Prothonotary Warbler Project – Continued — 14 Comments

  1. Was looking for fig recipe and strayed to prothonotary warblers. Wonderful site. We had pw nesting in the shop for three years. Recently I saw one where driveway intersects a road in lower limbs of a pine tree.
    Do you have plans for building PW boxes?

    • Hi Beth and welcome! So glad you hung around and hope you found a suitable fig recipe. I can ask Natalie if she can share those plans with my readers. If she has an e-version of the plans and gives permission, I’ll either post them at the end of the piece or email them directly to you! Thanks again!

    • Yes, they are beautiful, and aren’t their little faces just so cute?

      I can tell you one cause, because I talk about it on my tours. The short answer is wetland loss, but let me explain. Our migratory birds that come through the Miss. flyway, come from places far south of here, including places as far south as South America. When they leave those places to fly north for the spring and summer, they must cross the Gulf of Mexico. Well, there are no little “Birdie Rest Stops” in the Gulf (unless they land on a boat or an oil rig to rest, which has happened, by the way), so they are totally exhausted by the time they reach our shores. Well, as our coastline erodes, moving further inland, every year the birds have farther and farther to fly to reach land. This is called a “fall out”, when the tired, hungry, thirsty birds literally fall out of the sky to the ground. You can pick them up in your hand, they are so exhausted. Every year, fewer and fewer birds finish that journey alive, thereby reducing the numbers. I’m sure there are other scientific and biologic reasons, but wetland loss is the burr under my saddle, as you well know. So, for those birds that make it, the least we can do is provide them a ready-made home in which to grow new families! So glad you enjoyed the update, Cam!

  2. A great post, with delightful photos and good information. How long does it take to learn to handle birds that way without harming them? Are there courses taught, or is it an apprenticeship thing — or a combination of both (which is what I suspect). I’d be terrified of hurting the birds, although it clearly can be done without even any disturbance, let alone damage!

    • I’m not sure about her training, other than she is a biologist and is the bird conservationist at BTNEP. I don’t handle the birds, since I’m not in the least trained! She’s so gentle with them, and they just stay put while she assesses them. They don’t typically fret or struggle at all!

      • My mom raised parakeets when I was about 6 yr old. I remember how she would hold them as she put the bands on them. She was so gentle with them too and would spread and check their wings and feathers for pests. They had a large bird house in our back yard that was probably 12′ tall and about 10′ x 10′ square. The back was wooden the rest was a screen type wire. She had tree branches in it with nests and swings. Their feed bowls were nailed onto the back wall or frame parts in different areas along with water. I do remember old soda bottles upside down in trays in the cages. They were so pretty and all different colors. I think places like Woolsworth and feed stores bought them from her. She would save and bring 2 pairs into the house in the winter to restart her stock each year as the rest were sold during the summer.

  3. Their little faces are so cute! I didn’t realize their legs are thinner as they grow but it makes sense. Thanks for sharing knowledge, great pictures and your experience.

    • I was intrigued by that information, also. I asked about it, and as you say, it makes sense. Of course they wouldn’t apply a band that would restrict the leg as the chick grows, like putting a band around a tree trunk! That was my first thought!

  4. Glad to hear the project is going well. You have been very informative to your readers.
    Very interesting.

    • Looks like we wrap it up next week with the “winterizing” of the boxes! It’s been fun, educational, sweaty, and tiring!

    • Yes, Choup. I watched both mom and dad bring a variety of little green worms (inch worms?), some kind of insect with green wings. If you enlarge those last three photos, you might be able to decipher what the parents have in their mouths!!! Whatever they’re catching, it only takes them a couple minutes to leave the box, catch something, and fly right back to feed the chicks!

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