Posted by: Sandy Morrissey | May 18, 2011

Nestlings fledge nestbox into rain. Killdeers put on show.

Was at Saxon Woods Golf Course today with Joan Heilman – between rain drops. We banded the nestlings in box #2, which were about 13 days old. It was the first time I could confirm the sex of a nestling. This is definitely a male:

Male bluebird nestling about 13 days old

 

 
 

Think this is a female nestling. Protruding feathers duller gray.

Joan and I checked on the third nesting pair of bluebirds at Saxon Woods. Mom flew from the nestbox when I approach. Happy she is keeping the eggs warm in this dreary weather.
 
Joan had to return the cart as the course was closed and the staff was leaving. I continued on foot to check on the babies we had banded last week in Box #9. I peeked in the box, very carefully, knowing that the birds were almost ready to fledge. I was surprised to see only 1 nestling in the box. Hummm. Mom and Dad were around scolding me – or as it turns out, maybe encouraging the last chick to leave the nest. I stayed to look for the new fledglings and was thrilled to spot one on a branch near me. It let me get quite close. I think it most likely had just made it maiden voyage from the nestbox and didn’t want to fly further.

Bluebird fledgling - just after leaving the nestbox.

As I drove home in the pouring rain – which has continued as I type this, I can only hope that our fledglings that gave up their nice, dry nestbox will manage to survive this monsoon.
 
Another treat I had was from a pair of Killdeer, nesting on barren ground near the nestbox. Joan and I had found two eggs on open ground, disguised magnificiently to look like the rest of the ground. Today I carefully looked for them again, and while the parents were making a fuss and trying to lead me away from the nest with their fake injuryed wing display, I found that 2 more eggs had been added.
 

Killdeer eggs

I made a video of the parents putting on their injury display to lead me away from the nest.
 
Get the YouTube video here

 

 
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