While I was hoping for bluebirds this year in the nest boxes, this little chickadee popped her head out and seems to be making it her home for the spring. Luckily Steve had his camera handy and could get some pictures of this cute little bird.
She was just so entertaining to watch. It was like she couldn’t believe her good fortune in finding this amazing nesting spot.
When we came back a couple of weeks later I was happy to see that they were actually moving in.
I was able to get back up to our cabin in Door County sooner than I thought and checked on the Black-capped Chickadees nest in our nest boxes. In my previous post, Who’s In My Nest Boxes, I discovered that chickadees had laid their eggs in the boxes intended for bluebirds. In the first box there were 6 eggs and the second 11! I was a little nervous that the older 6 eggs might be too close to becoming fledglings, but I was pretty confident they were still young enough not to make a too early dash from the nest. So I took a quick peak.
This was just the epitome of cuteness! Six little immature chickadees. Mom and Dad were none too happy, so I quickly let them be and didn’t disturb them again.
The other nest was not as far along. They are clearly newly hatched and instinctively looking for food. There were still some eggs in the nest and I’m not sure those will hatch or not.
To give you an idea of just how tiny these hatchlings are, I took a picture from the front of the box to give you some scale.
I also have two other birds nesting on the house. Not near the house, but actually on the house. On the front porch is an Eastern Phoebe nest. It’s not uncommon for them to nest in this kind of location. They often nest on eaves or ledges on structures. I remember when I was a kid, we came to our cabin one weekend and a Phoebe had made her nest right on the door frame and we couldn’t open the door. We were able to create a shelf for the nest and the mom didn’t seem to mind at all.
To keep off the nuisance birds, the previous owner had put a nail board up. Apparently, the Phoebe didn’t seem to mind.
The parents can always be found nearby.
Then just recently a Robin has set up house under the elevated back deck. I discovered it first by walking out on the deck and scaring her off the nest right below my feet. Scared me too!
Certainly a lot of excitement from the birds! Do you have any nests you’re watching?
A few weeks ago I wrote about putting up two bluebird nestboxes at our Wisconsin cabin in “Putting Up Eastern Bluebird Nestboxes“. I couldn’t wait to come back and see who might have moved in!
We came back up two weeks later and checked out the boxes. The first one clearly had a new resident, but it wasn’t a bluebird. After a little investigation on the sialis.org website, I figured out it was a black-capped chickadee nest. Not a bluebird but definitely a keeper!
5/7/16 Base layer of chickadee nest in Box #1
Black-Capped Chickadee nests can take up to 2 weeks to build. The base layer is coarse material like moss, pine needles or bark.
5/7/16 Nothing yet in Box #2
Then it’s lined with softer materials like animal fur, downy plant fibers or feathers. The nest cup is about 1 inch deep and found towards the back. Sometimes they can even cover the cup to hide the eggs as they are being laid.
5/8/16 The next day some of the softer material was being added to Box #1
5/8/16 and maybe someone is starting a nest in Box #2!
We left for a couple of weeks, so very curious what we’d come back to…
5/27/16 Six eggs were laid in Box #1
Six little tiny eggs were in nest box #1! These little eggs are only about 2/3 in x 1/2 inch in size and typically 6-8 are laid. They are laid 1 per day, and then the female lays on them starting the day before the last one so they all hatch within 24 hours. Incubation lasts 12-13 days.
5/27/16 Looks like a finished nest but no eggs yet in Box #2.
Box #2 looks ready for eggs, but nothing yet. But boy was I fooled! I went back to check on them the next day and this is what I found…
5/28/16 This little momma Chickadee has been busy! I count 11 eggs in Box #2.
There must have been a little nest plug over them when I peeked in the day before. She’s going to have her work cut out for her with all those eggs.
Depending when I get back, I may or may not check on them again. The hatchlings will spend almost 2 weeks in the nest being fed mostly by the male at first, and then equally by the male and female as they get older. They typically fledge on day 16, but they are very prone to early fledging if disturbed after day 11. I definitely don’t want to do that!
On one visit I had a little fun sneaking up on the #1 nestbox. It’s always a good idea to tap on the house when checking, otherwise you might get a bird right in the face 🙂