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 Birding Page 1 - Nest boxes et al - 

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No jokes with this red-tailed hawk. He got a net wrapped around his feet - but luckily freed himself after an hour or so

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We got these photos after he freed himself and sat to consider his next move.

While doing so, the red-shouldered hawk to right came to complain about territorial invasion. Never a dull moment at Magnolia.

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These guys are the real reason for all the bird boxes - plenty of little prey means raptors will come.

The dilemma whether to get them all down annually for cleaning is resolved - we MUST get them down to remove insect infestations!

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At left, a trusty helper shows off 55 boxes - the last 6 were too late in the season to get action (Also see next row)

We had 100 percent occupancy, most with two hatchings - not always the same species, however

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To left, box 'VI' was taken over by yellow jacket hornets, who were understandably annoyed when asked to leave. No humans were damaged.

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At left, the birders pose for the camera 

At right, 'WI' was the odd man out - wasps poured out - but no wasp nest.

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At left, all the boxes are open for checking & counting.

In about 1out of 7 there were insect infestations (after the nesting) which would probably have prevented nesting next year: regular ants, micro-ants or wasps. This proves to us at least, we must clean out the boxes every year.

Things are never as they seem: KY was invaded by sparrows 10 days after the shot below; and when the first sparrow brood fledged from TK bluebirds took it over.

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Here the house martins are about to fledge - later the same day and the next. A new brood appeared 10 days later

This heron is our regular visitor, but hard to get close to - smart and shy.

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This is picture perfect proof that the famous southern bluebird is taking up residence in box KY (8 Apr 2004) 0404_BlueBird_KY_1.jpg (155151 bytes) You can see the grass stalks being brought in to line the nest 0404_BlueBird_KY_4.jpg (74929 bytes)
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The image at left was taken in March 2004; 49 boxes clean and ready to hang, each with its unique code.

0403_Map.jpg (58538 bytes) The map at left shows the location of the 49 boxes on the golf There's plenty left to do - we need boxes for ducks, owls, and bats; then for hawks and kites. The sky is the limit. We would like to see 500 boxes placed - 10 times the current level
So here we are in North Carolina, 2003. We brought 31 boxes south and hung them

We had 100% success - all boxes occupied; some of them twice. The wider spacing could be one reason  - greater population pressure is another.

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The map at left shows their location on the golf


    Once upon a time in New Jersey, our hero struggled to hang out bird nesting boxes all around his own house - only to find they were more territorial than mobsters.  So our hero went from house to neighborhood house with a circular requesting permission to hang boxes. Some thought he was after their life savings; others complained that the Town Hall had overlooked their garden and where was their nest box; many said, once nesting was taking place, that there were far fewer bugs. The nest boxes are aimed at insectivores, having entrance holes of 1 1/4 or 1 1/2 inches in diameter. 

    Therefore each box has a unique identifier. Hopefully as each year goes by we can learn more accurately what our friendly feathered descendants of the dinosaurs need to feel at home.

                        But always there are unsolved dilemmas 

    - Should they be hung early in the year before migratory birds arrive; when the chances of locals such as sparrows overtaking the boxes is likely?

These guys are a serious enemy in New Jersey - they own the place, even though their names do not end in vowels. 0204_Squir_Rest_01.jpg (84060 bytes) Success rates were still modest - 80% for 1.5 inch holes and 60% for 1.25 inch holes 0210_AllBoxes.jpg (162481 bytes)

    - Should they be taken and cleaned late each autumn to prevent parasites carrying forward?

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There are many enemies - not only squirrels - pigeons can clean out feeders in a very short time if poor design lets them have their way

0204_ByRedCard1.jpg (16669 bytes) 0206_BlueJay_01.jpg (316878 bytes) These gorgeous fellows are supposed to be our friends - but how they can eat!

    - As they are ventilated for summer heat, can they serve as shelters in winter cold if left hanging all year? 

0010_NstBxs_All1.jpg (56918 bytes) At the years end, modest success - 8 nests out of 13 boxes - a poor showing; mainly because of crowding - they are fiercely territorial, and the land around one house is too little. 0203_NestBxsGiles_01.jpg (67438 bytes)

Moving right along to 2002; neighbors have permitted hanging in their front yards for two summers; so we are up to 40 boxes.

   - Does size matter? More precisely, entrance hole size; drop behind hole; overhang of lip; orientation to sun; height above ground; all these and other questions need answers.

9905_ManhattanView_1.jpg (39221 bytes) Manhattan viewed from our New Jersey home 9903_ManhattanView_2.jpg (71309 bytes)

Full moon rise over the Empire State building in Manhattan - scenes we rarely get to see

0010_NstBxs_Closed1.jpg (61270 bytes) Year 2000 - 13 boxes made for 10,000 birds - it's a beginning.


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