Another post n the Massbird e-list of interest to us, this one about
tree swallows-- and rather depressing. This is from a guy who maintains
about 100 swallow/bluebird nest boxes on various parcels of private land
in southeastern Mass near the coast. Sounds like their weather there
has been worse than ours.
Well things have sure been pretty depressing these past four or five
With drizzly, rainy, cold weather in the beginning of June ( temps in
40's the past three nights, and daytime highs only in the mid 50's and low
60's) , it has been downright raw, and the birds are taking a hit. This
happens in May, and the bluebirds suffer for their early attempts. But
them are done with their first nestings. Others are now on eggs for their
second attempts. Just two have young that I am concerned about.
But June is tree swallow month, and this long spell of bad weather may
devastating effect on them. Yesterday, before and after work, I banded 38
nestlings. Many small for their age. Others that were supposed to be
cold, and hungry and begging. I have pushed my schedule back by two days,
giving them time to either catch up, or worse. Normally I foster small
other boxes with like-sized young and small broods , but this season is not
normal....they all have small, hungry young.
Not looking forward to the next week of box visits...Mother Nature
sure has a
cruel side sometimes...
How are others doing this year?
"The time to save a species is while it is still common" Rosalie Edge,
of Hawk Mountain Sanctuary
Well, my fears about the effects of this long spell of cool, wet
correct.... I left the house at 6:15 a.m. to check some nest boxes
Twenty-four boxes, of which eighteen were occupied, had eight total
with forty-one dead young.
After a fairly nice sunny day at work, dark clouds moved in at 4:30,
very heavy rain....I checked another twenty-six nest boxes, finding an
additional five total failures, plus broods with half of the young dead,
not a good outlook for their nest mates. Another thirty stinky, dead young.
Seventy-one in all.
Another fifty-seven boxes to go over the next two days...oh boy,