I'm monitoring 4 nestboxs near my house this year, and 3 are already in use by Black-capped Chickadees. Of course I'm participating in the Cornell Lab of Ornithology's NestWatch Citizen Science project, where I look into the nestbox every 3-4 days, record what I see, and then report in at the end of the nesting attempt.
My expectations are high - last year, we had 4 successful fledgings, adding 26 beautiful little chickadees to the wild. As you might expect, we were elated!! I know that will be hard to match this year, but we're off to a good start.
The first nestbox with eggs was, interestingly, the one that didn't have any eggs last year...go figure! Egg-laying occurred from May 8 to 13, with mom starting to incubate 6 eggs on May 13. That means hatching will occur somewhere around May 24-26.
The other two boxes had only partial nests in them at my May 16th nest check. The back box had moss on top of chips on May 13th and on May 16th, had soft nesting material topping it off. The front nest also had an almost complete nest.
When I went on vacation for a week I had hopes/expectations that there'd be eggs in the nests when I returned. And my chickadees did not disappoint!
When I checked inside on May 23rd, the box out in front (that had two fledgings last year) had 6 eggs in it, and the nestbox in the back had 5 eggs in it. I'm not sure exactly when the first and last eggs were layed, but knowing eggs are incubated about 12 days, they should hatch sometime the first week in June.
My 4th nestbox is empty, but I still have 17 chickadees eggs in the nestboxes in my yard. And by my next report, some may have already hatched, so stay tuned!