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May 6, 2011

Black Phoebes Build Nest

More Nest Surveillance
This week we found another active bird nest! This nest belongs to a pair of Black Phoebes, Sayornis nigricans, and is built under the eaves of the Rose Garden maintenance shed. Once again this find is thanks to Kimball Garrett, who noticed the nest Monday morning on one of his regular Expo Park bird surveys. 
 Footage of the phoebe landing on her nest
Naughty Neighbors
This is the second nest Kimball has found in this location this year, but it is a site that has been used by phoebes in past years. Unfortunately, this year's first nest was disturbed by unknown causes, but it is possible that a squirrel is to blame. Eastern Fox Squirrels, Sciurus niger, are very common in Expo Park, and they are known nest predators. When they locate a nest they will eat any eggs or young birds they find. We'll never know for sure if a squirrel is to blame for the first nests' failure, but fortunately the phoebes persevered and built a second nest.
Eastern Fox Squirrel on top of the Butterfly Pavilion
Better Luck This Time
Until today we were not sure if the new nest contained any eggs. This morning Kimball and I went out with a mirror and now we can confirm there are four eggs!
Kimball checks out the nest
The mirror reveals four eggs in the clutch
Now that we know there are eggs, we are going to regularly monitor the nest. I'll keep you posted as the eggs are incubated, they hatch and then the immature birds develop. If we are lucky, we'll be able to document the entire process.


Posted by:Lila Higgins

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