The Bluebirds and Tree Swallows have finally settled down and are busily raising families. Earlier in the year there was constant squabbling over possession of nest boxes and establishment of territories. Now the field resembles a friendly suburban neighborhood with bird parents coming and going from their work of gathering food for growing broods. One brood of Bluebirds has already fledged from this box, and a second attempt is underway.
The normal sequence is to alternate Tree Swallows and Bluebirds in the boxes. That may be because the current occupant of the box drives away all others of the same species. When the box becomes available, it is more likely that a different species is on hand and ready to take advantage of the opportunity. I was surprised to find back-to-back Bluebirds this time.
Another Bluebird brood had just left a box a little further along the trail. I went ahead and cleaned the old nest out to prepare for future nests. A new pair will go ahead and build over an old nest. Since there’s usually only a short span between fledging and beginning of a new nest, I don’t always get the old nest cleaned out in time and the nests begin to stack up.
This is a more rural abode that sits well off the trail towards the center of the field. It has seen over 20 years of service and though it now sports some replacement parts, it’s heavily used every year.
It is currently housing a family of young Tree Swallows.
The next box down the line is also home to Tree Swallows. Swallows are currently outproducing Bluebirds by a margin of 2:1. I’ll probably have to put up a few new boxes this winter to accommodate the mob of birds that will arrive next spring.
This is the oldest box in the field. It changed hands several times before a pair of Tree Swallows finally held on long enough to finish a nest and fill it with eggs. The young inside are very near to fledging. To avoid the possibility of prematurely flushing the youngsters out of the nest, I didn’t open the box for a picture.
Warning: If you dislike stale, cliché, used to death conclusions; discontinue reading this post now.
You’ve now reached the tail end of this story.