What’s in those boxes?
Late summer – early fall is a great time to check-in on our bird boxes. In the spring/ summer, birds use these boxes as safe places to build their nests and raise their young, since they are protected from the elements and predators. We do our best to keep our distance during this time. As the weather gets cooler and the leaves start turning colors, birds start to look for a cozy, warm place to stay out the cold winter air. We are now in that in-between time, when we can get closer to the boxes to make any repairs without there being any active nests or birds resting inside the box to worry about disturbing.
During September we will walk the property, including the nature trails, to check on the condition of our bird boxes. If need be, the boxes will be taken down and repaired. We will also evaluate the location of the bird boxes to determine the best methods to try to prevent predators from accessing the boxes. Depending on how and where the boxes are placed, we can enlist the most suitable predator guards, such as baffles, which have been shown to prevent climbing animals from accessing nests. Tree climbing predators located in our area can range from mice to squirrels and raccoons, to cats and even chipmunks, as well as snakes.
We also have bat boxes on property. Bats are amazing little creatures that can be found all over the world. There are over a dozen types of bats living in Virginia. Since these flying mammals spend more than half of their lives in roosts, where they rest and raise their pups, it is important to supplement the availability of roosts. Many bats have adapted to structures such as bridges, barn eaves, and bat boxes. These boxes are darker in color and have a different opening than bird boxes. They are also hung much higher with optimal height between 15 to 20 feet above ground, so bats can swoop in from above. It I hard to believe that a bat box the size of two stacked large pizza boxes can hold 35-40 bats!
If you are interested in helping with locating and checking the condition of our bird boxes, please contact the IWL-Alexandria Chapter Conservation chair Erika Wettergreen.
Save Our Streams:
Virginia Save Our Streams is a program of the Izaak Walton League of America.
Founded in 1922, the Izaak Walton League is one of the nation’s oldest and most respected conservation organizations. Virginians have the right to know whether our streams are safe for swimming, fishing, playing, and drinking. Virginia Save Our Streams monitors water quality of Virginia’s streams and educates the public about the importance of clean water. We are still looking for the macroinvertebrate equipment.
An option for the macroinvertebrate equipment would be to make our own. The instructions are http://dep.wv.gov/WWE/getinvolved/sos/Documents/SOSKit/HomemadeEquipment.pdf. simple and easy to follow. One of the Committee members
has a source for a few more pieces of PVC. Look and see if you can help.
The chapter seeks volunteers to help start a stream-monitoring program for five areas around the property. If interested contact Eric Brown or Erika Wettergreen on how you can help.