Placement of nest boxes for small songbirds along the Putah Creek corridor has had a history of success. Birds fledge young from them in large numbers, year after year (see this column, February 2017). A recent string of boxes in the heart of Davis has been likewise well received by birds (this column, September 2019). Last year its twenty-two nest boxes fledged eighty-five tree swallows and western bluebirds. These successes have prompted Yolo Audubon to do more.
We have skilled nest box makers (Ron Ringen and Joe Zinkl), a cadre of volunteer installers, and an experienced advisor (Melanie Truan). They have been busy already this year, putting up boxes in time for use this spring. Boxes have been installed at two publicly accessible sites, West Davis pond and North Davis Channel, and at a third site, Woodland Regional Park (this column, March 2019), which will soon open to the public.
At West Pond, seven boxes have been hung from tree branches on heavy wires, adding to the eleven put up in prior years. They are visible from the trail along the east side of the pond. The bird-friendly place also has homes for screech-owls and wood ducks. The driving forces behind the effort, JoEllen Ryan and Gene Trapp, intend to monitor the use of the songbird boxes this year.
The North Davis Channel, a twenty-acre City-owned strip of land at the north edge of town, got eleven new boxes. Though four boxes are on private property, three of those are easily visible from the trail along the ditch. These nest boxes are mounted on metal poles, with inverted plastic flower pots fastened to the poles to discourage predators from climbing them. Yolo Audubon members intend to watch and report on bird use of the new dwellings. The boxes bolster recent citizen efforts to enhance the habitat value of the area by planting native vegetation.
At Woodland Regional Park, YAS and friends installed thirteen nest boxes on poles, in the same style as at North Davis Channel. Three more will go up after some native planting is complete. The nest boxes add to recent major landscape improvements that will make the City-owned property a magnet for the study and enjoyment of nature and wildlife.
Michael Perrone, YAS Conservation Chair