This year marked the second year of the Capital City Bird Sanctuary nest box trail and the inaugural year for nest boxes at Baker Sanctuary. This is the 4th year of nest box monitoring for Haehnle Sanctuary. Overall, nest success was slightly higher at Baker Sanctuary (site average of 69%) than at Capital City (site average of 61%), but Capital City was much improved from 2015 (site average 47%). Haehnle boxes had a rough year and suffered from vandalism, house sparrows, and a high mortality rate of tree swallow chicks for reasons unknown. The site-wide improvement at Capital City was likely influenced by the addition of predator guards on nearly all boxes, but was largely driven by a huge increase in nesting success of house wrens. Plans for next year include the installation of predator guards on all boxes at Capital City and potential installation of purple martin houses at each site. New nest boxes will be installed at Haehnle to replace those damaged by vandals. Removal of invasive species to protect native birds will continue at all sanctuaries.
Volunteers are responsible for nearly all nest box monitoring. This year, 5 monitors volunteered to check boxes once every 3-4 days from April 18 through August 12, when the last clutch fledged. These volunteers donated roughly 200 hours towards monitoring and managing boxes at these three sanctuaries. All data was entered into Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s NestWatch program and contributed towards continent-wide research. A huge thank you to all of our dedicated nest box monitors!
If you are interested in supporting the nest box trails on our sanctuaries, through donations of time or supplies, please contact Rachelle at RRoake@michiganaudubon.org. To learn more about finding the right box for your yard or how to safely monitor your nest box, visit www.nestwatch.org.
To download the full 2016 Nest Watch Report for the Capital City and Baker Sanctuaries, click here.