Nesting Season Begins

Hi ho, hi ho, it's off to work we go

Hi ho, hi ho, it’s off to work we go

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.

Bluebirds are cautious perching high in a tree as a lookout to be sure it is safe to enter the nesting box

Bluebirds are cautious perching high in a tree as a lookout to be sure it is safe to enter the nesting box

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 woodpeckers bang incessantly on metal gutters trying to sound more powerful to woo a gal. Then you hear the hammering as they created their nesting niches in snags for nesting season.

This mockingbird seems to think if we can't see him, we won't find the nest. I spotted him gathering twigs.

This mockingbird seems to think if we can’t see him, we won’t find the nest. I spotted him gathering twigs.

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.

and the mockingbirds do stop for a bite of sumac drupes to eat

and the mockingbirds do stop for a bite of sumac drupes to eat

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.

Pop guards the martin house while mom arranges the nest

Pop guards the martin house while mom arranges the nest

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 tried nesting in the oak, but they are now gone so something must have raided it.

The doves tried nesting in the oak, but they are now gone so something must have raided it.

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.

a grackle pair hang out in a sycamore tree coming into bud, but they are more likely to nest in pine trees.

a grackle pair hang out in a sycamore tree coming into bud, but they are more likely to nest in pine trees.

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.

Cardinals are eating hearty to begin nesting in their hidden areas of scrub

Cardinals are eating hearty to begin nesting in their hidden areas of scrub

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.

Hey dumbo...we don't nest in Florida, we are snowbirds

Hey dumbo…we don’t nest in Florida, we are snowbirds

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. :)

Love is in the air for these mating Little Yellow Butterflies (Pyrisitia lisa). Think about planting larval hosts for species in your area.

Love is in the air for these mating Little Yellow Butterflies (Pyrisitia lisa). Think about planting larval hosts for species in your area.

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.

Paperwasps are pollinators. If they are in a location away from entries, why not let them build.

Paperwasps are pollinators. If they are in a location away from entries, why not let them build.

 

© 2014, Loret T. Setters. All rights reserved. This article is the property of BeautifulWildlifeGarden.com We have received many requests to reprint our work. Our policy is that you are free to use a short excerpt which must give proper credit to the author, and must include a link back to the original post on our site. Please use the contact form above if you have any questions.

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Comments

  1. says

    The first Vultures just arrived this week (yes…that IS a sign of Spring!:) Red Winged Blackbirds have been singing for about 2 weeks. Early waterfowl migration has started, and the last of the snow is melting today as temps soar to almost 50!

    • says

      Hi Bob!

      Glad to hear that things are starting to warm. I feel bad for the rest of the country. You have really been hit hard this winter.

      Our vultures are year round residents and I find the youngsters to be quite cute. I can watch them soar any time there is daylight.

      Thanks for stopping by and sharing your observations!

    • says

      Enjoy that walk. Hopefully things will have warmed up some and you’ll get to see those robins and blackbirds! The weather reports I get from WI and MN every morning are gruesome. You guys are a hearty bunch for sure! Warm thoughts are headed your way.

      Thanks for stopping by.

  2. Marilyn says

    Loret,
    Your bird pictures have me sighing for spring! Here, the mourning doves are starting their cooing calls. I haven’t seen any nesting behavior yet, but am hearing a lot more bird chatter. I am jealous, but our time will be here soon.

  3. says

    I have a pair of titmouse (titmice?) setting up shop in a birdhouse in the backyard. Everyone is forbidden from going to that part of the garden for the next week. ;-) Even though I have multiple birdhouses through out the property, this is one of the few that gets repeat visitors. I had birds in their (not sure what kind) two years ago, bumble bee nest last year and hopefully these guys stay this year. This is one of our few bird boxes that is decorative and not one of those fancy jobs that you clean out.
    Green Bean recently posted..Pollinator Possibilities: Mason Bees

  4. says

    Oh, how exciting! We received a fresh snowfall overnight. It will put people in a not-so-loving mood. Your post is so uplifting even though I will never see Bluebirds nest in my garden. I would actually welcome the sight of a Grackle! They always come back in Spring. Last year the Red-winged Blackbirds arrived on this day but something tells me they will be later this year. The Starlings have already began nesting in the hole in our workshop/garage that we failed to fix last Fall. Spring will arrive, for every season there is a turn!

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