Other Birds . . .
In an attempt to accommodate more bird species on my trail, I've converted older small boxes to 1 1/4" entrance holes. My main 40-box trail in suburban Yorba Linda, California (20 minutes from Disneyland) is almost exclusively taken by Western Bluebirds; but a mountain trail (7,000 feet high) is offering some variety.
Pygmy Nuthatches — Big Bear, Calif. Trail (2000)
Another first during the 2000 season was a family of Pygmy Nuthatches which fledged a clutch of nine chicks from a hanging box. Several adults (the pair plus extra helpers) worked to keep the chicks fed.
Pymy Nuthatch at nestbox hole before entering to feed nestlings (5/25/02).
A mixture of fur and yarn was stuffed over the nestbox door (photo at left) and into crevices by pygmy nuthatches preparing for winter roosting.
The box is hung about 15 feet high, has about 5"x5" floor, two 1.25" round holes and hardwood face guards. Very tight box construction, no vents, no drain holes.
Pygmy Nuthatches shown with open beaks are just a few days old (Big Bear, Calif. trail.)
More small boxes were added prior to the 2002 season with the intent to increase the mountain chickadee population. In 2001, several pygmy adults took care of nine nestlings in one box. But with more available boxes in 2002, the pygmy nuthatch adults seemed to spread out into simple pairs to monopolize the extra boxes.
The few mountain chickadee nestings did not increase from 2001 to 2002 and I am concerned that mountain chickadees will not be able to compete against the more aggressive pygmy nuthatches.
Ash Throated Flycatcher Eggs, June 2003
The Ash Throated Flycatcher eggs (photo at left) were laid in a hanging nestbox on a mountain trail in Big Bear, California. Three fledged.
Bewick's Wren Nest and Eggs - 2009
Extra Bluebird trail boxes are hung on a fence along a storage/trash area of our urban home. A few of these extras are pulled off the fence and put into the truck as spares whenever the trail is monitored. During 2009, a "spare" box was taken off the fence and carted around for half a day before I discovered a Bewick's Wren nest inside one of the boxes (without eggs, thank goodness). The box with the Bewick's Wren nest was replaced on the fence but Bewick's Wren immediately started building an alternate nest in a different box on the fence and laid five eggs (below).
Notice the difference in Bewick's Wren eggs (above) with the spotted reddish dots in a more defined ring formation compared to a House Wren egg (below) which shows a much smaller (finer) dot formation on a light pink shell :
And below are Bewick's Wren hatchlings 4/15/09 about two days old:
Late Clutch of House Sparrows — Aug. 19, 2001
The nesting season for my trail is basically over by late July of each year or after the second bluebird nestings at any site (whichever comes sooner). House sparrows snuck in a late clutch after two clutches of bluebirds successfully fledged. August in So. Calif. is very hot and it appears these eggs started developing with the first egg laid because of the staggered growth.
Tree Swallow nest and eggs in 2-holed hanging mansion 2009.
The hole-to-floor drop was about 9" and Tree Swallow adults and chicks had no trouble using deeper boxes and showed no preference or avoidance between box depths.
See Box Depth for more information and Tree Swallow chicks about to fledge.
A photo of a nest where Western Bluebirds laid eggs, then a Tree Swallow covered the Bluebird eggs with nest feathers and both females laid eggs in the same nest. The Tree Swallow incubated and hatched her own eggs.
This unidentified nest was built in a hanging nestbox in 1998 and was approximately 3 inches round, 1.5 inches tall with a cup depth of about .75 inch. It was built perfectly in the center of a 4"x4" box floor without touching the box sides.
6 Eggs were laid (1 didn't hatch)
I believe the eggs were white (dull?)
5 Young Hatched and Fledged
is reserved for "Other Birds" of the future.
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