Cavity Nesting Program at Mosquito Lake

2014 Cavity Nesting Bird Report for Mosquito Lake South End

BLUEBIRD TRAIL IN STATE PARK
For the summer breeding season of 2014 there were a total of 38 bluebirds fledged, which is significantly below the average for the last 10 years. There were 39 boxes on the trail in 2014 being monitored. In addition to the 38 bluebirds fledged there were 150 tree swallows, 28 wrens, for a total of 216 birds fledged on the trail. There were two reasons for the lower yield of bluebird fledglings. First there was a lot more competition for the boxes as shown by the increase in fledglings for the tree swallows and house wrens. Secondly there was a high loss of bluebird eggs that were laid, but never hatched due to abandonment or removal from nest by house sparrows and house wrens. Again this year there was only one nest box that had a second brood of blue birds. House sparrows are considered an invasive species and a threat to the native songbirds, so 62 nests, 53 eggs and 1 adult bird were destroyed. The highlight
of the season was one nest had five white bluebird eggs, which is not rare, but uncommon. All white eggs hatched and the nestlings fledged. A review of the box locations and habitat will be done before the 2015 season to try to increase the number of fledged bluebirds.

BLUEBIRD TRAIL IN CORPS AREA
For the summer breeding season of 2014 there were a total of 35 bluebirds fledged, which is noticeably below last year. There were 36 boxes on the trail in 2014 being monitored. In addition to the 35
bluebirds fledged there were 78 tree swallows, 30 wrens, for a total of 143 birds fledged on the trail. This was the fourth year for monitoring the bird trail in the Corps area. There were two reasons for the lower yield of bluebird fledglings. First there was a lot more competition for the boxes as shown by the increase in fledglings for the tree swallows and house wrens. Secondly there was a high loss of bluebird eggs that were laid, but never hatched due to abandonment or removal from nest by house sparrows and house wrens. Only 49 percent of the eggs laid turned into fledglings. In a good year fledgling production rate would be over 70 percent of eggs laid. House sparrows are considered an invasive species, so 66 nests, 48 eggs and 5 adult birds were destroyed. A review of the box locations and habitat will be done before the 2015 season to try to increase the number of fledged birds.

CHIMNEY SWIFTS
This is the second year for trying to attract chimney swifts to the chimney swift tower that was erected in 2013. We did not get any chimney swifts. The second chimney swift tower, located in Trumbull County that was built after seeing ours, did not get any swifts. Sources familiar with other chimney swift towers say most towers take about three years to get birds, so there is still hope. The goal for 2015 would be to design and obtain a graphic sign to help explain the tower and educate the public about chimney swifts.

KESTREL
Two kestrel boxes that were installed in 2013 were unused by the kestrels. One box was used by starlings which had to be evicted. More effort will be put into the kestrel program as time and resources become available.

PROTHONOTARY WARBLER IN CORPS AREA
For the 2014 nesting season seven jars were placed over the water around the bay area where the viewing platform is located on the nature loop trail. Ten warblers were fledged from this area, which is in line with the previous two years. This is not a high yield and supports the past years statement that the birds have a nesting territory. The primary reason for the nesting jars is to provide nesting cavities for the birds during the breeding season. The secondary reason for some of the jar locations is for public
viewing and the educational programs that visit the viewing platform.

PROTHONOTARY WARBLER IN STATE PARK
Six nesting jars, the same as 2013, were placed in various locations in the waters around the State Park. Twenty seven warblers were fledged from this area, which was over a 35 % increase in fledglings from the 2013 nesting season. The first reason was the jars were spaced much further apart. The second reason was the greater area of protected water to support the support the bird’s habitat preference. Eggs laid this year was 57% higher than 2013. Our fledgling increase was lower than the egg increase, because we lost one complete nest of five eggs to a predator, which I am almost certain was a house wren. In 2015 we will probably use most of the nesting jars in nearly the same location, with only minor changes.

PURPLE MARTINS IN CORPS AREA
For the past four nesting seasons we have had two purple martin colonies in the Corps Area with a total of 32 nesting cavities. For the 2014 nesting season 92 nestlings were fledged, which is comparable to the past three years. The first setup is a rack system with 12 gourds and a winch to raise and lower the rack for monitoring. The second setup is a conventional aluminum bird house with 12 compartments and a tilt pole which does not allow for monitoring. This setup also has eight gourds hung from the supporting platform. The aluminum martin house had almost no nesting activity over the four year period. For the 2015 nesting season a new 12 gourd unit will be installed in the area with the existing 12 gourd unit. This will allow expansion to another colony and in a few years, possibly, double the fledgling rate. The plan for the second area is to add a 12 gourd unit and keep the existing 8 gourds in service for a few years. This will allow the martins to return to the same area and expand to the new gourd unit over time. The aluminum martin house will be abandoned since there has been negligible nesting activity.
Basically, this will keep the same number of martin nesting locations; the difference will be the increase in usable housing.

PURPLE MARTINS IN STATE PARK
This will be an additional area to added to our cavity nesting program. The State Park had four old wooden martin houses, eight units in each, installed by the Boy Scouts several years ago. The one was removed when the Dog Park was implemented. One of the three remaining martin houses will be replaced with a 12 unit gourd setup for the 2015 breeding season. The other two wooden martin houses
will remain in use for now.

BARRED OWL
The two existing boxes were unused by the owls. A squirrel took up residency in one box. Two more barred owl boxes were built and installed in December of 2014. Four boxes are enough to cover the
area for any chance of getting the owls to nest. We know the owls are in the area, since their calls are heard. I think the boxes are in good locations and it just a matter of time before the owls find at least one of them..

WOOD DUCK
There were three wood duck nesting boxes in the Corps area. The boxes were checked and several wood duck eggs were in each box. At the end of the season egg shells were left in the boxes. An estimated 10 to 12 wood ducks were fledged from each box.

SCREECH OWL
One screech owl boxes has been in the area for six years and has only had squirrels using it.

VARIOUS OTHER BOXES
There are four miscellaneous nesting boxes located in the area, 3 on posts and 1 on a tree. All have a three inch hole, so they could be used by kestrel, screech owl, wood duck or squirrels. These boxes
require further consideration for monitoring, location and use as time allows in the future.

SUMMARY
The 2014 cavity nesting season was more to maintain and monitor the existing boxes, since the trail monitors time and resources were minimal this year. We hope to increase our cavity nest box program
as described above and we also are working on getting more volunteers to support the expansion.

2013 Cavity Nesting Bird Report for Mosquito Lake South End

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Volunteer Coordinator Loyd Marshall.

BLUEBIRD TRAIL IN CAMPGROUND

For the summer breeding season of 2013 there were a total of 49 bluebirds fledged, which is slightly below the average for the last 10 years. There were 39 boxes on the trail in 2013 being monitored. In addition to the 49 bluebirds fledged there were 124 tree swallows, 40 wrens, 0 tufted titmice and 0 chickadees for a total of 213 birds fledged on the trail. House sparrows are considered an invasive species and a threat to the native songbirds, so 36 nests, 45 eggs and 0 adult birds were destroyed. This year there was only one nest box that had a second brood of blue birds. Also, there were fewer tree swallows fledged, which could indicate a lower overall reproduction rate this season.

BLUEBIRD TRAIL IN CORPS AREA

For the summer breeding season of 2013 there were 34 boxes on the trail which fledged 41bluebirds. This was the fourth year for this trail and it continues to ramp up at about 10 fledglings per year. In addition to the 41 bluebirds fledged there were 69 tree swallows, 22 wrens, 0 tufted titmice and 7 chickadees for a total of 139 birds fledged on the trail. House sparrows are considered an invasive species and a threat to the native songbirds, so 48 nests, 65 eggs and 10 adult birds were destroyed. A review of the box locations and habitat will be done before the 2014 season to try to increase the number of fledged birds. Also about 40 percent of the boxes will be reworked or replaced to conform to the standards desired for our blue bird trail. This should increase the number of birds fledged and allow for the trail monitors to have more control on the nest box occupants.

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Photo by: Loyd Marshall

PROTHONOTARY WARBLER

The 2011 nesting season was the first year to try nesting jars for the prothonotary warbler at Mosquito Lake. There were three nesting jars which fledged six birds. For the 2012 nesting season seven jars were placed and a total of nine birds were fledged. For the 2013 nesting season eight jars were placed and a total of nine birds were fledged. As can be seen by the numbers for this area, increasing the number of jars does not increase the number of birds fledged by the same ratio. This shows that the birds have a nesting territory. The primary reason for the nesting jars is to provide nesting cavities for the birds during the breeding season. The secondary reason for some of the jar locations is for public viewing from the platform. Five additional nesting jars were placed in various locations in the waters around the State Park Campground. Twenty birds were fledged from this area. The productivity from these jars was much higher. The first reason was the jars were spaced much further apart. The second reason was the greater area of protected water to support the support the bird’s habitat preference.

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Photo by: Loyd Marshall

BARRED OWL

Two barred owl boxes were built and installed the first week of 2013. The boxes were unused by the owls. A squirrel took up residency in one box. Two more barred owl boxes will be built this year and installed. Four boxes are enough to cover the area for any chance of getting the owls to nest. We know the owls are in the area, since their calls are heard. I think the boxes are in good locations and it just a matter of time before the owls find at least one of them. January 3, 2014

KESTREL

Two kestrel boxes were installed. The boxes were unused by the kestrels. Both boxes were used by starlings which had to be evicted. Further study needs to be done to determine the proper location and setting for the kestrels.

WOOD DUCK

There were three wood duck nesting boxes in the Corps area. The boxes were checked and several wood duck eggs were in each box. At the end of the season egg shells were left in the boxes. An estimated 10 to12 wood ducks were fledged from each box.

 

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Photo by: Loyd Marshall

CHIMNEY SWIFTS

This is the first year trying to attract chimney swifts. A chimney swift tower was fabricated and erected in the first three months of 2013. We did not get any chimney swifts. I talked to a naturalist who is familiar with other chimney swift towers and she said most towers take about three years to get birds, so there is still hope. A couple saw our tower and liked it, so they had a Boy Scout build one to earn his Eagle Scout badge. I was a resource and helped build it. Our tower didn’t fledge any birds, but spawned another tower to increase our changes of providing habitat for chimney swifts in Trumbull County.The goal for 2104 would be to design and obtain a graphic sign to help explain the tower and educate the public about chimney swifts.

PURPLE MARTINS

We have two colonies of purple martins with a total of 32 nesting cavities and fledged 96 nestlings. The first setup is a rack system with 12 gourds and a winch to raise and lower the rack for monitoring. The second setup is a conventional aluminum bird house with 12 compartments and a tilt pole which does not allow for monitoring. This setup also has eight gourds hung from the supporting platform. One goal for 2014 would be to replace the second setup with a gourd rack system similar to the first setup. This would allow better monitoring and recording of the colony activity.

SCREECH OWL

One screech owl boxes has been in the area for five years and has only had squirrels using it.