Sunday, May 26, 2019
[Shirley Devan here as guest blogger to let you know what's going on at several sites where CVWO volunteers are monitoring Prothonotary Warblers.]
|Male Prothonotary Warbler on railing at Powhatan|
Creek Trail in Williamsburg, VA. Photo by Judy Jones.
In Chesapeake, VA on the Northwest River (near Northwest River Park), volunteers monitor 87 nest boxes where Prothonotary Warblers (PROW) have nested in man-made boxes since 2009. Eighty-three of the 87 boxes have hosted some sort of PROW activity so far – from “a sprig of moss” (installed by the male to attract a female) to fledged nestlings. And over 105 nestlings have successfully fledged as of May 21. June and July will find the warblers busy with second clutches.
|Prothonotary Warbler nest with 6 eggs|
at Northwest River. Photo by Shirley Devan
|Prothonotary Warbler nestlings only about 2 days old. Photo by Shirley Devan|
|Well-fed Prothonotary Warbler nestlings. Photo by Judy Jones|
In Williamsburg, VA, three locations host a total of 24 boxes.
- Chickahominy Riverfront Park has 12 nest boxes most of which are on Gordon Creek. Many can be seen from the shore line and camp sites. These boxes were installed in 2017. In this third year, the Prothonotary Warblers have occupied 8 boxes so far and Carolina Chickadees nested in 3 boxes. As of May 20, there are 23 eggs and nestlings in boxes at this park.
- At Powhatan Creek Trail, seven PROW boxes have been in place since 2015. This year was just like previous years – Carolina Chickadees nested in 6 boxes before the PROWs returned from their winter home in Central America. As of May 20, the chickadees are finished with their first and only clutch, boxes have been cleaned out, and PROWs have taken occupancy in 3 boxes with 8 eggs.
- A new trail of 5 PROW nest boxes has been created along the Nature Trail at Fords Colony, a residential community. This trail is sponsored by the WINGS bird club at Fords Colony, and residents monitor the trail weekly. As with most new trails, it takes a year or so for the PROWs to find the boxes. Volunteers hear the PROWs singing each time they check the boxes and one box has the beginnings of a nest. So far, only Carolina Chickadees have taken up residence.
|Almost ready to fledge! Nestling responds to nearby adults |
who promise tantalizing food. Photo by Judy Jones.
|Just-fledged nestling SWIMS the short distance to a cypress|
knee where parents are waiting. Photo by Judy Jones.
PROWs like cavities – natural and man-made – near swamps, rivers, and bottomland forests. PROW is the only warbler east of the Mississippi River that nests in cavities. Hence it is an easy bird to study because biologists can closely study and monitor adults and nestlings.
You can read much more about Prothonotary Warblers and see many photos and hear their "sweet sweet sweet" song at Cornell Lab of Ornithology's web site, All About Birds.