PRESENTATION TO 4-H TEENS IN PATRICK COUNTY

Had some fun recently talking to 4-H Club teens on March 21, 2011, at their recent meeting held in the cafeteria of the local high school.   We had a demonstration with displays after the presentation.  Included was the North Carolina Bluebird Society’s DVD, INSIDE THE NESTBOX–a video created from a live cam inside a nestbox of the full bluebird nesting cycle–including nest building, egg laying, hatching, feeding, and fledging.  Many thanks to the NCBS for their wonderful video creation and humorous narration!  I’m happy to be a new member of the NCBS, as well.  It will be great to get to know new bluebird folks that live just south of me.

These kids of 4-H will be assisting Primland Resort’s new bluebird trail, learning more about bluebirds; i.e., the nesting cycle close up and how to monitor bluebird boxes in proper protocol and safety for the birds at Primland’s newly installed trail of 5 boxes, built in their own workshop using the VBS box plans and both predator guards recommended by VBS.  I will be assisting the training.  All training by the teens will be supervised by Primland’s Golf Superintendent.   We are hoping to do this after Primland has some new baby bluebirds in one of the nestboxes.  This is the fun part of training–hands on–the real thing–sharing the excitement of new life during this wonderful time of year!  Many thanks to the 4-H Club and Primland for helping our local Eastern Bluebird conservation efforts!

Hatching Photo by Bill Matthews

FIRST LAID EGGS ON THE TRAIL – 2011

Here is a photo of my first laid eggs on the trail.  First egg laid was March 27th, 2011.   After I took this photo, I looked closely at the long “hair” on top of the nest.  So, take a good look yourself.  What does it look like to you in the photo (below)?  I realized right away I needed to return to double-check that is NOT monofilament line accidentally picked up with some of the grasses from our lady nest builder.   However, I could not return the next day due to the cold rainy weather.  It was a bit excruciating for me just wondering what it was.  That monofilament could tangle up her legs and cause injury; and if left there for the hatchlings, it could strangle them to death.  This concerned me greatly.  Upon my return and a closer look two days later, there were several long HUMAN hairs on the nest; frankly, they looked like mine!   I’ve had bluebirds in past use some of my chocolate Tibetan Terrier’s long hairs when I had groomed her.  I would save the hairs pulled out on the grooming brush for the birds.  I found some of her chocolate long hair and some undercoat of hers, a lighter mocha color, mixed in the nesting material in one of my nests in 2008.  Mostly, the bluebirds in my area either use all grasses or all pine needles.   To theorize my own hair was picked up (I had to ask myself:  would she see it and pick up the hairs purposely?) or were the hairs just entwined already in the grasses she used?  We may never know.  It may not be my hair, but it’s very likely it is.  I studied it closely.  It looks like my hair!

Additional note on laid eggs this Spring: Two neighboring counties to mine have had first eggs laid March 21 and March 22.   That is really early. The warmer weather this Spring may have started the bluebirds in nest building, mating, and laying.  However, some cold, rainy weather moved in as you’d expect in early Spring, and I’ve seen them delay or interrupt nest building and egg laying.   I will be back on my trail early this coming week to see what’s happening in my other boxes.  I have nests in most boxes–a few are Carolina Chickadee nests, which are mostly mosses.  The past two years, I had no chickadees in my boxes.   I expect to find completed nests and some eggs.

First 3 eggs on the Woolwine House Bluebird Trail. See the large light-colored, almost clear-looking long hair on top of the eggs? I'm happy to report it is not monofilament line--it is human hair, possibly mine.