Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Overdue Spring House Cleaning

After a clear and moonlit night, it was a bit frosty this morning.   It warmed up a bit so Ed went out to cut some brush.   I took this picture of the bluebird boxes visible from my kitchen window, because I was sure that I saw the red breast and beautiful blue of a bluebird. Of course the bird is gone, he flew from the roof of one of the nest boxes up over my head to the roof of the house.  Ed had already done  the spring cleaning of the bluebird boxes in the front, but now with the bluebirds actually in the neighborhood finishing the remaining boxes  became our top priority.  In 2008 I saw my first bluebird on Feb. 26.  Most other years the birds arrive in sometime in March.  This year arrival is  a little too close to April, but I'm glad they are back!

The nest  boxes are designed to be opened and cleaned.  It is always interesting to inspect the contents.  The remains of last years' nests tell us a story.

This box had one bluebird nest.  Bluebird nests are usually made of grasses and white pine needles.  The sticks were likely added by other birds, after the bluebirds left. In this case they never finished their construction.

A bit of a bluebird feather shows the bright blue that catches the sunlight and makes getting a glimpse of these birds such a treat.  It's a sight that really does bring happiness to the dreariest day.

This nest box shows the ultimate of nesting success .  Two complete bluebird nests  means a second family of bluebirds was raised here last year.  The white fluff that looks like insulation is in fact milkweed.  It's presence indicates that mice have moved in during the winter and an immediate eviction is needed.  Ed whisked the entire contents of the nest box into his bucket.

These two houses are in the back meadow and the most distant from the house.  Now the last two of our 13 bluebird houses are ready for spring and the bluebirds' house hunting.  The birds will have a little  time to choose their favorite box before the tree swallows arrive.  The houses are placed in pairs so that bluebirds can claim one and tree swallows the other.

When Ed drove back to the front, he dumped his bucket of debris from the boxes.  One mouse was at home for this spring cleaning.  The rodent escaped, but with the nest destroyed and the bluebird box so far away, it will have to scurry to find a new place to live.  It will be cold again tonight.

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