Nest Boxes and Their Occupants

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Almost as soon as we acquired the ranch, we began putting up nest boxes. Initially, our target bird for the nest boxes was the Mountain Bluebird- the only bluebird that breeds in our 
Bluebird at Box.jpg
area.  In 1999, I contacted the North American Bluebird Society and purchased ten Mountain Bluebird boxes; the holes in these boxes are sized specifically for Mountain, as opposed to Western or Eastern Bluebirds.  The installation of these boxes proved to be quite an ordeal.  Because we are located on river bottom land, our soil is incredibly rocky.  We had to pound rebar into the soil to make the holes for the poles to which the nest boxes were attached. When the job was completed, we discovered that the Mountain Bluebirds were happy to check out the boxes in the spring, but moved on to greener (or, more likely, higher) pastures to build their nests and raise their young.

3 Tree Swallows.jpg
Instead, the Mountain Bluebird nest boxes became Tree Swallow boxes.  Every spring Tree Swallows in great numbers descend on the ranch and fight over the nest boxes.  The Tree Swallows have a beautiful, swooping flight and are prodigious insect-eaters, so they are welcome tenants.  They have successfully raised brood after brood of young, so that now Tree Swallows are the most numerous of any bird species to be found on the ranch. 

Large Tree Swallow.jpg
Over the years we have put up nest boxes for Northern Flickers, American Kestrels, Wood Ducks, and House Wrens.  Although flickers are numerous on the ranch, they seem to prefer natural tree cavities to our nest boxes.  The kestrel box has been occupied for the last two years; the smallest of the falcons, the kestrels are thrilling to watch as they hover over the fields hunting for mice and voles.  The Wood Duck box has never been occupied, although we have seen Wood Ducks- a rare species in this area- on the ranch.

wren in hole.jpg
The wren boxes get used year after year.  While the House Wren can be classified as an L.B.J. (Little Brown Job), he more than makes up for his plain looks with his bubbly, energetic song. 
wren singing.jpg
In the spring and summer, nothing makes me happier than watching our nest box occupants fly to and fro as they build their nests and raise their young inside the homes we have provided for them.

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This page contains a single entry by Nancy published on June 12, 2009 3:15 PM.

Bird Beauties of the Ranch was the previous entry in this blog.

Baby Birds and Fledglings is the next entry in this blog.

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