Bad year for the birds at my place

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  • #2456
    The Original Bluebird Nut
    Admi-nut-strator
    • Topics started 23
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    • Total Posts 148

    This has been the worst year we’ve had in ages! Four nestboxes – two on the north border of our property, two on the south. In April, the Blues and the ‘dees were competing for one of the boxes, the TRES were interested in two of the other ones, and the Blues and HOSP were squabbling over the fourth. Much trapping later, the ‘dees had won one of the north boxes, so I put a hole reducer on it to keep the Blues from bugging them. The TRES appeared to be settling into two of the other boxes – one on the north, one on the south. I had hoped that with the trapping, the Blues would take the fourth box, the second one on the south side.

    The ‘dees laid eggs in Box #1 on the north, the TRES laid eggs in Box #2 on the north and Box #2 on the south. The HOSP were so ferocious that I guess the Blues abandoned the idea of nesting in our yard, even though I was trapping like a mad woman. I removed numerous HOSP nests and nest starts from Box #1 on the south to no avail. Then I thought I saw a HOWR near the ‘dees box, so I put on a hole reducer. Nesting seemed to be going well on the north side, and in the TRES box on the south side, however.

    We went away for a couple of days around Memorial Day. When we returned and I checked the boxes again, the TRES eggs in the south box had hatched. But the ‘dee eggs and the TRES eggs on the north side were just GONE! No signs of violence, no nest disturbance, just finished, intact nests with no eggs in ’em.

    Meanwhile, the robins had built a nest on the right side of the A/C unit in the south window of the garage, laid three eggs, then mysteriously abandoned them, built another nest on the left side and laid four more eggs. Those hatched, and the babies fledged successfully (if awkwardly) about a week ago. The ‘dees kept coming to the seed feeder, but no signs of re-using the nestbox.

    Sunday I decided to check on the progress in the South TRES box, and found the babies…all dead! No sign of trauma, no bloating, nest undisturbed, and an adult perched on the wire overhead. They had evidently been dead a couple of days, because they smelled really bad.

    Two days ago, I looked out my dining room window and there, perched on the handle of the lawn mower, was a HOWR, staring back at me! Argggghhhhhhh! I told my DH that I was tempted to just plug up the holes on ALL the boxes for the rest of this year! He said, “No, because maybe the Blues will come back for a second nesting.” I doubted it. But yesterday I went out to check on the boxes. No sign of HOWR activity in either north box, but when I was going toward the box that the TRES had been in, the one where the eggs had disappeared, I heard and saw daddy Blue! I took the undisturbed ‘dee nest out of the box, and left the hole reducer on, hoping the Blues will take North box #2. But South box #1 was filled with HOWR sticks! I removed them.

    I am at my wit’s end with the bird antics this year. I need a full-time bird police officer to help me! :ShakeHeadSadly: :BonkOwnHead:


    Central NY
    TMB Studios

    #2457
    David in Stafford,VADavid in Stafford,VA
    Participant
    • Topics started 56
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    • Total Posts 661

    Cher, sorry to hear the bad news. Life is tough “raising” these little birds since we cannot intervene much to help them. I have had the same experience, to a lesser extent (2 boxes vs. 4) but the effect was the same. I did remove both boxes after the second nest robbery, cleaned them and put them away. I did but the house that is now up back at the onset of winter. My blues use it over the winter as a roosting spot.
    Stick with it and watch out for that wren. They can be mean.

    David

    David
    Stafford, VA

    #2459
    Carol – Mid-Mo.
    Participant
    • Topics started 107
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    • Total Posts 1151

    Sorry, Cher, you have definitely had a bad year – those “missing” eggs are a real brain-teaser. I’m sure you had baffles on those boxes (snake)? My year started off to a bad, with the blues being VERY late building 1st nest, laying 5 eggs, and then something happening to mama about 2-3 days into incubation & she was gone. The 2nd nest (new mama) fledged all 5 about 2 weeks ago, and they have all returned to eat me out of house & home (worms). They have new nest but no eggs yet. Hang in there, Cher – we need everyone’s help (even though it sometimes drives us crazy).

    #2461
    Love my blues!
    Participant
    • Topics started 9
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    • Total Posts 226

    So sorry, Cher! I was afraid since we had not heard from you since your last report. You & Evie have had a tough season! I hope those blues will settle in with you before too long.

    Nicole

    #2476
    The Original Bluebird Nut
    Admi-nut-strator
    • Topics started 23
    • Replies 125
    • Total Posts 148

    Well, at least there’s been no new sticks, and I’ve stopped hearing the HOWR singing out back. No signs of the Blues building yet, either – or any other bird for that matter, except the robin – she flew out of the bush next to the house near where she built her first nest, so I suspect she’s going to build again. On the plus side we have chippies and bunnies to keep us amused. I did wonder about the chippie and the missing eggs…there’s stovepipe baffles on both boxes, but I suppose…


    Central NY
    TMB Studios

    #2479
    Skyonitsback
    Participant
    • Topics started 0
    • Replies 3
    • Total Posts 3

    I had the same thing happen this year and last, found all the swallow chicks dead in the nest with no sign of trauma. ???

    #2480
    Carol – Mid-Mo.
    Participant
    • Topics started 107
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    Yeah, what is with those swallows? Last year (my 3rd year with them) all 6 hatched and about 3 days before fledging I found them all dead – no signs of trauma. But when I cleaned out box it was just FULL of mites, which proceeded to get all over us when we were cleaning. UGH! I’m assuming this was the problem since they all died at same time – but it could have been extreme heat, also. I did have heat shield on the box, but it was a Gilwood box, which I really believe to be too small for 6 babies!!

    #2493
    dogsandbirds
    Moderator
    • Topics started 5
    • Replies 655
    • Total Posts 660

    I did wonder about the chippie and the missing eggs…there’s stovepipe baffles on both boxes, but I suppose…

    I don’t think a chippie could defeat a stovepipe. They don’t climb all that well.

    Gin
    Atlanta, GA

    #2503
    The Original Bluebird Nut
    Admi-nut-strator
    • Topics started 23
    • Replies 125
    • Total Posts 148

    I don’t think a chippie could defeat a stovepipe. They don’t climb all that well.

    I wouldn’t have thought so either, Gin, until I saw the little stinker climbing up my shepherd’s hook to access my seed feeder!
    :wow:


    Central NY
    TMB Studios

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