Sunday, June 28, 2015

Weeks Go By So Quickly!!

We haven't been doing a very good job of keeping up with our blog. It seems like we have plenty to blog about, but day-after-day we simply don't get around to doing it. Sorry about that!!

One of our favorite activities is the weekly monitoring of Bluebird Boxes here in the park. Most of the boxes have fledged their first brood already, and many have second nestings underway. So far most nests have been successful, but we have seen a few problems this year.

A first for us occured a couple of weeks back, as we approached a nest box that we knew was full of young hatchlings the previous week. We expected to find six two-week old babies, but found this instead:
Pole, but no Box!!
Box on Ground
These are sturdy boxes, attached to heavy poles with two long screws. Based on the damage and the teeth marks on the box, we knew that a Black Bear had visited the area and had a bluebird snack!

Just two poles over, we came across this one:
Bear Damage
We've rebuilt and replaced these houses, and so far haven't seen any additional bear damage. Fingers crossed!!

In another area of the park we have had a couple of spots where the eggs have been broken and eaten in the box, with no damage to the box itself. At one box location the same predation has occurred with two different clutches of eggs.
Broken Eggs in Nest
We suspect Long-tailed Weasels in these cases. They are small enough to enter the holes without having to enlarge them, and we know that the park has a population of these little carnivores.

One ongoing task is repairing damage caused by woodpeckers and squirrels. These guys find the carefully sized holes to be too small, and work tirelessly to enlarge them. 
Enlarged Hole
When we find an oversized hole we use sandpaper to smooth the edges, and then attach a "critter guard" to return the hole to the correct size. We end up having to do this a couple of times each week. 
Adding Critter Guard
Good as New!!
As we check each box Teri carefully records our findings, and then compiles a final report at the end of the season that goes into the park records and is forwarded on to the Bluebird Society of America. 

Teri Recording Data
We'll see what we find tomorrow morning as our Bluebird Monitoring Project continues...



  1. Interesting findings. I guess you don't have a problem with raccoons?

    1. We seem to be in a state park that doesn't have a raccoon population. Who knew that such a place existed??

  2. Every blue bird box we had here at Aroostook NWR was damaged or demolished by bears. Now all the boxes are mounted on the sides of old bunkers. No bluebirds, but lots of tree swallows. What an interesting project you are doing!

    1. We might have a lone bear now and then, but you have got a whole refuge full of bears!! I'm not surprised that they did a number on your houses there. It sounds like they've struck a reasonable compromise and the Tree Swallows are the beneficiaries.