Tuesday, October 14, 2014

This Up Date To The Blog is Way Overdue. Sorry!

Dad taking Dried Mealworms to the young birds

A great nesting season

The Tree of Life
First Day of Autumn
Fruit from Dogwood "Cornus  florida"
I can't believe it has been 2 1/2 months since we have updated this blog for you. It has been a very busy summer and now into the fall on the Bluebird Trail. We had a fantastic year this 2014 nesting season.

A sad start

The nesting season started early with Nest Box #2 having five Bluebird eggs in early March. They were developing and getting strong and close to time for them to fledge the nest at around 16 to 17 days. I checked them on Wednesday and they were getting really big and strong, hopping around in the nest and looking out of the Nest Box hole at the big strange world outside. Sunday I returned to check the box one more time as I new they were close to leaving. I checked with my mirror as I always do to see what was going on in the nest. I saw no movement, so I opened the door and looked again, I could see birds in the bottom of the nest, but no movement nor any parents around trying to dive bomb me, or scolding me when it is close to fledging time, to get me away from the nest.

As the Nest Boxes are located in a Park and being in the wild and as nature will have it sometimes, something had gotten the parents and the big Bluebird babies were dead in the bottom of their nest. They had died of starvation and dehydration as a result of the parents not being able to feed them. The season started off with a very sad Sunday afternoon for me! I took the nest out with the five Bluebird babies and buried them near the Nest Box #2 in the park.

Nature at work

I tell this story because I want you to know of the many happy events that happen with the hatching of the eggs and the developing of the birds and the beauty when they are big enough to fledge the nest and take their place in the wild of the park. But with the joy also sometimes comes the sadness when things happen that the birds don't hatch or they do hatch but don't make it. It is truly our loss not to have them make it and take their place in the beautiful wild and the outdoors.

It's like Christmas morning

With that bit of bad news out of the way, we had a wonderful and exciting nesting season. It is like Christmas morning for me every time I go out and check the Nest Boxes, what will I find? Will it be a nest, or will I find some beautiful blue eggs or maybe some eggs with a couple of chicks that was just hatched looking all naked and new to this world. Some days I find a nest full of already hatched birds, when they hear me they open their mouths thinking I might be a parent bringing food for them.

2014 Quick Summary
 The Cornell
 Lab of Ornithology

- 28 Total Nest Sites
- 75 Total Nesting Attempts

- 152 Total Eggs

-148 Total Young

- 133 Total Fledglings
The last to leave the nest!

The last Nest Box to hatch and fledge Bluebirds this season was Nest Box #18, they build a nest in July, the Mom laid 5 beautiful blue eggs. She sat on them to incubate them for 14 days to hatch them, I checked the nest right after the first one hatched early on August the 7th. I checked back a couple of days later and no more had hatched, this one little bird was laying in the nest with four un-hatched eggs. I waited another week, then I checked the Nest Box again, no more babies. One big baby and four un-hatched blue eggs. With the summer heat the eggs can explode and make quite the mess in the nest for the one little guy, so I used my mirror and a spoon and took out the 4 un-hatched eggs. This gave the one Bluebird more room and no chance of a mess with broken eggs. The one bird developed, the mom and dad feeding him twice an hour as they always do, whether it is one bird or six birds. My wife Kathy said the big guy might not be able to get out the Nest Box hole when it is time to leave, since he was getting all the food. She said I might have to open the front door when it was time for him to leave the nest. He was able to get out the hole on his own, he/she fledged on August 26th, making this bird the last of the 2014 season to leave the nest.

Celebrating three years

With the Green Meadows Preserve Park Bluebird Trail now at the end of our 3rd full nesting season. We stop and reflect on all that has been accomplished on the trail. With 25 Nest Boxes all sponsored and placed along the trail. With 10 Feed Stations all with sponsors and placed around the trail. One Nest Box at Still Elementary School and Two Nest Boxes at North Marietta Community Garden.

Berries that Bluebird's love
Growing the numbers!

Our first year, which was the year we put up our 1st Nest Box and the hatching and fledging of our first six baby blue birds. The 2013 year was an amazing  year with the fledging of 111 birds,  this year was a awesome year with  the fledging of 133 birds and many successful Walk and Talk Tours for the general public, private garden groups, senior wellness groups and Elementary school kids on field trips as well as a number of home schooled groups taking part in the tours of the Bluebird Trail.

Sponsor a Berry Bush or Tree

With that being said we still have much to accomplish along the Bluebird Trail this Fall and in the coming year. We are always in need of $$ contributions to help with the cost of food (Dried Mealworms) to help feed the birds for the cold winter months.

Bluebirds love poke weed
We are in the process of converting some or all of the man made perches at each of the Nest Boxes  over a period of time to a live Tree/Shrub that is a berry producing, that will provide berries as a food source in the fall and winter, to help offset the food cost. We are looking for people who would like to become a sponsor of one of the Berry-Producing type of Trees/Shrubs that will help attract and feed Bluebirds and other small birds during the cold winter months. For a contribution of $100.00 you can become a sponsor of one of these Native Plants that will help make the Green Meadows Preserve Park Bluebird Trail Environmentally Responsible Landscaping for Bluebirds and Other Birds.

Mom feeding her young baby Bluebird
Winter roosting boxes

We are also in the process of converting most of the Nest Boxes over to Roost's for the winter months, so the Bluebirds have a dry and warm place to get out of the elements during the cold winter months. With the help of George Burkett, which he has (made all Nest Boxes and Feed Stations for the Bluebird Trail.) He is now making us a wooden ladder to place inside the boxes, so four or five of them can sit on the roost and get out of the weather. We are reversing the doors, so the hole is at the bottom of the Nest Box, that way they sit up at the top of the inside of the box. With the help of a number of people who have become volunteer's and friend's of the Bluebird Trail, this will take a little time to complete and finish all 25 Nest Boxes.

Next scheduled walk and talk tour 
We hope to see you on one of our scheduled Walk and Talk Tours. The next one is scheduled for Saturday November 22nd at 10:00 AM in the morning.
Green Meadows Preserve Park Bluebird Trail,
Where Birds Come to Life!
Thanks for your support and for
joining us along the Bluebird Trail.....Jim B