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Greenville, DE, United States
Nests in boxes
Carolina Chickadee hatchlings
Did both females incubate and feed? Or did one female raise all 9 young by herself? That is a large brood, for sure!
Yes, they both fed! All 10 eggs hatched out but the last one hatched 1-2 days after the rest and ended up dying. Still, I was amazed all 9 fledged!
Yeah, I can imagine the latecomer probably just could not catch up. I am going to share this remarkable story with our Facebook fans, because 9 out of 10 is still a very good outcome.
Hi Ian, thought you’d like to know your Tree Swallow photo made this month’s eNewsletter: eepurl.com/NJAlT. It’s currently featured on our homepage as well under the “news” section. Thanks for sharing!
Actually, the nestlings and adults at this box were indeed banded and also blood sampled, and both females were caught in the box while nestlings were present so I think they were both doing their share of rearing!
I did DNA analysis on the blood samples and by combining this with the number of eggs present each time the nest was checked I was able to work out that the first female had laid her 4th egg out of a clutch of 6 on the same day that the second female laid her 1st egg out of a clutch of 4. This gave the amazing total of 10 eggs in the nest. All 10 hatched but 1 later died, which by deduction was one of the ones produced by the first female.
It was all pretty crazy in there!
Based on your experience…when I see a lot of duck feathers being used in the nest box (usually my blue bird boxes) does that usually indicate swallow activity vs wren or titmouse or bluebird? I need to pay more attention to during nesting time to see who is coming and going but thought you might know…
I stand corrected. Well, I will be sure to update this on our website version! I guess I should have asked, but I assumed that they would not be banded since that requires permits (and I can’t see bands in the photos). You are obviously very knowledgeable about what happened, so that will teach me to ask before I assume.
Thanks again for sharing your expertise and your story and photos!
What is the function of the smaller, unfinished, perpendicular board that is screwed to the to the left of the entrance hole?
No worries Robin, you were totally justified in assuming they wouldn’t be banded! Very few people who monitor nest box trails are able to band their birds and I think the birds I took photos of don’t have any visible bands.
Tom – in my (limited) experience, large duck or goose feathers are a classic sign of a Tree Swallow nest. Bluebirds usually just build a small neat cup of straw or grass, and wrens usually just use sticks, save a few small feathers in the lining. I’ve never been lucky enough to attract a titmouse but I have my fingers crossed for this year!
That weird looking piece of wood is how I catch the adult birds for banding. It is normally held in place by two screws so that it can’t accidentally fall down and trap a bird inside the box. When I want to catch an adult bird I loosen the screws so that the piece of wood now pivots at the lower screw, then I tie fishing line to it and hide some distance away. Once the bird enters I pull on the fishing line and the wood closes over the hole. I then screw the wood safely back in place. It is quick and easy and the birds are banded and released in just a few minutes. I do banding demonstrations for the general public and people always ask about the piece of wood. Most people think it is something that I put there to keep predators away!
Another of Ian’s photos made our Facebook page today. Check it out here: http://on.fb.me/1oyTChd
A pair of Carolina or Black Capped Chickadees nested in a bluebird box and laid 4 eggs. The babies hatched and live about 6 days. I looked into the box every 2 or 3 days. On Sunday I was outside a lot and was hanging clothes to dry near the box. The chickadees fussed at me frequently while I was in the backyard. Three days later I checked on the nest and all of the bsby birds had died. There were no signs of foul play by a predator. Did the parents abandon the nest?
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