Bluebird and Small Cavity Nester Conservation
Sialis - Bluebirds and other small cavity nesters
 
bluebirds

eggsNo-Trap Experimental
Hill Trailette Log 2008

See description of Hill Trail and aerial photo, and photos from 2007 | 2008 log | 2009 log.
Also see other trail logs. This is an experimental trail in a HOSP infested area where I am not trapping.

SUMMARY OF ANNUAL RESULTS - Number of Nests
YEAR # boxes EABL WBNU TRES BCCH HOSP TUTI HOWR FS

2006 (one-hole only)

7
0
? possibly 1 or 2
0
6 or 7+?
0
0
0
2007 (two-hole hanging only)
4
1 nest - 2 fledged
0
0
multiple nests- 0 fledged
2 nests - 2 eggs - 0 fledged
0
0
2008 (two-hole hanging only)
4
1 nest - 7 nestlings
1 nest - 6 eggs, F
2 rmvd 1 using
2008 (one hole pole mount)
8
3 nests: 14 fledged
2 nests, 7 nestlings F
1 nesting with eggs F
Hill trail.

KEY
BCCH = Black-capped Chickadee
EABL = Eastern Bluebird
FS = Flying Squirrel

HOSP = House Sparrow
NABS = NABs style nestbox
PETE = Peterson style nestbox
PW=paper wasp
SLOT = Slot style entrance on nestbox
TRES = Tree Swallow

Notes:

  • Hanging boxes are about 100 yards apart. I am counting a nest as an attempt - especially because I am removing HOSP nests. Some monitors only count an attempt when an egg has been laid.
  • Boxes with numbers followed by an "x" are not part of this experimental trail, but I try to keep an eye on them. They are single-holers, pole mounted, with the entrance about 5 feet off the ground.
  • In the 2006 nesting season (before I started monitoring the trail) it appears from nests left in boxes that all seven single-holed boxes were used by HOSP, although one or two may have been Tree Swallow nests.
  • In 2007, 2 bluebirds fledged from H-12, and one box (H-8) was eventually occupied by a flying squirrel. H-9 was apparently stolen.
  • In 2008, H-10 was moved to a location about 1/2 mile down the road. H-9 and H-11 are occupied by flying squirrels. I am excited to have them using the boxes, and interested in observing them. For those who do not want Flying Squirrels in their boxes (if the goal is to fledge more native birds, or they are concerned about Flying Squirrels eating eggs and young), try placing boxes away from mature forests and/or lowering height.
  • I am looking at making changes so there is only one 2-holed box in the middle of a 2-acre forage territory at
    least 300 feet from any other nestbox.
2008 Trail Log
ID Type 2007 Attempt #, Species & Fate 2008 Attempt #, Species, Fate Notes
H-9 Two-hole mansion
Moved on 5/19.
Maple Tree
HOSP
5/6: HOSP egg
Total HOSP eggs = 5

Flying squirrel occupied around 6/2.
Flying Squirrel

3/15: occupied by at least one flying squirrel. See video.
3/29: no FS seen.
4/7: tapped on box, no FS came out.
4/13, 17: tapped on box, one FS poked head out.
4/20: FS hiding in grass.
4/26: not checked to avoid disturbing FS.
5/11: checked, fur on top missing, no one home?
5/30: Appears to be abandoned by flying squirrel, cleaned out.
6/7: How many times can I be wrong? There are new leaves in the box, although it is unoccupied. Where is the flying squirrel occupant staying during the day? I will leave it alone now.
6/12: a little more green leaves, no occupant

H-10

Two-hole mansion with partial

Plexiglas back under roof

In winter of 2008, moved to another location 1/2 mile down the road.

TUTI - F
HOWR A
HOSP A
TUTI F
HOWR F
3/15, 3/29: vacant
4/7: claim straw?
4/13: a few dried up leaves.
4/20: complete titmouse nest! no eggs.
4/26: Bumblebee appears to have taken over, no eggs (or nest cup)
5/3: WRONG! Six titmouse eggs. YAAY! Titmouse flew out of box, probably incubating. / 1.25" hole reducers installed on inside of box.
5/11: All eggs on ground, punctured, no HOSP eggs and no HOWR sticks
5/17: removed nest
5/30: HOSP dummy, removed
6/2: A few HOWR sticks, removed.
6/7-12 on: Nothing.
H-11

Two-hole mansion
Maple Tree

Partial Plexiglas roof on this box

 

HOSP - F
TUTI - F - 2 eggs
HOSP - F
Total HOSP eggs = 3
HOWR A

Flying Squirrel - nest removed by someone.

4/20: White Breasted Nuthatch
4/26: 1st WBNU egg
5/3: 7 eggs.
5/17: appears all hatched
6/12: all had fledged

3/15: Two flying squirrels seen in box.
3/29: no FS seen
4/7: tapped on box, no FS
4/13: opened box, EMPTY! Person who unblocked holes of pole-mounted boxes apparently removed the flying squirrel nest.
4/17: nuthatch around, didn't check box.
4/20: Big nuthatch nest, no eggs.
4/26: 1 WBNU egg covered with feathers and fur
5/3: 7 WBNU eggs. Female was on nest.
5/11: Female still on nest (did not leave when box was lowered), 7 eggs.
5/17: Appears all hatched, naked, female was brooding
6/2: All is well, ugly babies sprawled everywhere
6/7: Babies are large.
6/12 fledged
6/19 on: empty
H-12

Two-hole mansion
Maple Tree

Stained gray

HOSP.
Total HOSP eggs = 6
EABL 6/30 first egg - 3 total.
2 EABL nestlings fledged
  3/15, 3/29: vacant.
4/7: didn't have ladder to check.
4/13: no activity.
4/20: looks like some new pine straw.
4/26, 5/3, 11, 17, 5/30, 6/2, 6/7, 6/12 on: nothing.
2007 One Hole Box (Not My Box)
ID Type 2007 Attempt #, Species & Fate 2008 This box is across the street from plugged #6 box, in between H-9 and H-10. It is not my box, and I can not plug it. Box was gone in 2008.
6X NABS (1 hole)

HOSP
Added 1.25" reducer on 5/6
HOWR?
HOSP

Nesting attempts stopped by 7/29

 

3/29: no activity. HOWEVER, 7 single-holed boxes had been opened up (see note) - #3 and #4 had the beginnings of HOSP nests (removed), and #3 had an enlarged hole.
4/7: No activity other than HOSP nest in #3, removed.

General Notes:

  • APPROXIMATE SHORTEST distances between boxes: (note: H-9 is >300 feet away from H-10 and H-11).
    • H11 to H12: 230 feet
    • H11 to H10: 260 feet?
    • H10 to H9: 350 feet
    • H9 to H12: 220 feet
    • 6x to H10: 100 feet (Note: H-10 moved to another location in fall of 2007)
    • 6x to H9: 250 feet
    • Note: the recommended distance between boxes for bluebirds is 300 feet, but these boxes were spaced more closely in 2007 because of limitations in tree locations, size of the town green, and the hope of attracting other native cavity nesters.
NOTE: THE LOG BELOW and drawing SHOW USE OF THE TRAIL BEFORE AND AFTERTWO-HOLE HANGING MANSIONS WERE INSTALLED
Hill Trail, box layout
ID Type 2006 Attempt #, Species & Fate (NO Two Hole Mansions) 2007 (Single hole boxes plugged, 4 Two Hole Mansions added in trees above) 2008 (Opened by unknown party) 2008 Notes
1 NABS HOSP - blue feathers Hole blocked HOSP F
HOWR F

3/29: holes unblocked by unknown person.
4/13, 26: single claim straw?
5/1: E Paperwasps, smashed.
5/30: HOSP, no eggs
6/7: HOSP, no eggs.
6/12: nothing

7?: Dead House Wren on broken eggs. HOSP attack? Unable to determine.

2 SLOT HOSP - saw male perching Hole blocked EABL S - 4 fledglings 3/29: holes unblocked by unknown person.
4/13, 15, 17, 20, 26; 5/1, 11: start of EABL nest? some pine straw
5/30: removed straw after no activity
6/7: empty.
6/12: EABL - sitting
Four fledged
3 NABS HOSP Hole blocked HOSP, 18 eggs so far 3/29: holes unblocked by unknown person. 4/7, 4/13, 4/15, 17, 20: HOSP nest, remvd
4/26: 3 HOSP eggs removed
4/30: HOSP nest removed
5/1: HOSP nest removed
5/3: HOSP nest removed, 2 eggs.
5/11: HOSP nest removed, 3 eggs
5/17: HOSP nest removed, 2 eggs
5/30: HOSP, No eggs
6/7: Removed 4 HOSP eggs.
6/12: Removed 4 HOSP eggs rnf
4 NABS HOSP? TRES? Hole blocked BCCH F
HOSP, 4 eggs
EABL S

3/29: holes unblocked by unknown person.
4/20: HOSP nest, remvd.
4/26: TUTI? BCCH? start
5/11: failed, HOSP perching
5/17: rmd BCCH nest
5/30: partial HOSP nest, rmd
6/7: Male HOSP perching, some nesting material, no eggs.
6/12: nest, 4 eggs nf
7? EABL nest, 4 eggs, successfully fledged

5 NABS HOSP Hole blocked BCCH
7 eggs, 7 nestlings - F
HOSP F - 2 eggs so far
3/29: holes unblocked by unknown person.
4/26: nothing
5/11: BCCH, 1 egg, put up 1 1/8" hole reducer
5/17: 7 eggs
6/1: 2 hatched that day.
6/8: all young dead. Raccoon? see photos. Removed 1 1/8" hole guard.
6/12: HOSP nest 2 eggs
6 NABS HOSP - active, 4 eggs on 8/10 Hole blocked. 6X across street had numerous HOSP attempts - see above HOSP 3/29: holes unblocked by unknown person.
4/26: nothing
5/11: European paper wasp, HOSP perching
5/17: HOSP nest removed, no eggs
5/30: a little HOSP trash, remd
6/7: HOSP nesting material, no eggs, removed.
6/12: no activity
7 NABS HOSP, poss TRES. seed heads.
Hole blocked
EABL: 6 eggs, 6 fledglings

3/29: holes unblocked by unknown person.
4/13: EABL nest? 1/2" pine straw, no eggs
4/15: complete EABL nest, no eggs.
4/26: 6 EABL eggs, female incubating. Added sparrow spooker.
5/1: Female would not budge, did not disturb.
5/3: still incubating, see photo.
5/11: all hatched.
5/17: look fine - 5? or 6?
5/30: Fledged, removed spooker.
6/12: empty.

7X NABS Mounted on fence   EABL S - 4 fledglings

6/1: 4 eggs
6/7-12: 4 nestlings
Fledged later. Not checked later in season.

  • 3/29/08: Hole plugs had all been removed from 7 single-holed boxes during the past week. Trying to find out who did so (probably wanted to open boxes up for nesting and didn't know about experiment.)
  • 4/13: Unable to determine who removed plugs from boxes. Flying Squirrel nest in H-11 was also removed.
  • 4/17: put monofilament (to deter House Sparrows) on all single-holed boxes except #3.
  • 4/20: put up hole restrictors (1.5") for enlarged holes, and replaced screws with deck screws. Noticed a mess of new boxes installed next door.
  • 4/26: surprisingly little HOSP activity.
  • 5/17: Looks like HOSP are nesting in decorative boxes
  • 5/31: 3 EABL eggs in box on post in cow meadow (7x). 6/7-12: 4 babies.

    When we try to pick out anything by itself in nature we find it hitched to everything else in the universe.
    - John Muir

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