Posted by: Sandy Morrissey | May 1, 2017

2017 Bluebird Season off to slow start – which could be a good thing!

As of the end of April, we have only 24 bluebird nests with eggs. Even though we added 40 new nestboxes this year, this is the lowest number of nests with eggs as of this date.

Last year was the opposite. We had the 56 nests with eggs by April 30, after a very warm winter. However, we had the worst nest failure rate ever last year because we had an extremely cold spring after the eggs were laid and over half of these early nests failed.

Hopefully the timing is right this year, and our success rate will go back to the normal 80%.

I am still somewhat worried because we had 7 bluebirds found dead in nestboxes at the beginning of the year. This is the most ever. And most  of them did not look like they were attacked by house sparrows. We have 3 of these in freezers, and I’m hoping to get an agency to test them. We had a cold spell this year also, after a warm winter, but it happened in mid March, before any eggs were laid.

First Eggs

IMG_5796- 1st bb eggs - Rock

Our first eggs were discovered at Rockefeller State Park. The first egg was laid on April 9 and the eggs just hatched on April 29! So we are also announcing our first babies!

Going digital with NestWatch

Pictured above are Rockefeller SP monitors Bob Buchanan and Jackie Moore, with Steven DiFalco (center), a Rockefeller SP naturalists. Jackie is entering nesting data into the NestWatch app. NestWatch is a “citizen scientist” program run by Cornell Lab of Ornithology. It collects nesting data from birders across the world. The data is used to study many thing, not least of which is the effect of climate change on nesting birds.

IMG_5756 Nestwatch training.JPG

We held training sessions and now happily most of our nestbox data is going right into the hands of bird scientists, instead of staying hidden on my computer. It was a big effort to register our 300 plus nestbox sites, with names, type of location, latitude and longitude position, and nestbox specifics. But we are set to record in the field, and we’re doing it!

IMG_5755 (2) (Small)

First Band

IMG_6194- 1st band of 2017.JPG

Another first to report. Captured this female yesterday while on eggs in a nestbox located at Pequenakonck Elementary School in N. Salem. While I don’t bother the incubating moms in the beginning of the egg cycle, I’ve found it’s ok to band her late in the incubation period. She’s committed to that clutch by then.

Next report should be banding our first babies.

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