Friday, May 24, 2013
The failure of the Wood Thrush nest was a real disappointment to me. Seldom have I gotten to film this secretive species and I was really looking forward to watching them raise their brood. It goes to show how important siting the nest can be. While I am only an amature observer, I personally thought the site she chose to build a nest was not a good one. It seemed to me it was in too open an area. In the afternoon, the sun would be shining on the nest, which I didn't think was too good either. I also mentioned earlier that the ten or fifteen feet between where the nest was located and the side of our house creates a flyway where birds are constantly passing the nest. I think that may have increased awareness among many of the birds that visited the nest for unknown reasons.
I don't know what happened. I took a peek at the nest from the porch to see if she was sitting and when I did the same thing an hour later, the nest was gone! A day earlier, marauding crows were all through the woods around the house trying to discover where there were bird nests. They eat both eggs and babies. I don't think it was crows, however, because I was inside the house at the time and would have heard their loud calls. Plus, if it was crows, I don't think they would have knocked the nest out of the tree.
I found the nest, intact, lying amongst the ground cover (pictured above) under the river birch. That makes me think it was a squirrel that was the predator. We are having a banner year for squirrels and they are everywhere. Although they cannot get into the squirrel-proof bird feeder on our deck, they still hang around looking for stray seeds that have been dropped from the feeder.
If you remember, I posted a photo of a squirrel a couple of days ago that was on a branch at the base of the same tree. In this photo, taken just a few feet from the river birch, a squirrel is munching on a nice fat mushroom it found. Squirrels are omnivores and will eat both vegetable matter and meat, be it eggs or chicks. Makes you wonder how any bird can successfully raise a brood, doesn't it?