State Game Land #252, often called “The Ordinance" (the subject of a future post) has an interesting and complicated history and is a wildlife hotspot. A variety of habitats: wetlands, cultivated fields, reverting fields, young forests and mature forests within its 3,000 acres assure a comparable variety of wildlife. It’s a place I’ve been visiting since 1973 to view and photograph birds, mammals, trees and wildflowers.
Several weeks ago as I was walking one of the many old roads on SGL 252 an eastern phoebe caught my attention and became the subject of several photos. At first it appeared that the bird had caught a large insect, but in actuality it was carrying nesting material.
Phoebes are well known for their tendency to nest on the I-beams beneath bridges and the beams supporting the roofs of porches on houses and cabins. Traditionally phoebes nested on rock ledges and outcrops along streams, but they readily adopted man-made structures.
This phoebe with its nesting material was nowhere near a rock ledge nor a bridge nor a structure. Other than a small wetland, the old road, a wooded fencerow and an old field there was nothing nearby except one of the gates closing SGL 252’s old roads to unauthorized motor vehicles. Suddenly the bird flew down to the “lock box” on the gate and paused on the edge –
Inside, behind the lock, was the nest the bird was building –
Although the gate is seldom used, a lot of human visitors to SGL 252 walk past. Here’s hoping the birds can raise a brood.