pixieland group

On Thursday (10/17/2013) Jody Picconi, Tom Willoughby and I, along with a work crew of 6 from the Career Tech High School led by Joel Riverman,  cleared out and surveyed all 15 nestboxes at Pixieland. It was a life-saver having the crew of teens and their equipment - the tall grass was not as bad as we had thought but there were plenty of blackberries and branches to cut back, and everyone took a turn climbing up and clearing out a nestbox (well, all but me :o).

Here's what we found by type of box design: 

 3 "open" nestboxes (Design 4, Swainson's Thrush) - none had been used
 4 "bluebird-type" boxes (Design 1, O/S Flycatcher, Tree Swallows)
- none had been used
   - one of them, box #9, has significant damage to the hole where another species, or rodent, had enlarged the hole
 4 "standard" boxes (Design 3, BT Gray Warbler, Chickadee)
      - 2 had used nests, appeared to be successful (boxes 2 & 8)
      - 1 was empty (box #11) - this box has some damage to the hole where another species, or rodent, had tried to enlarge the hole
      - 1 had the soft, mossy base layer of a probable chickadee nest (box #6) - this box had partially fallen, Tom was able to re-attach to tree
 2 large boxes (Design 2, Flicker) - both had nests made of heavy grass, but we don't know what species built the nest (have photos).
    There was a partial skull in one of the boxes but not enough to determine what species.  These nests were not present when we did our June survey.
 2 duck boxes - Tom closed both Wood Duck boxes a few weeks ago so we didn't need to check those.

Jody and I both want to do some research on the location of the unused boxes (Types 1 and 4), checking things like general location, position on the tree (e.g. which direction they should be facing, height from the ground, etc.)  Perhaps moving them, even slightly, might result in their being used by the target birds.

Click on the 2nd tab of my Pixieland worksheet for complete survey information. 

Map of nest boxes. If the link does not work, paste this URL to your browser:,-123.965961&spn=0.0043,0.010568

Note: I've now compiled a complete year of data and am working on a "year end" report.



Don't forget, the bird boxes at Pixieland have only been up for one season. So, we are thinking next year will show even more nest box activity.
As Dawn had mentioned, we are wondering about bird box location and direction. It seemed like the boxes facing NW didn't have any activity. I know bat boxes should face SE... 135 degrees. Do bird boxes follow the same, needing at least 8 hours of direct sun light?
A few of the birds we spotted while at pixieland: bald eagle, red-tailed hawk, coopers hawk, marsh wren. OHHHH!!! yea... we also found a frog in one of the bird boxes.

frog in bird box

Jack Doyle and I did the bird boxes at Crowley Creek today, as well. We have 6 swallow boxes with 5 showing activity. Four of the 5 looked like nestings from swallows and 1 had nesting that looked like a chickadee would use. The one empty box looked like there was a wasp nest in there at one time. Five out of six is a good number!