Sunday, June 24, 2012
So, I spot the mockingbirds building a nest in a low growing holly (probably a cultivar, a gift from friends when I moved here). It is maybe 2 ft high and located several feet and directly in line with the front of the bluebird nesting box.
Now the mockingbirds are nasty to the bluebirds and I personally don't want them taking up residence where they might prevent the bluebirds from nesting. There are dozens of alternate nesting sites for the mockingbirds and more mockingbirds than you can count. The bluebirds only nest in nest boxes (although I have some who are making use of the purple martin house (see article below), but that too is an enclosed area. Doesn't seem fair that the mockers are hanging out in the bluebird area.
I went out and removed the start of their nest and pointed toward the oak in the front as a better neighborhood. Next day, they were still trying to build. I once again removed the sticks and such and since this one was a bit more formed than the last, I took the nest material and placed it in a crook in a young oak I have not too far away. I was sidetracked and didn't pay attention for a couple of days.
Lo and behold, the dang birds built a nest inside of 2 days and layed an egg so that I can no longer touch it. One day later we have a second egg (that's when I took the picture).
My concern is not only that they are mean to the bluebirds, my other concern is that this is BELOW the head height of a certain English Setter who would just love to play with the babies when they hatch, or mom while she is cooking the eggs. I also envision the snakes thinking they have come upon the best breakfast bar in the world. The snakes often get into nests 6 or 7 foot high up in the trees, so this low spot is just an easy target.
Who knows why they insist on this shrub but they do. Now I see where the phrase "bird brain" comes from. They aren't too smart!
Friday, June 1, 2012
I noticed someone flying over toward the purple martin house with nesting materials in their mouth. I was too far away to see the species, but the long pine needles were evident sticking out on each side of the bird, like whiskers on a cat. Purple martins appear each year, but fail to move in.
I grabbed the field glasses and took a gander. Well, what do you know, it is a bluebird.
Now, I did have two fledgees of bluebirds out of that condo in the summer of last year. And the nestbox was only used for two broods in 2011 although in past years it has been used for three.
I will have to pay close attention to see if the nest box is used a third time this year. The baby bluebirds from 2012 brood 2 are a due to fledge this week. I was saddened that only two of the five eggs hatched, but the two babies look plump and healthy.
Now I wonder if perhaps the adult pair that use the nest box try to get an early start on brood 3 by making use of the martin house. They can build while the young ones are still home in the main house. They are building in the lower level, unit 1.
Of course I'm not sure how the Martins are going to feel about someone moving in. Maybe they rented it out to the bluebirds, after all, it does have a wonderful water view and I'm sure they could get a tidy sum for it.
p.s., The bird hanging upside down in the photo is a decoy to entice the Purple Martins to move in. We don't have acrobatic birds...except the plastic ones.