Cavity Nesting Birds Taking Peeks For Bird Photography Weekly

by Larry Jordan on April 26, 2009

Oak Titmouse Chick all photos by Larry Jordan

The Oak Titmouses are always the first cavity nesting birds building their nests early in the spring in Northern California, around the second week of April.  They are  followed closely by Western Bluebirds and Tree Swallows.  The Ash-throated Flycatchers don’t arrive in our area until late April, when the Oak Titmouses are ready to fledge.  This arrangement works well with this particular group of cavity nesting birds as they can all use the same size birdhouse.  Just make sure you have enough nest boxes to go around!

As I reviewed my nest box monitoring records for this season I realized that I had one Oak Titmouse with chicks that should be fledging today.  When I went down to observe the nest box, the first thing I saw was a 17 day old chick peeking out the entrance hole in the image above.  Notice it still has the yellow bill.  Most chicks will show this behavior when it is time to fledge but some adult birds hang their heads out the entrance hole often while incubating or brooding.  I thought it would be fun to show you some of the adults I have captured peeking out their entrance holes.

The biggest “peeker” I have found is the Tree Swallow.  They seem to always be hanging their heads out the window.

I discovered an Acorn Woodpecker nest this spring and they can be seen often also.

And my friend, the Great Horned Owl

This Western Bluebird at my Mom’s is still in the process of laying eggs

The remaining photos are birds going in and out of their nest sites feeding their young.  The White-breasted Nuthatch, Oak Titmouse and European Starling.

This starling is carrying a fecal sac out of the nest.  This is common practice for cavity nesting birds, helping to keep the nest clean.

Go check out the other great bird photographs at Bird Photography Weekly!

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{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

Mick April 26, 2009 at 11:05 pm

Those are fantastic photos. It must be great to be able to watch all those different birds at the nest boxes.

Micks last blog post..Pelicans


Christopher April 27, 2009 at 3:56 am

Great shots – and a very cool themed BPW!


Penelope April 27, 2009 at 4:21 am

Lovely series. I especially like the owl, and acorn woodpeckers are irresistible.


bob k April 27, 2009 at 7:34 am

Outstanding presentation of the nest box/cavity nesters, Larry! Interesting that birds act the same way regardless whether the nest cavity is man-made or natural.

bob ks last blog post..Meals, Interrupted


MaineBirder April 27, 2009 at 3:26 pm

Excellent series Larry! I always love photos of nesting activity.

MaineBirders last blog post..BPW: Bald Eagle


Laisseraller April 27, 2009 at 3:37 pm

Great Article & photos! How did you get those photos, I have been unlucky get such good shots? New blog on the Hx. of the Ladybug:


Thomas April 28, 2009 at 1:29 am

What a nice way to welcome spring. The image of the Owl is my favorite in this series.

Thomass last blog post..Stripe-necked Mongoose


chris April 28, 2009 at 4:26 am

Hi Larry,
Excellent just excellent. it is so funny to see them like that, spying from their nest hole!! I got one wood nuthatch picture like that, and it was really funny to get.

chriss last blog post..Sunny day!


gwendolen April 28, 2009 at 10:18 pm

The picture of the owl is hilarious. 🙂

Very intersting series of nesting birds, Larry.

gwendolens last blog post..Bird Photography Weekly #35


Marvin April 29, 2009 at 8:17 pm

Cool shots — and you can’t beat the owl for cuteness.

Marvins last blog post..Hollow-spotted Plagodis Moth (Plagodis alcoolaria)


Ali May 2, 2009 at 7:39 am

Thank you for your nice comment, I am having fun starting out on my bird photography adventure =)

You have such beautiful photos! I love these of the cavity nesters. I hope I can get a fraction of the captures you have 😉 We mostly have starlings and house sparrows out here on our farm and I don’t get to get out much with a 15 month old. But I am working on it!

Alis last blog post..Brown Thrasher


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