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Old 04-21-2010, 10:23 PM   #11
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Sort of close by. About 45 minutes but.... with my schedule that might as well be hours away. What did you have in mind? I would drive back if you needed more photos or something. I did report it to the land steward. They'll get a hold of their monitors and take care of it. Something else I found was a Mute Swan camped out on their pond. They'll need a permit to take care of that.
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Old 04-22-2010, 11:49 AM   #12
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Just wondered. Is that the closest colony to you, that you are aware of?
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Old 04-27-2010, 02:50 PM   #13
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Checked the housing after work, yesterday, 4/26. The bluebird eggs hatched. I have at least three young bluebirds. They were too small to see if all four hatched. I have another bluebird nest with five eggs, as of yesterday. The tree swallows are building nests at a good clip now. Feathers are being added to the nests. I expect the first tree swallow eggs by next week. There is a good number of purple martins at the site and they are birds that are used to me, so I have a lot of birds that returned after having entire broods that were lost to weather last year. I expect the martins to start building nests within the next week. I removed one house sparrow nest from a bluebird box and removed one more house sparrow from the site. I found one tree swallow that died in a nest box. Looked to be natural causes.
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Old 05-05-2010, 10:16 AM   #14
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That one could be the closest to me. There's another one out west of me about the same travel time. I could go that way to check out what's happening over there if you want. They use gourd housing and I've got to go that way in a coupla weeks anyway. It's privately owned land. In case you're wondering.... no purple martins for me.... again this year. Not even one scout checked out my pm house and we were looking. My neighbor's pm house filled up with house sparrows. Surprise surprise. No photos of your bluebird babies???
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Old 05-06-2010, 07:52 PM   #15
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I just wondered how close it was. A 45 minute drive is a long way from the nearest colony if you are trying to start one. But, you knew that it was a crap shoot.

I went out after work on Monday and Tuesday. I evicted a nesting HOSP from one of the martin houses on Monday (she had one egg). She brought in a few pieces of grass and laid another egg in the same compartment on Tuesday, which I removed.

A female martin stayed in one of the compartments while I checked them. They usually only do this when they are nesting. She was in an empty compartment. She looked fine. She probably remembers the routine. The martins are building nests and mud dams. Some of the nests had green leaves, which usually indicates that they are going to start laying eggs, but I don't think that I'll have any when I check on Sunday. Maybe later next week.

One nest of bluebirds has three young just getting feathers. The four (I think) in the attached photo look to be a few days old. The tree swallows really got started laying. One box had one egg, four had two eggs and one had three. I ran out of sparrow spookers. Looks like I'll have six more tree swallow nests with eggs and one nest that I'm not sure about. It could be tree swallow or bluebird. Should fledge around 50 tree swallows.
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The Bluebird Trail 2010 - CAUTION GRAPHIC!-015.jpg  
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Old 05-06-2010, 11:30 PM   #16
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I know.... I keep hoping. We'll take it down again and put it back in the living room until next February. If you can't trap at that site, why don't you shake up and pin prick the eggs she's laying? Those babies look like bluebirds to me. They always remind me of rock stars with afros from back in the 70's when hair was big.
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Old 05-07-2010, 11:34 AM   #17
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I can and do trap at the site. I have to, or I'd have to give up. I just can't shoot at the site (school property - felony). When a HOSP takes up residence in a martin house, it is the most difficult problem to deal with. HOSP are extremely smart and trap shy. Since the site is so far from home, I can't usually spend a whole day trapping. You can often place a trap in a compartment where HOSP have been nesting and they will move to the next compartment. If I shake, oil, pin . . . HOSP eggs I am allowing one pair of HOSP to dominate at least one cavity in one martin house. They bring friends. If a pair gets so attached to a compartment that I can't do anything about, I have a secret weapon. It is a last resort and must be used with extreme caution. I don't like to use it, so I'm not going to discuss it. I can use this method safely, but still only as a last resort.

Looks like it will be a great Saturday for making sparrow spookers here. Raining, with a high of 45. The martins will go hungry for a day. The female bluebirds will be on their young and the males will be busy finding bugs.
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Old 05-16-2010, 01:36 PM   #18
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My visit to the trail on 5/9 was promising. No purple martin eggs yet, but the three bluebirds were getting close to leaving the nest and I counted 46 tree swallow eggs in 10 nests. I removed the house sparrow nest from the martin housing again.

I returned today, the 16th. No martin eggs yet. They are running late this year. The three bluebirds fledged. The adults were building a second nest on top of the first. I removed the old nest and crud from the bottom of the box.

I got to bluebird box #2 and where there were 6 tree swallow eggs last week and the nest had been destroyed. Box #6 had 3 eggs and one broken egg was found today. Box #7 had 7 eggs and is down to 3. Box #10 had 4 tree swallow eggs and the female was killed by house sparrows, while incubating her eggs. House sparrows also killed the female tree swallow in box #11. I removed the contents and sparrow spookers from all of the houses with nests that were destroyed. Sparrow spookers have been breached at this site for the first time. The only way to protect bluebird boxes is to kill house sparrows. There is no other way. The house sparrows completely pecked the heads off of the tree swallows that they killed. Now they have several empty bluebird boxes to build nests in today and lay and egg in tomorrow morning. After I leave work tomorrow, some will be dead.
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The Bluebird Trail 2010 - CAUTION GRAPHIC!-img_0594.jpg   The Bluebird Trail 2010 - CAUTION GRAPHIC!-img_0595.jpg   The Bluebird Trail 2010 - CAUTION GRAPHIC!-img_0596.jpg   The Bluebird Trail 2010 - CAUTION GRAPHIC!-img_0597.jpg  
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Old 05-16-2010, 01:41 PM   #19
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Such sad news.
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Old 05-23-2010, 04:26 PM   #20
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I lost a brood of five bluebirds on my bluebird trail. The successful pair had started to build on top of the old nest, so I removed it from under the new nest and they have 4 eggs now. I have a nest at home with five eggs.

House sparrows have taken a toll on my tree swallows, but I've taken a toll on the house sparrows and the tree swallows are regaining some losses. I believe that I have renesting and possibly new pairs coupling after some adult females were lost to house sparrow attacks. I'm back to ten tree swallow nests with about 27 eggs and five young. I removed two pair of house sparrows today, 5/23.

My purple martins began laying eggs the day before yesterday. One nest has two eggs and another has three. It looks like I will have 32 active nests this season. After losses of more than 50% of young birds last year I am pleasantly surprised at the numbers of adult birds.

I'm attaching some pleasant pictures to see if anyone is still looking. The ugly side has to be seen by folks who have not experienced it. This part still surprises me. I usually count eggs by feel, when I know that they are not near hatching stage. Occasionally I hit a female that refuses to stop incubating for a nest check. You can just see newly hatched young tree swallows in the feathers in the third shot.
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The Bluebird Trail 2010 - CAUTION GRAPHIC!-img_0590.jpg   The Bluebird Trail 2010 - CAUTION GRAPHIC!-img_0591.jpg   The Bluebird Trail 2010 - CAUTION GRAPHIC!-img_0607.jpg  
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2010, bird, bird eggs, birds, blue birds, bluebird, caution, eliminate house sparrows, graphic, hosp, hosp trap, house sparow, house sparrow, house sparrows, martins, nesting, nests, purple martin, purple martin housing, purple martins, trail, trap house sparrows, tree swallows

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