Monday, March 29, 2010

Checking Nest Boxes

For many years, members of the North Texas Bird and Wildlife Club have maintained several blulebird nest boxes at Lake Arrowhead State Park. Many of those members are no longer able to keep up the work required, so long-time volunteer, Greg (pictured top) took me and Terry McKee out to show us where the boxes are located and begin training us how to maintain the boxes and keep the records.
We had a great time. The weather was gorgeous and it is still early enough that mosquitoes weren't a problem. We found several boxes with bluebird nests and a couple of the boxes had eggs (lower picture). Two of the boxes appeared to have attracted other cavity nesters (one looked like a wren's nest and one a flycatcher). Of course, there were also some with hornets and wasps and spiders. No snakes though.
Not all of the boxes are easily accessible, as my shredded pants and scratched up body prove, but that is probably a good thing. Out of the approximately 30 boxes the club maintains, 6 had been removed by vandals. The poles were still standing, but the boxes were gone. We'll be replacing the boxes and moving some of them to less noticeable locations. It is unfortunate that it is necessary--the boxes give visitors to the park good opportunity to see and photograph the bluebirds and other interesting birds.
While walking to check the boxes, we did hear some coyotes and barred owls near sundown. Terry and I also saw our first scissortailed flycatchers of the year and a small herd of deer. A great way to spend a few hours.
Good birding!

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