[Tweeters] birdwatering

Gary Bletsch garybletsch at yahoo.com
Wed Jun 30 16:39:40 PDT 2021

Dear Tweeters,
Thanks to Stan Kostka for the cool (no pun intended) post about watering down nest boxes during a heat wave.
I did something similar at my place, but I wish I had been as thorough as Stan. A parent Cedar Waxwing had been sitting on the nest with mouth agape for a few hours, so I made sure to spray the crown of the little maple tree where that nest is. She (?) did not seem to mind the spraying activity, although there is something baleful in the stare of a Cedar Waxwing at close range. After the two worst days of the heat wave, Sunday and Monday, she stopped gaping, so I think that danger is passed. The eggs must be about ready to hatch.
Unfortunately, I did not think to hose down the Violet-green Swallow nest box, which is closer to my hydrant than is the Cedar Waxwing nest. I had noticed a nestling swallow poking its head out on Monday, so I had figured that all was well. Alas, on Tuesday morning, that nestling, or one of its siblings, was already dead, lying on the ground below the nest.
Two pairs of Tree Swallows, one pair of Barn Swallows, and one pair of Black-capped Chickadees had already fledged young at my place, before the heat wave struck. Meanwhile, the good news is that at least one nestling is still alive in the nest box where the one young Violet-green Swallow perished. Another pair of Violet-greens is nesting in a different box, which also faces south, and I think that those young birds are also still alive. 
Most years, I worry about young swallows perishing in cool, rainy weather. One spring, an adult Tree Swallow froze to death in a nest box at my place, when we had a late snowfall. At the time, that chilly weather was not making me particularly happy, but on the whole I think I'd prefer a late cold snap to another heat wave like the one we just experienced. If we do get another one during nesting season, I will be sure to spray down any occupied nest boxes.
Yours truly,
Gary Bletsch
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