Nest Extravaganza

I got my National Geographic in the mail today. It's getting to be less and less the cool magazine about faraway places, cultures and animals and more like People Magazine with each issue. It claims to have an article about the face of King Tut, but the king bears a striking resemblance to a bald Barbara Streisand. What happened?

A couple of weeks ago Denny found a teal nest near one of our swallow houses behind the bird store. I went out and found it right away but have been unable to relocate it ever since. Since raccoons will sometimes follow trails with a human scent because we often lead to food for them, I feared that a raccoon inspecting our swallow trail had found the teal nest and eaten the eggs. However, today while dodging swallows I flushed the female and about gave myself a heart attack.

Can you find the blue-winged teal nest in this photo? It's right there, right in front of you. Here's a better view:

Now can you see it? I placed a thin stick near the nest to make it easier to find. On the off chance you can't, look at the dark upright stick in the center of the photo and look a little to the right, see the eggs? If you still can't see the eggs then this blue-winged teal hen has done her job well and below is a view of the nest.

This busy little hen has 12 eggs. I'm still surprised with how close this is to one of our swallow nest boxes, especially since we check the swallow boxes so often. This is what Amber and I call a well informed decision, she knew we came to the boxes a few times a week. Plus, you can't flush her until you're about to step on her, so she must be well used to us. Last year, the teal hen that had a nest behind the store would flush if you were twenty feet away. This one is much more sensible...or foolhardy.

Meanwhile the tree swallows have eggs in all four of our bluebird boxes. I just realized that our wood duck box had hooded mergansers in it and our bluebird boxes are full of swallows. Don't birds read the labels anymore?

One of the tree swallows tried to poke my eye!