Photos by Pete Blair
This is our 4th Report on the status of the Bird and Bat Boxes that Pete Blair and I have been monitoring at Kings Links Golf Course over the past few years. On Friday, July 25 and Sunday, July 27, Pete and I inspected all 24 nest boxes and the two bat roosting boxes (located in the tree near the dike path in the environmentally-sensitive area of hole number 5). So far, we have had a very successful season of nesting Tree Swallows and Black-capped Chickadees (14 of 24). See Statistical Report and six photos of nests attached. Note that this report differs from previous reports as the sorting is by Nest Successes, first of Chickadees then Tree Swallows. I have asked Andrew to post this report along with the previous three on our TMGC Blog in the Members Lounge section.
When we started on Friday, we were a bit “dishevelled” as Superintendent Mike Keiner accompanied us to the first two boxes near the driving range, and they were both “empty”. But as Pete and I continued our inspections of the boxes which are mainly located along the perimeter of the course, most had nesting material and “smelly” evidence of successful broods of young. Tree Swallows leave feces in their nest, and it’s rancid.
Chickadees use mostly moss for their nests and they are “neat & tidy” nesters.
As you will see in the report, several nests contained an unhatched egg. A couple contained baby corpses.
This does not mean unsuccessful; other eggs probably hatched and young survived to fledge. Another nest had live young, probably a second clutch (No. 8 along 5th fairway), with Mom & Dad flying around us in dismay. We saw lots of young Tree Swallows flying awkwardly around the course, hawking insects. Interestingly there were lots of Barn Swallows there too. Our examination of the Bat Boxes, from the ground below, showed no activity. The boxes looked empty and there was no evidence of guano around.
Our bird boxes are made from various wood materials, the holes are round, oval or triangular, the box holes face different directions. So far, in our limited survey, none of these factors seem to play a role in box success or not. We noticed Wasp nests in a number of unsuccessful boxes; it appears that birds are discouraged from nesting in boxes occupied by wasps. Some “later installed” boxes were less utilized.
We will continue to monitor the boxes and determine whether to relocate some or install alternate boxes. Anyhow, Pete and I are really enjoying this exercise. And we’re trying to help create a golf environment where these birds eat the mosquitoes before they eat us. I had a super time playing on Sunday afternoon with my kids, on a hot, no wind afternoon, and a lot of mosquitoes lunched successfully. Cheers: Tom
Tom Bearss, TMGC Executive and President, Delta Naturalists’ Society