

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