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Tag Archives: nest boxes

A morning at the farmers’ market points out the fertility of our region. All the products at the Methow Valley Farmers’ Market in Twisp are produced in Okanogan County with most from the Methow Valley. And local artists are well represented too! So much amazing creativity and fertility.

The Western Bluebirds returned last month. They were a couple weeks earlier than usual. We still welcomed them with open arms. This one is perched on the neighbor’s nest box above our house. They have been checking out our boxes also. Hopefully a few pairs will settle in for the season.

Spring is the time to clean out the nest boxes around here. We enjoy the birds year ’round and especially like to have secure places for them to nest and raise their young before moving on. Violet-green Swallows and Tree Swallows, Mountain and Western Bluebirds are all nesting birds we like to encourage. Unfortunately we have learned that the diminutive House Wrens will wreak havoc on other nesting birds, especially the swallows. The tiny wrens will fill a box with sticks, even if there is already another nest present and they’ve been know to attack and kill the bigger swallows. It’s a tough world out there.

 

Fence post yard art

 

Pulling out an old swallow nest

 

The Mountain Chickadees followed us and kept up a running dialogue on our efforts

 

Ken points to a tiny skeleton of a baby bird that did not fledge

 

Here is a beautiful swallow nest lined with soft feathers. The adults collect these feathers to provide a cushy setting for the eggs and babies.

 

There’s one of those chickadees. They do not use our nest boxes for nesting although they do use them for winter night roosts.

 

 

 More yard art, this time in the snow

 

This tiny chickadee must have been sick and died over the winter in one of the boxes.

 

We have quite a few nest boxes on our place and a Spring ritual is to go around with a ladder and various tools and clean them out. Some people like to do this in the Fall. We think birds might like to roost in the boxes during the winter so the old nesting material may provide them a little extra warmth during the cold season. Most of the feathers in the nests are ones from ducks and geese that we ate during the previous winter. When the swallows are flying and gathering material for their nests, we toss the feathers into the air and they swoop down to catch them and take them to the boxes!

Spring is the time to clean out nest boxes

Spring is the time to clean out nest boxes

 

Sadly, some birds don’t make it out of the nest.Spring is the time to clean out nest boxes

 

Wasps in the boxes will discourage nesting.Spring is the time to clean out nest boxes

 

This nesting bird found a Northern Flicker feather to add to its nest.Spring is the time to clean out nest boxes

 

Swallow nest – Tree or Violet-green?Spring is the time to clean out nest boxes

 

Some baling twine from the straw we used to mulch our garden.Spring is the time to clean out nest boxes

 

Tiny House Wrens like to fill boxes with sticks before they build a tiny nest on top. They will also simply fill boxes with sticks to keep other birds from using them. If we see them doing this with several boxes, we try to clean the sticks out so that swallows and bluebirds can also use the boxes.Spring is the time to clean out nest boxes

 

A House Wren nest.

Spring is the time to clean out nest boxes

 

Here is a House Wren nest on top of a bluebird nest. Both nests looked sucessful.Spring is the time to clean out nest boxes

 

The bluebird nest.

Spring is the time to clean out nest boxes

 

Spring is the time to clean out nest boxes

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