Breeding Bird Studies
Bluebird Trail Monitoring 2017
BB- Eastern Bluebird, TS- Tree Swallow, HW- House Wren, HS- House Sparrow, BC- Black-capped Chickadee
Bluebird Trail 2017 -
BB box numbers not listed in the weekly surveys had empty boxes.
August 28, 2017. Still three boxes with wrens - they just can't seem to give up! The rest of the boxes are cleaned. There was one TS nest with fledglings - 2 flew out when I opened the box, there was another in the nest, dead. I left the nest in case those that flew would return. PB
August 10 field notes by Paul Noeldner and Yun-Wen Chan
In summary, there is still a lot of House Wren nesting activity with eggs or chicks in many of the boxes. We did not see any new nesting attempts by Bluebirds, Tree Swallows, and Black-capped Chickadees. All of these species had prior nesting attempts of which some resulted in successful fledgings. In several cases we noted that the House Wrens had nested on top of prior Bluebird nests without removing them. Given the fair weather patterns and late onset of mosquito population profusions, there is still opportunity for 2nd or 3rd nesting attempts by all of the 4 target species. For that reason we removed nests where chicks had recently fledged and nests that have had no activity for several weeks, and cleaned out the boxes to encourage possible August nesting attempts.
The highlight of the day's monitoring was near Box 1 where we first heard and then saw a male and female Bluebird in the tree nursery area, and we heard several Bluebirds (possibly fledglings) vocalizing in the nearby evergreen tree grove. We also heard and then spotted a family of recently fledged House Finches in the evergreens and on the trail, but could not see the Bluebirds which were apparently hidden in the pine boughs. Before we could locate the Bluebirds and get pictures, suddenly all of the House Finches and what appeared to be some of the Bluebirds scatteredin all directions, with a few heading down the trail with what appeared to be a small Kestrel or Sharp-shinned Hawk in unsuccessful pursuit.
We spotted what appeared to be a possible recent BB fledgling atop an apple tree in the Old Orchard near box 2 but it was facing away behind a twig but were unable to get a conclusive id picture. Box 1 and 2 are currently both being used by House Wrens. We concluded that given the proximity and timing, the Bluebird pair we saw in the tree nursery area and the vocalizing Bluebirds (probably fledglings) in the adjacent evergreen grove, may be the Bluebird pair and fledglings from the recently completed Bluebird nesting in nearby Box 16.
This week, two successful Bluebird nests.
First successful nest of Bluebirds this season- BB #10. The appearance of dead TS during each weekly box check raises concern of a disease affecting TS.
On April 17, a Bluebird pair were sitting together on the roof of BB13. BB14 was taken over by House Sparrows.
Biocore Prairie Bluebird Trail 2017 consists of 15 Bluebird Boxes mounted on predator resistant steel poles around the Biocare Prairie and through the Community Gardens. The boxes are located near walking paths as shown on the map. They are easy to monitor and maintain.
The BRAW design Bluebird boxes are luxury boxes, considering that the cedar wood used for building them is more than 100 years old and from the attic floor of a Wisconsin home.
2017 Bluebird trail (pdf) Monitor field report sheet
2017 Bluebird trail field report sheet (WORD file)
2017 Bluebird Trail Monitor schedule
Bluebirds suffered major population declines with loss of native forests. These losses have been reversed with the help of Bluebird Restoration of Wisconsin (BRAW). The organization developed successful Bluebird box designs, locations, and predator control. These Bluebird boxes have benefited Wisconsin’s Eastern Bluebird population and given enjoyment to thousands of people. Although Bluebirds are the target bird for these boxes, other cavity nesting song birds in the Biocore Prairie also benefit from them, including Tree Swallows, House Wrens, Black-capped Chickadees.