This week’s nest box recap, and events

It looks like Tracy Aviary and Friends of Alta’s nest box monitoring will keep to snowshoes and skis for a while longer. While it rains in the valley, Alta has been getting continuously snowed on. Still, monitoring was done for some of the owl boxes and songbird boxes that are spread out around the Alta area. And, it was the first songbird box check of the season. Songbird boxes will be checked up on once a week from here out.

While there is still no confirmed activity in any of the boxes, Box T, around the Wildcat ski area, has some signs of nest material that could be from Mountain Bluebirds. This would be new for the Alta nest box study – only Chickadees and House Wrens have nested in the songbird boxes so far.

Mountain Bluebirds build their nests with dry grass and other vegetation. While the males scout out possible nest spaces, females choose the spot. Similarly, in nest construction, female mountain bluebirds build an insulated nest by filling the nest space with vegetation and making a small cup for her eggs while males perform a symbolic nest building. Actually carrying nothing, male Mountain Bluebirds mime the act of bringing nest material back home.

Also unconfirmed, two boxes checked on skis near Glory Hole show signs of nesting. All other boxes (including owl boxes) were empty.

Besides the nest box study, here’s what’s going on:

  • For the UDOT Little Cottonwood Canyon Environmental Impact Statement, a comment period is open until June 14. Comment can be made here.The Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) addresses the “immediate challenges and inefficiencies of trailhead parking and avalanche mitigation in Little Cottonwood Canyon and traffic congestion on Wasatch Boulevard.”
  • In relation to this issue, Friends of Alta is advocating for a capacity study for Little Cottonwood Canyon, which would measure the amount of acceptable human activity for the area. It is unknown how much unrestricted human activity would change the watershed, and a capacity study would provide the information needed to properly protect the watershed before any damage has been done.