Mariton: Nesting Activity

April 27, 2011

Activity in the nest boxes is heating up.  The bluebird nest that was started a few week ago has been completed.  Now there are 4 eggs in the nest.  In this photo, you can just see the eggs shielded by the grass from the nest.

Bluebird nest w/eggs

Chickadees  are building two different nests.  Their nests are made mostly of moss, and usually have deer hair or animal fur as a top layer.  You can see that this nest isn’t quite finished, because it lacks the layer of hair on top.

Chickadee nest

In the old days, I would have been comfortable calling this a Black-capped Chickadee.  But in the last few years Carolina Chickadees have moved farther north and now breeding in this area, which was traditionally only used by Black-capped Chickadees.  Bird experts feel that the two species are learning each other songs, which always helped us differentiate Carolinas from Black-caps.  Now ornithologists feel that in some places that the two species may actually be interbreeding.  On most bird censuses in this area, the two are combined into one category:  Chickadee.  I am not hearing Carolina Chickadee songs at Mariton, but I don’t have to travel very far south before I do.