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~ Nest Cam & Birding Links ~

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Home Hobbies: Bird-Watching

The Barn Owl Trust

The Scottish Wildlife Trust

The Cornell Lab of Ornithology

The Santa Cruz Predatory Bird Research Group

Caltrans Eagle Cam

National Audubon Society

American Birding Association

All About Birds (The Cornell Lab of Ornithology)

Bird Watcher's Digest

Wild Birds




Exotic Birding

Birding Africa

Birding Depot


Wild Birds Unlimited





Western bluebird image.

Baby barn owls image.

~ 2007 Western Bluebird Nesting Timeline ~

April 7 - First confirmation of Male and female sighted at and in nest box. Male observed bringing in a piece of grass (grass was repositioned, then removed). Both male and female observed separately and together in box. Male and female in and out of nest box until early evening.

April 8 - Second confirmation of male and female in nest box multiple times (separately and together). Male brought in piece of grass. No sighting of either bird after about 7pm.

April 8 through May 2 - Male and female in box periodically each day. Mostly entering in the morning, shortly after day-break, and in the early evening. Latest confirmation in box around 8pm. Mostly observed in nest box separately, though occassionally together. Male and female observed bringing in nesting material (grass & twigs). Nest build-up very slow through April 23.

May 3 through May 17 - Nest building activity increases. Male and female bring in nesting material, though most brought in by female. Daily nest building peaks in the early morning and early evening. Female gets down on her belly and (wings spread) shuffles forward to shape nest. Nest building tapers off significantly by May 17.

May 19 - Best estimate of first egg laid.

May 20 through 22 - One egg laid each day (4 eggs total).

May 22 - Best estimate of incubation start.

June 4 - Best estimate of first egg hatching (in early morning). Confirmation of second egg hatching around 7am.

June 5 - Third egg hatched in early morning. Chicks have small amounts of fuzz on body and head (above eyes). Fourth egg does not hatch.

June 22 - Confirmation of first chick leaving nest box (late afternoon). Same chick sighted in nest-box tree with female that day. No indication of first chick reentering nest box.

June 24 - Second and third chick leave nest box (7am and Noon, respectively).

June 26 (11:46am) - Male removes bad egg!!

June 26 through June 30 - Our new family of Bluebirds seen together multiple times around nest box area, feeding, etc. All birds gone by end of June!

~ Bird Facts ~

Violet-green Swallow

Tachycineta thalassina

The deep velvety violet-green in contrast with magnificent pearly white underparts, distinguish this species
of Swallow. This is truly a stunningly beautiful bird, when viewed under appropriate lighting conditions

Breeding range for this bird extends from central Alaska and western Canada, south to the mountains of
Mexico. In Sonoma County, where we live, the Violet-green Swallow has widespread breeding
records thoughout. It was the eighth most widespread breeding bird according to the Sonoma
County Breeding Bird Atlas. Unfortunately, forestry practices that eliminate standing dead trees
will limit the availability of nest sites for this species of Swallow.

The Violet-green Swallow generally nests in holes and crevices, often using previously excavated
holes made by woodpeckers in dead trees, cliff and canyon crevices, and of course, nest boxes.
Violet-greens often nest near Tree Swallows, sometimes competing for the same nest holes. They
may also occupy the same tree with bluebirds, nuthatches and wrens. They have been observed to
prefer the highest available nesting cavities. It is not as dependent on water as its near relative, the
Tree Swallow (Grinnel & Miller 1944).

Violet-green Swallows lay 4-5 eggs, sometimes 6. The eggs are oval, white, with no markings
(please see pictures on Nest-Cam Picture Gallery page). Incubation by female; 13-14days. 1 brood per year.

Data obtained from the books; Peterson's Western Birds and Western Bird's Nests Field Guide.

Western Bluebird

Sialia mexicana

Found in small groups in fields and open woods, often perched on wires or fences. Constantly give musical calls in flight. Song heard infrequently, mainly at dawn.

These birds range from British Columbia, western U.S. to the mountains of central Mexico. They feed primarily on insects of various kinds (including mealworms). They will also take suit from suit feeders on occasion.

Western Bluebirds nest in natural cavities and man-made boxes. Nest is made primarily of grasses and small twigs. Most of the nest building is done by the female. Commonly 4-6 bluish white eggs are laid per brood. Female incubates eggs for 2 weeks and wiil often lay 2 broods per nesting season. Chicks fledge about 21 days after hatching. Bluebirds generally mate the year after they hatch. Most mate for life. As with the Violet-green Swallows above, the Western Bluebird is very common in our area here in Western Sonoma County.

Data obtained from the books; The Sibley Guide to Birds, Peterson's Western Birds and Western Bird's Nests Field Guide.

Barn Owl

Tyto alba

Enjoying a worldwide habitat, Barn Owls can be found living in North and South America, Europe, Africa, India, Southeast Asia, and Australia. The Barn Owl is especially common in open farmlands and grasslands, as well as areas of mixed open woodlands, marshes, and even cities and towns. This owl is often seen (and heard - giving a very distinctive eirie hissing shriek) on the wing at night. Its broad white face and underparts give it a ghostly appearance as it patrols in search of rodents.

In a natural setting, the Barn Owl may nest in cavities such as large woodpecker holes, burrows, or caves, but may often nest or roost in barns near open farm and grasslands (hence its common name). The nest is a scrape lined with pellets and other debris. Generally 4-7 eggs are laid and incubated for 29-34 days. Young Barn Owls fledge 7-10 weeks after hatching, but will not leave the area until they are 3-5 months of age. A second clutch of eggs may be laid when the young start to leave the area. Here in Sonoma County, California, where we live, breeding has been confirmed as early as April and as late as August.

The adult Barn Owl has a length of 16", a wingspan of 42", and weighs about 1lb.

Data obtained from the books; The Sibley Guide to Birds, Sonoma County Breeding Bird Atlas, as well as the website:

Nest-Cam Pictures


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