Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Last Weekend's Project for the Birds Yields Immediate Results and Much Anticipation!

        Late last Spring, Carl and I contracted with a dock builder to have our collapsing creekside retaining wall rebuilt.  This meant that all of the electrical conduit buried in the yard that led to the duck box had to be dug up so that the work could proceed.  Yes, for those of you who did not know, we had a video camera in our duck box so that we could track the laying of eggs, the hatching of chicks and their departure from the nest.  You can see pictures from the 2011 hatching in this blog post.  That year, we were out of town at a bird club meeting but we were able to log in to our server to watch the children bounce around the box before they left the next morning. You can see the video of the whole story in this later post.  Our regular readers also know that we have a bluebird box with a camera feed, too.  Once our bluebirds were done nesting last summer, a squirrel decided that she might fit rather cozily in the box if only she could get in.  So she chewed up the door destroying it completely.

Squirrel wants a nest box, too! -- Parc Perlière -- James Island, Charleston, SC -- July 9, 2013
Her first attempt occurred in 2012 until she decided to nest in the duck box!  -- Parc Perlière -- Charleston, SC -- November 3, 2012
This was not her first attempt.  She had destroyed a door in the Fall of 2012 before deciding that she had more room in the duck box.  There, she raised a family!  Below you can see a couple of her children poking their heads out of the duck box.

Young squirrels ready to leave the nest box -- Parc Perlière -- Charleston, SC -- November 2, 2012
Well we are fairly tired of hosting the squirrels as they are fairly bad tenants.  So after the birds'  nesting season was over,  Carl responded last summer by removing the door to the bluebird box and by removing the wood duck box from its post.  Seriously, the squirrels do not need our help reproducing!  We host an excessive number in our yard.

           This month, with the new nesting season fast approaching, I urged Carl to set up the bird boxes again.  We hope that nesting birds will defend the nest box from the squirrels as they have done in the past. And so Carl spent this past weekend making a new door for the bluebird box, running new electrical conduit underground out to the duck box, re-installing the duck box and the cameras and programming the video monitoring software.  Within minutes of the door installation, a Carolina Chickadee was spotted checking out the bluebird box!  Carl finished the whole project late Sunday.  And the very next day, when Carl checked the software, we found 2 events had been recorded -- one for each box!  A Carolina Wren had investigated the bluebird box!  Though not a great photo, we were excited to know that the birds are showing an interest.  Both Carolina Chickadees and Eastern Bluebirds have nested in this box,  and one winter, a female Downy Woodpecker used it as her nightly roost but she never nested in the box.  And neither has a Carolina Wren.   So it would be fun to watch a Carolina Wren this time!  Who knows ... time will tell who our new tenants will be!

Carolina Wren checks out the birdbox! -- Parc Perlière -- Charleston, SC -- February 10, 2014

Monday, the Wood Duck box had a visitor, also!  And it was not furry and it did not have 4 legs!  Hooray!  I think this girl was a watching and awaiting!

Wood Duck's first visit to newly re-installed box! -- Parc Perlière -- February 10, 2014

           This was quite a nice immediate reward for a long weekend project!  Now, we are impatiently waiting for our birds to make up their minds that they are ready to make babies.  We look forward to sharing with you images and videos on the blog.  Helping to provide suitable habitat for the wildlife in our yard is quite important to us.  It is icing on the cake to have an intimate look into this phase of their lives -- watching them take care of their eggs and babies without disturbing them!  Stay tuned -- there will be more nest box stories photos and videos to come!


  1. A new color camera has been ordered for the bluebird box to replace the old monochrome security camera. It should be installed in about a week.

  2. Thank you for the housing update. Nice to see the project continuing.