It’s that time of year. Warm breezes flow. Birds signal with their various calls to find a mate. And nesting season is about to begin.
In Florida many have already “done the dance” and started settling in to the various places and conditions that the avian community set their nests in.
Male Mockingbirds in nesting season do battle for love as they build many nests with the hope that their lady will choose theirs to finish off. I’ve seen them in the native oaks, holly, wax myrtle and in the non-native bottlebrush.
The bluebirds chose the purple martin house to begin brood one. They are somewhat later in nesting this year than prior years nesting season…despite it being considerably warmer. We barely had a winter this year so I found it odd that they were delayed, but I’m sure they know best…I’ve had 3-4 successful broods each year since 2007.
I’m a little disappointed that they chose the martin house over the two nice nest boxes that I have set up in two places on the property. They’ve done this before which seems to give them a leg up on building in the nest box early for brood two. They don’t have to wait for the fledglings to clear out to renew a nest.
The doves had a disappointing start this nesting season. I saw momma in a recycled mockingbird nest in an oak, but she was gone a few days later. That tree produced success in January one year, but that same year a second attempt resulted in a raid by some hungry critter. Apparently they were invaded again, but doves are a hearty bunch and probably just headed somewhere safer to try again.
The grackles have arrived in droves. I am scanning the Longleaf (Pinus palustris) pine trees to try and spot a nest as that seems the tree of preference. I also am watching for Pine Warblers in those same trees.
I eyed a cardinal pair sharing a meal. I’ve yet to see a nest of this species because they stay well hidden in low brush next door which is impenetrable by human. Years past I have witness early flights of the fledglings, so I know they have had success in breeding in this area.
So, what can you do to encourage birds to nest in your wildlife garden this nesting season? Don’t be too quick to do cleanup of dried brush. Toss some of your dog’s hair or dryer lint in the yard. They need materials to use in building.
Find out the conditions that your local breeding species require. They might require a nest box. Some like to build high in the trees, others, low in dense scrub, some will only nest in dead tree cavities.
Oh, and be sure that the species you try to attract actually breed in your area during nesting season. I diligently prepared some habitat for robins a few years back only to find out that they don’t breed in Florida…just winter here. If you are further north, please set up some nesting areas for them. I want to see more winter visitors.
And keep in mind that spring isn’t nesting season for only birds. Many insects, mammals and other species get started at this time of year, so be on the lookout in your beautiful wildlife garden. You may get to witness more of nature’s wonders.
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