This video shows a frantic bird battle that I observed in the Cleveland Metroparks in mid-May. I initially thought it was a trio of Eastern Bluebirds, with the male trying to court the female, while the was trying female trying to feed her young. But something looked off about the “young bluebird” sticking its head out of the nest box. So I shared the video on twitter, and some birders corrected me about what was happening. It turns out that the Eastern Bluebirds were trying to get a House Sparrow out of the nest box. House sparrows will kill other birds, including Bluebird nestlings. I did not stick around long enough to find out if the Eastern Bluebirds were successful ridding their nest of the invasive House Sparrow.
Things to notice in the video:
Both Eastern Bluebirds have bands on their legs
The wing-flashing behavior is used by Eastern Bluebirds when fighting with rivals
The male Eastern Bluebird is carrying feathers in its claws, which is usually done when courting females
I set up a Browning Trail Camera in a small pond in Cuyahoga County, Ohio. When I retrieved the camera and checked the card, I was pleased to see these videos of a male and female Wood Duck. Most of the time they were swimming back and forth in the pond. Near the end of the video, there is a clip where the female appears to have wet leaves on her back. Does anyone know whether this is an accident, or if she is carrying it on her back for a reason?
mister-toad.com is the personal website and blog of Mike Benard, a biologist who studies the ecology, evolution and conservation of amphibians and other organisms.
Mike can be contacted at: mfbenard -at- gmail . com.