Bluebird aggression toward people?

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  • #4015
    Mark S
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    Hi, My name is Mark and I am new to this forum. I live in the Piedmont Triad area of central NC.

    Several years ago my wife and I noticed some bluebirds stopping by our very small backyard. Though I had always heard that the ideal place for a bluebird box is on a fence post on the edge of an open field, and even though there is not an open meadow or field anywhere near our suburban townhome community, we installed a bluebird box, not really expecting any bluebirds to take up residence.

    Low and behold, that spring and summer we were rewarded with a pair of bluebirds that produced two clutches of babies. Last year we enjoyed three clutches.

    Once again the bluebird parents are busy bringing insects to feed the babies, but we are noticing some aggressive behavior that we have not seen before–aggression toward us!

    We had previously noticed that when we were working around in the yard, the bluebirds would watch us until we were out of the way and they could go to the nest box. But this season, the male bluebird has been acting much more agitated when we are out in the yard anywhere near the nest box. He will fly up, hover, and then swoop toward us, all the while making a rapid clicking sound (like he is rapidly opening and shutting his beak). Over the weekend, at one point, he actually dive-bombed me and brushed against the top of my head.

    Has anyone else noticed territorial/aggressive bluebird behavior toward people?

    #4024
    Carol – Mid-Mo.
    Participant
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    Hi, Mark, and welcome! I have not witnessed this sort of aggressive behavior towards humans, but I imaging all are different temperament. I do have an idea and suggestion, however. A wooden post is really not a safe place to put a box, due to predators (snakes, coons, cats, etc) being able to climb it. It is best to have a slick pole with a baffle underneath the box to control these climbing predators. My thought is that your pair either saw a snake or other predator and therefore, is more cautious about their nest. But that is just an idea. We might get by for some time with a wooden post, but this is just sadness waiting to happen. Maybe those babies are getting ready to fledge? Do you monitor the box, in other words, check it to see if there might be wasps inside, dead birds, ants, etc. Do you know a date when they were born, etc. When we invite these precious birds into our yard, we are really playing with nature, and therefore need to protect them as best we can. A yard box stands out like a sore thumb more than a hole in a tree and therefore is probably more susceptible to predators. We shouldn’t over-manage them, but just use tried and tested predator controls. Check out http://www.sialis.org and a wealth of information. The author is on board of Directors of the North American Bluebird Society and has an enormous amount of info there. Good luck.

    #4029
    Mark S
    Participant
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    Hi, Carol,
    Thank you for your response and helpful suggestions. We do not have our nest box on a wooden post. It seems to be unusual behavior inasmuch as we never saw this kind of behavior in previous seasons. Regards.

    #4036
    dogsandbirds
    Moderator
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    Mark, good for your bird! He’s an excellent protector. I wish more of them were like him.

    Please get that box on a slick metal pole with a raccoon baffle. They will be safer.

    Gin
    Atlanta, GA

    #4058
    tamsea
    Moderator
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    Do you monitor it Mark? Because if you don’t you’ll be so thrilled if you start doing it and it’s wise to monitor. You may want to be careful though right now if you have no idea how old the babies are. They do get extra agitated when their babies are about ready to fledge. And most bluebirds are not like this but there’s been several people on here who have had aggressive bluebirds.

    Tammy

    #4063
    Mark S
    Participant
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    Tammy, we do check the nest periodically. It does make sense that the birds would be more agitated when the babies are ready to fledge. That does not account for the aggressive behavior we’ve observed, though, since the male bluebird started acting more aggressive even before the eggs hatched. It is good to know that others have reported similar behavior on this forum. Thanks.

    #4147
    Lisa
    Participant
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    My male is like this and I am so glad because we have plenty of predators here. They swoop really close but have never actually made contact with my head.

    #4251
    Love my blues!
    Participant
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    Hi Mark-

    Welcome! My bluebird parents have always been comfortable with me checking the box until the babies are born. The male especially dive bombs me when I open the box to check on the babies. Crazy me wears my bike helmet in that case. Plus, predators got two on the first brood, so now, they are even more protective. I think it just varies with parents’ dispositions & if they’ve been threatened by predators. When that happens, I’m sure they feel that they can’t trust anyone or anything. I still monitor- just with my helmet on.

    Nicole :BagOverHead:

    #4277
    Lisa
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    Nicole, I was going to mention you and your helmet but didn’t want to without your permission. I am so grateful my dad blue is aggressive. They love to bomb me but never made contact. It reassures me that the babies are OK after I can’t monitor…

    #4285
    Love my blues!
    Participant
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    It’s ok, Lisa. Just call me the crazy bird lady. LOL.

    Nicole

    #4307
    Lisa
    Participant
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    Mine are out safely!!! Yay!!!!

    #4309
    Mark S
    Participant
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    I can appreciate the use of the bicycle helmet. The babies are gone now but for a couple of weeks the male would dive-bomb anything that moved anywhere near the nest box, including our neighbor and our dog. Our golden-doodle was nervous about going in the back yard and would come running back in with blue boy swooping over her head.

    • This reply was modified 4 years, 2 months ago by Mark S.
    #4316
    Love my blues!
    Participant
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    I’ve never had problems with them dive bombing my dog until this year. Made me so nervous because my dog is blind. Needless to say, he won’t be going potty around there during nesting season anymore (unless I can get him a helmet too). LOL

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