Well, two, actually. Plus one egg on the right, and minus one egg that was tossed out by the parents the other day. A small brood, then, with tiny little peeps and a very protective mother bird.
On the left is a bird nest box that was occasionally used, but rarely occupied (and generally looking the same). On the right is the same nest box the next day, occupied by a pair of European Starlings. We’ve heard that Starlings can build nests in as little as three days; always cool to see it first hand.
We’ve been trying to be scientific regarding the collection of data this year around. Certainly, more data points will be gathered next year, but for now, it’s enough to record:
- Number of eggs visible in nest
- Whether the nest was occupied by a bird prior to the day’s count
- Whether a European Starling “Alert” sound (single, sharp chirp at short 3-5 second intervals) is given in response to our presence.
Part of the goal is to gauge when incubation starts. There’s a lot of conflicting information out there regarding this, without any references to data sources. Call us amateur statisticians with a thing for birds!
Additional data points
To be considered for future recordings:
- If the nest is occupied by one, or two birds prior to inspection.
- If an egg is found broken and discarded outside of the nest.
- Approximate percentage of nest material (to gauge nest building and deconstruction).
- If building materials include any greenery or berries (often used to decorate and attract).
- How many hatched baby birds there are (to gauge any deaths, forbid).
- The actual damn number of the nest, written in permanent marker on the inside of the nest box, so that we’re not overwhelmed looking at pictures wondering, “which nest was this one?”
“Bucket list” bonus goal:
- Post a picture of our faces and put it inside of one of the nests (on the side) so that, perhaps, the birds will also recognize us to some degree. Foolish fantasy, we say, but perhaps someday…