This morning started out spring-like. Relatively warm and some nice showers. Then a cold front rolled in and the rain turned to snow. The snow put the yard birds in a feeding frenzy. The bluebirds came early for their mealworms and haven’t been seen since. I suspect they are buried up in some thick foliage to avoid the inclimate weather. The soil is warm and the snow won’t last long. Spring is not here yet, but soon.
The baffle beneath the nestbox keeps snakes and other critters from climbing the pole into the box. Without these, a considerable number of nesting attempts will end up as predator fodder. My pole is a piece of 3/4 inch electrical conduit attached to the box with conduit hangers. I drive a piece of smaller re-bar into the ground with a sledge and slip the conduit over it. This will allow the box to be moved easily this summer to keep it in the afternoon shade of my small Live Oak. Hopefully we won’t lose babies to the heat this season.
Prior to the winter relapse, we had a string of warm sunny days that had the bluebirds and a couple of local House Sparrows very interested in the nestbox. This is dangerous for the bluebirds. I put out my sparrow trap, but have not caught them. I’ve caught most of the dumb ones and believe I have a handful left that are trap wary. I still have some time before the bluebirds begin nesting, but there is always a danger that they will go inside the box and be killed by a sparrow.
Photos by L. Dillon. Click to enlarge.
Daddy II came into the yard soon after the sparrow appeared on the box and chased it away . Carolyn observed him fighting with a sparrow a couple of days ago. She said they locked up and fell to the ground fighting. Daddy II is a spunky little bird, maybe he can impose his will on the sparrows and convince them to look elsewhere for a nest site. If not we may have to go to an alternative sparrow control plan.
Visit my flickerstream at http://www.flickr.com/photos/reddirtpics/ I have lots of bird pics there.