We found nests! And they have eggs in them!
The first nest we found belongs to OLLA (female) and ALGE (male). Or, we assume it belongs to ALGE too, since he and OLLA are mates; only genetic testing can tell us if the eventual chicks are really his.
Their nest is in a meadow and it is extremely hard to see. I’m terrified that some vacationer will accidentally step on it.
They have three eggs and OLLA has been incubating them for at least three days. I don’t know how far along they are; they might hatch tomorrow, or not for another 10 days yet.
The second nest we found belongs to a pair of unbanded juncos. Banding them will be a high priority on our next trip. This nest also is in a meadow, although it’s a bit less well-hidden.
I believe this female is also incubating, although I’m not sure. We found this nest on our last day at this particular site so I didn’t get a chance to observe much.
Next time we visit this site, if all goes well, there will be chicks!
I didn’t know juncos nest on the ground! Does that make it easier for predators to get the chicks?
Uh oh. Thought the comment would tell my identity. Not trying to be “anonymous”! It’s Lindsay.
I was surprised too when I first learned that juncos are ground-nesters. I think it makes the nests more vulnerable than nests in holes, but then cavity-nesters have a lot of trouble finding those holes and are limited by their availability, so both strategies have disadvantages. I don’t think ground nests are much more vulnerable than the classic cup-nest-in-a-tree, since a lot of the major predators—mice, chipmunks, snakes—can all climb trees. A junco nest is a single point in a large meadow, so very hard to find. What makes me anxious for these nests is that they’re near a campground, so they’re vulnerable to humans and dogs…
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