Mariton: New Nest Box Activity

May 24, 2021

by Tim Burris, Preserve Manager

Photo by Tim Burris

Five young Bluebirds that will be leaving their nest box soon.

There is a lot to report from the nest boxes.  As you can see there is one brood of Eastern Bluebirds that is getting close to leaving the nest.  They could leave the box later this week.  On your next visit to Mariton’s meadows, look for young bluebirds foraging.  The male will often mentor this brood, while the female lays another clutch and begins incubation.

Photo by Tim Burris

A Tree Swallow looks out from its new nursery.

A real thrill was to see a Tree Swallow poking its head out of a nest box as I approached.  Tree Swallows didn’t nest here in 2020.  Mariton doesn’t have the big expansive fields, or open water habitats preferred by Tree Swallows, but it is still good habitat for one of two pairs.  You’ll notice in the photo below that the Tree Swallow’s nest is made of grass, but much shallower than a Bluebird’s nest.

Photo by Tim Burris

Tree Swallow nests are made of grass, but shallower than Bluebird nests.

Photo by Tim Burris

Chickadees that are only a day or two old.

Three of the Chickadee nests all had day old hatchlings when I checked them.  They are so fragile at this stage, but you can see a couple were hungry.  One of the Chickadee nests still had eggs, but I imagine that changed shortly after I monitored the bird boxes.

This is a really fun time to monitor nest boxes.  I usually know what to expect when I open a nest box, but after nearly forty years of monitoring I still get a thrill looking in and finding eggs, baby chicks or young birds.  I even get a thrill when I find an empty nest after the young have left the box.  I remove the old nest and wonder what I’ll find next week.