Surprise!

Last week I posted about nest site displacement of Bluebirds by House Wrens in a post called Straw vs. Sticks. I included photos of the Bluebird couple that had been attempting to solidify ownership of box # 16 at the entrance to Sham’s Paddock. We’ve been busy with real work (dang but that is such an interruption to my birding hobby!) and I took my first jaunt around the pastures yesterday after nearly a week.

I discovered that the House Wrens had assumed full residency status of Number 16, Sham’s Paddock (sounds like a magical place in the countryside of Scotland!) Curiously, the nest that contained four tiny brown speckled eggs was built of more grasses than twigs. During a quick search for “House Wren eggs” on the internet, I did see similar nests, but most of them were fashioned with many sticks – or at least some twigs. They were similar to the other House Wren nests I’ve observed in the boxes at our property.

These are House Wren eggs in nest box #16

This House Wren nest is made of more refined materials than the typical twigs. It makes me wonder. Do some House Wrens simply assume ownership of the nesting material as well as the nest cavity/box when they overrun the Bluebirds? The House Wrens that killed the baby Bluebirds and assumed control of box # 13 at the far, north fence line, erected a brand new, primarily-twig nest on top of the existing Bluebird nest (photo can be found in THIS post.)

I’m very pleased to share that I found lovely progress in Box #14. When I checked last week, there was a partially built Bluebird nest in that location. Typically, when I approach a box, the sound of my golf cart engine alerts a bird that may be inside, and it flies off before I am within twenty feet of the nest. I keep my eyes peeled to look for that exit because, if I can catch a good look at the bird, I know who’s occupying the box. If I don’t see an exit, I always lean away from the opening and give a “knock-knock” on the side of the box to allow the bird to fly off before I open the door. We learned the value of the “lean away” when we first started checking the boxes. Robert was with me, and we drove up to a box that he was going to open. As he reached to open it, he nearly had a head-on collision with the bird! It’s hard to say who was more surprised!

Back to box #14 that I checked yesterday. I didn’t see a bird fly off, and there was no response to my knocking. I figured there might be eggs – but that the mother hadn’t yet started incubation – or she was just off for a snack – or, worse would be no progress, or a Wren take-over. With my cell phone poised to get a quick shot of the nest and hopefully eggs, I gently opened the box. The photo below is a female Eastern Bluebird setting on her lovely eggs!

I’m very excited to share that information! Like I mentioned in an earlier post, I suspect that this may be the couple that was displaced (and their chicks killed) by the House Wrens in Box # 13. The timing was right for such a move to the new box.

I also saw a female Bluebird fly out of box #15, which is also on the East fence line, but about 550 feet south of #14. I posted photos of the eggs in nest #15 in the Straw vs. Sticks article, last week. I’m looking forward to their chicks hatching, and having the opportunity to capture the parents feeding their brood!

Work life continue to be hectic for another week – but I hope to get out later today! I see something new each time I travel about the property, but it is rarely what I was seeking, and it’s usually unexpected!

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