For the past few days, a pair of Black-capped Chickadees have been flying in and out of a hole in a relatively small ash tree. Chickadees used this same cavity last year. This year, as I took photographs, I was pleased to note that at least one of the pair is banded--not too surprising, since the nest is within several feet of my bird net.
As I watched, the chickadees entered the hole and, within a few seconds, emerged carrying what appears to be chunks of rotten wood. The bird in this photo is splattered with tiny wood chips.
Both chickadees carried away the rotten wood as they flew from the nest. I assume this activity represents April "house" cleaning in preparation for the 2010 breeding season. I am somewhat surprised that the birds did not choose a more vertical nest entrance. Surely this upward-facing hole must get wet during storms!