Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Prothonotary Warblers, Great Crested Flycatchers & Eastern Bluebirds

This morning we attempted to band ruby-throated hummingbirds. This is a very inactive time for banders, when trapping is difficult due to the large number of flowers blooming - mimosa, Japanese honeysuckle, lemon bottlebrush and trumpet creeper, to name a few. The female ruby-throats have also been tending their first nests. A few juveniles have been sighted so in the next couple of weeks the hummingbirds will be plentiful again.

After a slow start, the nestboxes on our small trail had a high percentage of occupancy this year. This was probably due to the fact that most of the natural cavities were knocked down by H. Katrina. Five pairs of Carolina chickadees had successful nests, which was such good news because they haven't been doing well the last few years.

Three different pairs of Prothonotary warblers were successful: 1 in a bluebird box, 1 in a chickadee size box & 1 in an ornamental old barn wood box on our front porch. I have pictures of the pair on the front porch. It looks like they are starting a 2nd nest, too.

A pair of Great Crested Flycatchers built in a screech owl sized box in the vegetable garden and the last of their young are fledging as I write. We found what we think is a great crested flycatcher's nest in box #13. We are unable to check it regularly because you have to scale 4 fallen trees and balance on logs to reach it. It also has never had a nest in it until this year. We considered making it box 12b, but maybe it's not jinxed after all.

After a successful 2nd nesting attempt producing 4 fledglings (I saw them on the wire this a.m.) the eastern bluebirds have laid 4 eggs & the hen is beginning to set in one of the houses from the LA Bayou Bluebird Society.

Tomorrow we check the boxes down in the woods. We're hoping for 2nd nests for the 2 Prothonotary pairs. This a.m. we watched a family of brown headed nuthatches feed their young sunflower seeds. I guess they found a cavity in a dead limb somewhere for their nest. There was another family using the feeder down by the river.

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