New Kids in Birdie Garden Town

Mockingbirds one day before fledge

Mockingbirds one day before fledge

Lots of nesting going on around here. Not long ago the Bluebirds built a nest in the Purple Martin house. I didn’t get to see the babies, but I did see active feeding, so it seems there was success up there.

The Bluebirds were feeding up in the Martin house, so there was success with 2014 brood #1

The Bluebirds were feeding up in the Martin house, so there was success with 2014 brood #1

The Purple Martins opted to move on to different digs. I’m still holding out some hope…I read they can nest through June. Truth is, I’m not holding my breath since there has been no aerial acrobatics in quite some time.

Grackles working on a rebuild of downed nest

Grackles working on a rebuild of downed nest

The Common Grackles built a nest in the Long Leaf Pine overlooking the pond only to have the wind take it down.  Such troupers! They got right back to it and built one up higher in the same tree.

Common Grackle Egg

Common Grackle Egg

And, as luck would have it, it appears they had success.  I found the remains of an eggshell on the ground and there was a feather attached. If they are anything like the bluebirds, once hatched, mom and dad remove the eggshells and take them elsewhere for disposal.

It really is just the shell and there is a feather, so probably a baby arrived

It really is just the shell and there is a feather, so probably a baby arrived

The Grackles also built a nest in the dog area, but I haven’t seen any activity.  Often male birds begin the nest and then the female makes a decision on where she wants to make a home. Maybe this one was too small and she opted for a fancier section of the neighborhood, maybe the one with a water view mentioned above.

Momma Mockingbird incubates

Momma Mockingbird incubates

First Signs of Life

First Signs of Life

Mom brings a cricket

Mom brings a cricket

Everyone chimes in looking for a bite

Everyone chimes in looking for a bite

The mockingbirds are everywhere. Two successful nests on my lot and I see lots of feeding activity close by. The nest in the back was at the crossroads of Sabal palmetto, Rhus copallinum and Smilax. (Cabbage Palm, Winged Sumac and a Greenbrier vine, respectively), all Florida native plants.  That nest had three eggs and three babies were seen fattening up.

Spotted one Mockingbird baby in the front nest, but I heard more

Spotted one Mockingbird baby in the front nest, but I heard more

The front nest, in the doggie area was built in the exotic Bottlebrush (purchased and planted before I was introduced to the benefits of native plants).  Not sure of the successful numbers in that nest but there was a hungry baby always looking for food.

Tanner, the English setter heard them too!

Tanner, the English setter heard them too!

And a hopeful dog waiting for fledge day.  The birds are smart. They fledged on a day when I was out running errands and the dog was safely confined inside the house. No harm, no foul.

I believe that Common Ground-Doves may be nesting in the Laurel Oak tree. I see a lot of in and out activity and they’ve attempted to build there in the past.  I’ve peered between the branches, but the tree is pretty thick with leaves and birds can be very cagey about how and where they build, blending in so they are hard for predators and nosy camerawomen to find.

Woo Hoo! Dad Bluebird brings the construction materials while mom looks on

Woo Hoo! Dad Bluebird brings the construction materials while mom looks on

Now the pièce de résistance!  The bluebirds have built in the nest box to raise 2014 brood two. I can monitor this from my kitchen window.  No eggs so far, but Mom was testing it out for comfort the other day.

And I guess Mom was satisfied with the results, testing out the comfort of the nest

And I guess Mom was satisfied with the results, testing out the comfort of the nest

Florida isn’t the only place that is a hotbed for nesting.  The northern states are beginning to see nesting activity after the long, cold, snowy winter.

Here is Mom Mockingbird feeding the young

Here is Mom Mockingbird feeding the young

Providing welcoming habitat for birds is a rewarding experience. Take tips from the cast of authors that our editor Carole Sevilla Brown has gathered in one location. The Ultimate Guide to Birdscaping Your Garden is conveniently broken down into subcategories so that you are sure to easily find the right ideas for your area of the country from those of us who have proven success in our beautiful wildlife gardens.

© 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

    Oh so much tweeting! What a joy Spring can be. I am pining for my front porch Robin. The Starlings have yet again reminded us of the hole in the garage and House Sparrows have found a new spot under the eaves of our house. I have many grackle but have never seen a nest in my garden. I have many gold finches that I would welcome. I need to put up some real nest boxes – sparrow proof – maybe on the new fences over the roses. I keep rooting for those martins for you!

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