April 19, 2020 at 10:40 am #7969
A few days ago I discovered that a pair of Carolina Wrens built a nest in the artificial hanging plant on our covered deck. I’m not sure how many nestlings they have in there (I broke my little nest monitoring mirror) but I can hear them when the parents come to feed them.
I have a pair of bluebirds nesting in the usual house they’ve been using for years now. I put a sparrow spooker and wren guard on the box after the first egg.
A Northern Mockingbird pair has a nest in the spruce tree but there is no way to monitor the nest. It is at least 15′ up.
A pair of Carolina Chickadees have a nest in the Gillbertson box. Today was the first chance I’ve had to check how many eggs there are. Its either been pretty chilly or raining out. I also haven’t been able to see when the female has left the box. I put a Wren Guard on the box this morning and watched for about 10 minutes to make sure the female went in (she attempted to figure it out but didn’t go in) I had to go out and removed the guard. After removing it she went in after about a minute. This is the first time that a dee has not figured it out after a few attempts. I will try again tomorrow. It will be warmer and sunnier. BTW, there are 6 eggs. I hope tomorrow will be a success. It won’t be long before those $÷/&@ house wrens show up.
No Prothonotory Warblers sightings yet (May 1st is the usual date) and I haven’t seen a single Hummingbird either.
- This topic was modified 1 year, 6 months ago by ReneeinWinslow.
When The New Wears Off The Old Shines Through.April 19, 2020 at 6:15 pm #7974David in Stafford,VAParticipant
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Renee, that is quite an impressive yard full of birds and eggs. Congratulations.
Stafford, VAApril 19, 2020 at 8:27 pm #7980blue diamondsParticipant
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Wowza Renee……your birding season is off to a great start, congratulations‼️ I’ve heard the Carolina wrens are nice little bird to have nesting close by. You will have lots of action in your yard to watch while we are under the “stay at home” restrictions. Happy birding.
Judy-MichiganApril 20, 2020 at 6:28 pm #7999
Well I tried again with the wren guard and had to remove it yet again. I waited even longer today than yesterday. One of them actually flew up underneath peering into the hole but did not enter. I will try again tomorrow.
When The New Wears Off The Old Shines Through.April 20, 2020 at 10:08 pm #8003
Renee, sorry you are having trouble with your wren guard. You know, when I first started on this forum and with the bible “Sialis”. the distance from the hole out to the wren guard was 2 1/2″ I believe, but the past few years it was learned that at least 3 or 3 1/2″ is much easier for the parents to get in & out and feed the babies. I have just put a extra flat piece of wood at the top of the guard (on the back side) and adjust the sides. But some still use the 2 1/2″. If one of your birds actually flew under the guard & looked in (probably was the male), she will probably accept it. It does take a little time. You are doing good by watching this closely because you don’t want her to drop an egg because she won’t go inside.
OH, RENEE, I JUST REMEMBERED – if this is a new mama blue, she is not familiar with a guard and you would then wait until she lays the 1st egg, like you did on your earlier box.April 21, 2020 at 4:38 pm #8008
Thank you Carol but its chickadees not blues who were objecting to the guard. The blues accepted it with no problem.
Well the guard was finally accepted by the female this morning. I waited for over an hour before she finally succeeded in going in. WHEW what a relief since its only a matter of days before those house wrens are due to make their appearance.
I forgot to mention in my original post that the Tree Swallows have failed to make an appearance this year so far. Last year they showed up but unbeknownst to me a wasp had started its nest in the box so the TRES went elsewhere. I soap the @#$% out of the box this year but again a wasp had started a nest. I had gone out to recheck and there one was. Luckily, it was a cold day so it was sluggish and I squashed it and got rid of the nest. I again soaped the #&$& out of the box especially the inside roof area. I haven’t even seen any TRES or for that matter Chimney Swifts either. They usually arrive close together.
When The New Wears Off The Old Shines Through.April 21, 2020 at 7:20 pm #8009
Sorry, Renee – I forgot that your yard is like a bird sanctuary! I have never had a chickadee nest but I will remember what you went through with the guards. Sure glad yours finally accepted it.
Other than blues, the only other birds which have nested in my boxes are tree swallows, which I was absolutely thrilled. The first & second years all was well and the 5 fledged okay, but the next year all 5 died in the box – they were just covered with mites when I removed them – what a horrible experience since I wasn’t prepared and had mites all over ME! They have never returned.April 22, 2020 at 10:07 am #8014
No problem. Its hard to keep up with everyone’s nestings.
My first year with TRES was a mite infested nightmare. I was thrilled that they had come to nest. The female built a nest in a Bluebird box and layed 7 eggs. That year I had an in-box nest camera in that box and over time I could see the mites crawling all over the nestlings. It was awful. By the time I knew what to do about it there were so many mites you could see them crawling all over the out side of the box, too. One of the nestlings died. I was a nervous wreck but I got everything ready, put some gloves on, sprayed myself with OFF except the gloves. I took all the nestlings out and put them in a towel lined bucket and covered it with another towel. I removed the old nest and replaced it with the alfalfa grass one I shaped in a bowel. The I put the nestlings back in and that did help with reducing the number of mites. After that year I started using Sevin Dust underneath the nesting material. I use an old metal spatula to lift the nest up and then put a very light covering on the floor and push the nest back down. That has taken care of any mites before thay have any chance of getting started.
- This reply was modified 1 year, 6 months ago by ReneeinWinslow.
When The New Wears Off The Old Shines Through.April 22, 2020 at 2:14 pm #8019JulieParticipant
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Renee, your yard sounds like a birdwatcher’s heaven! What fun! Thank you for sharing all the tips, esp about the mites. I had TRES 1st time last year, no mites that I saw. After fledging, I took down the box, got rid of the nest and soaked the whole thing in a bleach solution (per something i read on Sialis, I think). I forgot to soap my boxes this year! Thx for the reminder!!! Will get on that! Enjoy watching all the bird adventures!!!
One question re: the dee nest: Did you have to lift the fur plug to see eggs? Is that hard to do? I’m always so nervous I’ll break an egg. I’ve had chickadees here before, but never checked the nest (they were in a tree limb). Now they’re in a box so I’d like to keep track of egg counts for the local BB Society count. Thank you!!!April 22, 2020 at 3:52 pm #8021blue diamondsParticipant
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Wow…..I didn’t realize mites could be a problem. I will be on the lookout for this too. I really do like all the heads-up information found on here. Thank you all for sharing your knowledge.
Judy-MichiganApril 22, 2020 at 8:54 pm #8022
Renee, those mites ARE NOT nice for sure. That was surely a learning experience for me – never had a problem with them on bluebirds – anyone ever have? Those TRES were so beautiful and I would love to have another nesting, EXCEPT for the mess they leave in the box! The blues are so good about keeping their nestbox clean, at least most of the time.April 22, 2020 at 9:26 pm #8025tamseaModerator
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Maybe mites are more of a swallow thing. I’ve only had them in Martin and TRES nests.
TammyApril 22, 2020 at 9:27 pm #8027SassyParticipant
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Renee, what an array of birds you have. We always get Mockingbirds but I have never seen the nest. I had a pair of Carolina wrens around all winter, but now I only hear them. I forgot all about the HOWR and I do not have a guard on the Bluebird box. I hope that is not going to turn into a big problem, but maybe by the time they arrive the nestlings will be too big for them to attack.
ConnieApril 25, 2020 at 10:09 am #8049JulieParticipant
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Renee, I was reading about bird mites this week and discovered this advice on a purple martin forum. Instead of using Sevin dust, this guy uses Sevin liquid. Here’s what he said:
“I spray with Liquid Sevin ( 21 percent ) and spray in each compartment
This is good for at least one year and it looks like we may get 2 years from one spraying.. We spray in the spring each.year.. I never use 5 percent..dust..
I mix 4 tablespoons of 21 percent liquid Sevin in one gallon of water… be sure you spray the dry parts of the gourd or the compart ment… Your going to be delighted at the results… ”
His rate would come down to 1 Tbsp per quart of water if you’re just doing 1-2 boxes. I thought this might be a good option, too. Here’s the link to that forum page–it has a lot of great info about mites:
I know in warmer climates those mites can be something else. After our mild winter, I’m somewhat concerned about the situation here. I usually soak my boxes at end of season in a dilute bleach solution. After soaking, I put them back in place, then used a dollar-store spray bottle to spritz bleach solution inside, and kept any side-openings open for few days to dry out. Probably overkill, but since it was my first season with TRES (notorious for mites), I wasn’t taking chances.
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