We’ve Got Babies!!

Carolina Chickadee Hatchlings

Selena and I did a nest box check yesterday and were delighted to see some Carolina Chickadee BABIES! You can kind of see them in the pic to the left. I used the mirror, as they are so deep in the nest I couldn’t get the camera angled on them. I’ll have to work on my mirror placement next time.

Selena had counted 7 eggs the last time we checked, and 4 have hatched so far. These are in nest box in the front bed, at the North/East corner of the house. We never really expected the nest box to be used, but put it up because it’s very decorative. It’s tole painted and adds some quaint decor to the front bed.

We have 15 nest boxes up and 4 are currently used, one with babies, and three with eggs. One of the boxes has Eastern Bluebird eggs, which are unmistakable in their beautiful blue color. Eastern Bluebirds are beautiful in their Blue, Orangish and Whitish colors. Selena and I are members of Texas Bluebird Society, which is an organization full of Bluebird enthusiasts. We really enjoy getting together with TBS folks.

The nest boxes we use are Texas specific bluebird boxes, but many cavity-nesting species will use them. We even had some Golden Fronted Woodpeckers use a couple of the boxes while they were passing through. In fact, the box with Chickadee babies was previously used by a Golden Fronted Woodpecker.

Selena and are not sure what species the speckled eggs are, as we’ve not seen parents come and go. We’ll know more when we spot the parents. These eggs could end up being Black-Crested Titmouse, Tufted Titmouse, Carolina Wren, Bewick’s Wren, or Carolina Chickadee. It really doesn’t matter what babies ended up hatching from the eggs, we love them all, as the are native to North America.

If you look closely in the pic to the left, you’ll see cat hair. We comb our old cat regularly and toss the loose hair out in the yard. It’s great nesting material for the birds. We probably comb a whole kitty in one day’s worth of combing.

As mentioned above, the species that are using our nest boxes are native species, which are the birds that we manage for. There some invasive non-native species that will use nest boxes, such as ours. The House Sparrow, which is an invasive, non-native bird will use these boxes and can be vicious in claiming them. There is documentation that House Sparrows will kill nesting birds, as well as destroy the eggs. They are even known to build their nests on top of deceased birds that they have killed. We do not tolerate House Sparrows at The SnK, and use passive and active methods to control them. If you are going to put up nest boxes, gourds and such, you have to control the Sparrows.

Stay tuned for updates on our nest boxes. We fledged 67 babies last year, so we’re expecting more clutches in the future.

How about you? Do you have nest boxes up at your place?

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