Nesting Boxes and Scribble Maps

I was speaking with Russell Vandehey from the Oregon Golf Club today and he mentioned that he has three pairs of Western Bluebirds setting up house in his bird boxes. Russell has had nesting pairs since I worked for him back in 1995. Since the two courses are only 5.2 miles apart as the crow flies, I assumed that we would have pairs flying around here too. So one of the first things we did here at Stone Creek was to install nesting boxes. Unfortunately we have yet to be discovered by the Western Bluebird but we do have an abundance of swallows and nuthatches.
Following our conversation I realized that I haven't cleaned the boxes yet this year and got right to it, hoping that I wasn't to late and the birds had started nesting. I was just in time and didn't disturb any new construction. While cleaning out the boxes I  evaluate the condition of each one and look for wear around the opening. Sometimes starlings, or squirrels will gnaw at the holes and invade the boxes, so we either replace the opening like the one shown above or simply cover it with a new one. The templates are are made with the proper sized opening so only allowing bluebirds and swallows to enter.

English Sparrow
When cleaning them out we can also tell what kind of bird has nested in each box. I found four different nests this year. Most of the boxes were violet green swallows but there were two nuthatches, an English sparrow and a starling nest. The starlings and the sparrows are not welcome since they are not native to our area and they are very aggressive and out compete the more tentative bluebirds.
Violet Green Swallow
A typical English sparrow nest will be packed to the top with grass and will almost have a tunnel down through the center. Swallows like to use goose and duck feathers and will make a nice bowl shape in the middle. Starlings are full of coarse grass and are usually a mess and the little nuthatches will build there nest out of small twigs and lots of green moss.

This year I decided to employ the Scribble map program to catalog the location of all the boxes. Simply by clicking on the icon a picture will appear and show it's location. This will make it easier in case someone else would like to check on the boxes and see where they are all located.

The Oregon Golf Club
As the season approaches lets keep our fingers crossed for a pair of bluebirds. I have seen them once here but they never checked in. If anyone feels they have seen a bluebird please don't hesitate to tell me. These guys have a beautiful blue back and a rust colored chest similar to a robin only these are the size of a swallow. I took this photo when I worked at The Oregon Golf Club, a real bluebird haven!

1 comment:

  1. Excellent use of the mapping program Dave, and great tips too!


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