The Nests are Coming! PDF Print E-mail
Written by Jackie Wolfinger   
Friday, 19 April 2013 12:51

It's that time of year again! The first Canada Goose eggs have been laid! Soon, other birds will be following suit!

Currently, we have one house for Purple Martins and 24 nest boxes for Eastern Bluebirds, Tree Swallows, and other native cavity nesting birds dotting the grounds. All of the boxes have been cleaned out and are ready for new nests. Over the last week or so, the songbirds have really started to choose a nest box and defend their choice from the other birds. That means that soon it will be time to start monitoring the houses!

Eastern Bluebird adding grass to her nest

Eastern Bluebird adding grass to her nest (Photo Credit: Jonathan Morgan)

Twice a week, Sanctuary volunteers walk the grounds and monitor the nest boxes to help the birds have successful nests. The first part of monitoring includes collecting data for the NestWatch program. All over the country, people just like you collect data on when the birds start nesting, how many eggs are laid, and how many hatchlings survive. This data can be used by scientists to learn how bird populations are changing over time.

Volunteer Annette checking one of the nest boxes

Volunteer Annette checking one of the nest boxes

The second part of monitoring involves keeping undesirable residents out for the health and survival of both the adults and the young birds. A great example of an undesirable nest box resident is the House Sparrow. House Sparrows are nonnative to North America and were introduced here in the 1850s. One of the major problems with them is that they are very aggressive competitors and will kill native song birds and their chicks and eggs. Frequent monitoring of the nest boxes helps us protect the native cavity nesting birds.

House Sparrow nest

House Sparrow nest

Check out the following websites for more information on how you can monitor your own nest boxes!

NestWatch

Sialis.org Nestbox Monitoring

Purple Martin Conservation Organization