Sunday, May 8, 2011
Corpse in the nest box
Neighbor Richard's titmice are nesting again and he and his Mrs have been viewing the family life daily on their TV monitor. (They're using the same Harbor Freight set up I was using for the screech owl).
I've been remiss in maintaining my own titmouse box.
It's been hanging by a thread of weathered bungie cord since last fall, swaying in the breeze.
Believing it was unsuitable and abandoned, I took it down for repair on May Day.
Pried it open in the garage, and to my surprise found 6 warm eggs.
I got another surprise when I put my glasses on.
The mound of fluff next to the entrance was a mummified titmouse.
Makes you wonder.
Did it die last winter or early this year?
Did the surviving member of the pair take another mate? Or are they a new couple?
The only thing we know for sure is that a dead conspecific didn't deter the new pair from getting on with nesting.
I repaired the box (without the use of hammer), and as the resident pair chirped nearby I secrured it to the live oak in the potting shed.
[May 4 update -- all is well -- the titmice are brooding.]