Monday, March 6, 2017

Nest building begins

Today I saw a warbler or some similar sized bird picking up a bit of white nesting material it had apparently dropped on the deck rail.  Just a few days ago, I had seen a mourning dove tugging at some dried grass by the sidewalk.  I had fully intended to clean the old nest out of the bluebird box by the end of February, but I had not.  (Daddy always says the road to hell is paved with good intentions.)  I thought I would observe a few minutes and go ahead and clean it out if the birds had not already built.  I saw the female taking nesting materials.  She had to wait while the mockingbird used the birdhouse for a perch.  I figured if she could wait for the mockingbird, I would take my turn as well.  I cleaned out the box, then put a few mealworms nearby to compensate for the extra energy needed to do some of the work twice.  The male bluebird was on lookout.  While the box was open and I had gone to fetch the whisk broom, he flew up to the top of the light pole where he often perches.

Then he flew to the nearby crepe myrtle to continue his surveillance.
After I had done closing the box back, he checked out the box itself as if to give the all clear.

Then the female checked it out as well.  She began bringing nesting materials again. 
If you look closely, you can see a dark spot near the center of the picture, just in front of the tall broom sedge.  It's the female bluebird gathering dried sedge or grass or straw.  (The other spot near the drive is a sparrow or junco foraging.)
At one point, she had nest materials to place while the male was inspecting the box.  Two or three times she fluttered in front of the box, waiting for him to move.  He finally went inside and she went in as well.  He soon flew out, and I could imagine her carefully arranging the straw in the nest.

Meanwhile back at the ranch, a white-throated sparrow was having a rather brisk bath.
There is lots of bird activity.  Spring can't be far behind.


1 comment:

  1. Great pictures and narrative. I really enjoyed the nest building. Loved the picture of the sparrow (but I wouldn't have known it was a white throated sparrow) especially just after the bath with the shaking and fluffing, never seen that before, neat catch! Yep, spring is near!