Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Nest Box maintenance

Cavity nesters are around, or arriving soon, so we're getting our man-made cavities ready for them. A few weeks ago, Tom Parlapiano made the rounds of the small boxes - the ones we've put up to attract tree swallows, bluebirds, wrens and chickadees. His goal was to clean out old debris - from last years' nests or from overwintering rodents.

Tree Swallow nest box at West Campus, all spruced up for spring.

Earlier this week, Lynn and I carried the twelve-foot ladder out to tend to the Kestrel box, and sadly found it quite occupied.
First step is to rap on the box to evict possible rodents. Check, done, nobody came out.
Next step unlatch side panel to see what you have. Check, done, a big pile of leaves and grass. Looks like a rodent nest.
Okay, start to remove the debris, a handful at a time. After three fistfuls of stuff, Lynn stopped, having uncovered a motionless gray squirrel.

Well it was breathing. Why hadn't it run? We guessed perhaps it was a female with newborn pups, so we let her be without disturbing her further. We don't need more squirrels around, but neither did we want to be needlessly cruel -- we should have checked much earlier. Lesson learned.

Our kestrel box is occupied.

Happy to report that we've had a few new birds already this week (writing this on Wednesday, since we have Friday off).
In boldface are birds we haven't seen since last fall
Bird list for the week of April 2-5, 2012:

Canada Goose
Red-tailed Hawk
Sharp-shinned Hawk
Ring-billed Gull
5. Herring Gull
Double-crested Cormorant
Rock Pigeon
Mourning Dove
10. Downy Woodpecker
Northern Flicker
Blue Jay
American Crow
Northern Mockingbird
15. American Robin
Hermit Thrush
European Starling
Black-capped Chickadee
Brown Creeper
20. Golden-crowned Kinglet
Northern Cardinal
Song Sparrow
Dark-eyed Junco
Chipping Sparrow
25. Savannah Sparrow
American Goldfinch
House Finch
Brown-headed Cowbird
Common Grackle
30. Red-winged Blackbird
House Sparrow

Trout lily, Erythronium americanum, photographed at lunchtime today in the nature reserve along the Oyster River. And yes, I did notice the beetle on the flower, but not being familiar with insect groups, I'll leave it at that, a beetle - any suggestions?

No comments:

Post a Comment