B is for Bird, by Elizabeth Caruthers

I am fascinated by birds and have encountered over 60 different species here on the EWL property. I enjoy watching our young students develop their own connections with these intriguing creatures. Kunsang brings his acute eyesight and nuanced appreciation for detail to observation and identification, while Silas has a strong connection with sound that allows him to recognize and imitate bird songs and calls.  

The boys and I enjoy using the eBird app, a data collection tool created by the Cornell Ornithology Lab and the National Audubon Society. Our bird observations join those of others all over the world, contributing data for global bird population research. eBird also lets us check out what species our neighbors have been observing locally.

This winter we decided to make blue bird boxes, carrying on a tradition that has helped bring Eastern bluebird populations back from severe decline in the 1970s to healthy numbers today.  This spring, our 2 boxes have hosted bluebirds and wrens. We observed tree swallows unsuccessfully attempting to take over the wren’s nest, and became inspired to make a third box for the tree swallows. We continue to watch what unfolds!

We used a bluebird box template from the North American Bluebird Society. The boys improved their sawing skills with lots of practice.

Drilling drainage holes in the floor of the bluebird box

No project is complete without some artistic expression!

More Art!

The first box went up in February in the Bee Fishing Field.

The first box went up in February in the Bee Fishing Field.

The second box we put up near the outdoor arena on the Windhorse property. By April, bluebirds were using the second box while our first box remained empty.

The second box we put up near the outdoor arena on the Windhorse property. By April, bluebirds were using the second box while our first box remained empty.

Four bluebird eggs on May 9th in the second box.

Four bluebird eggs on May 9th in the second box.

Wrens eventually laid 6 eggs in our box at the Bee Fishing Field.

Wrens eventually laid 6 eggs in our box at the Bee Fishing Field.

May 26th, the bluebird nest was empty and two eggs with beak peck marks were strewn underneath. An avian invader likely destroyed the eggs before they could hatch.

May 26th, the bluebird nest was empty and two eggs with beak peck marks were strewn underneath. An avian invader likely destroyed the eggs before they could hatch.

On June 2nd the first wren egg hatched, and one fragile, bald nestling is visible. We observed both parents carefully attending the nest.

On June 2nd the first wren egg hatched, and one fragile, bald nestling is visible. We observed both parents carefully attending the nest.