Chickadee Nest, 3/23/13

moss, cedar bark strips
moss, cedar bark strips

Someone has finally begun to move in to Izzy’s bluebird house.  It stayed vacant all last year.

Izzy made the house in spring, when we chanced upon a program at Warner Park Nature Center. He trailed a group of children headed toward what turned out to be a planned project near the pond. A volunteer had cut cedar pickets into bluebird house panels, photocopied the plans, and even provided rebar and galvanized pipe to make a pole. The kids took turns with too few hammers, and Izzy managed to cobble together a house. The teen who loaned his hammer had quite a cold: at one point the reappearing snot rope stretched to a couple of feet before he snuffed it back in. I worried we were borrowing more than just his hammer.

Back home, I realized the rebar, pipe and brackets were so easy I could install the house alone, without any brawny assistance. Shortly thereafter, a House Wren poked a few twigs into the house, but I cleared them out. I knew the wren had two other prime nesting cavities in the yard. (House Wrens fill every property with twigs on spec.)

Just last week, I checked the house and it was still clean. But today, when Izzy and I went outside for a breather, we found a stack of moss. Soon after, we saw a chickadee fly in and out. A chickadee. Izzy got quiet.
“I wanted a Bluebird.”

The strips are bits of bark peeled from my cedar post by the garden: a big branch Michael brought home from a fallen tree. We watched it fly back to the pole, peel a string and fly it to the house. I wonder if the bark retains insecticidal properties that will benefit the residents, and if the birds know this?

Izzy and I looked online for information about chickadee nests, and after he saw pictures and read about the moss and the 6 speckled eggs and the 14-day incubation period, he was a lot happier about his tenants.

We’ve agreed to check for eggs not more often than once a day, and keep a lookout for babies 14 days later. Fingers crossed.