early fledging risks?

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  • #8352
    Maybelle
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    My neighbors discovered bluebirds nesting on their property. Unfortunately since we had no idea how far along this nest might be, We opened the box and discovered 4 nestlings that looked near fledging stage and a very sad looking nest (we have been experiencing wet weather). Later I returned with some mealworms and heard a nestling outside the box. I am guessing our interference caused it to fledge early.

    The remaining nestlings fledged several days later, possibly as many as 4 days. My question is whether others have observed the outcome of fledging this far apart. I watched on the day I think the others fledged and it appeared both parents were attentive. Meanwhile I also thought I heard the early fledged young one nearby.

    Today (the day after fledging) I discovered, based on feathers near the box, that at least one did not survive. And while I hear at least one fledgling, I’m not sure if there are more. I am wondering if the later ones to fledge could end up being neglected.

    Cari
    Willamette Valley, Oregon

    #8353
    Carol – Mid-Mo.
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    Cari, unfortunately this is something that just happened – lesson learned here – if you are not sure about a nest do not open it unless you have someway to plug the hole and something like a plastic grid to put on the opening. I have done this one time I believe when I thought something had happened to the babies. Stuffed a sock in the hole itself and then had a piece of plastic grid that I put over the opening which I could see in but they could not get out.
    I imagine those feathers were of the early one which fledged too early – some predator probably got it. Sad, but these things happen. Now you just need to concentrate on the ones that fledged and the parents. The survival rate is fairly low anyway on birds which fledge – nothing we can do at this point. I don’t believe the ones which survived will be neglected by mama & papa – they usually take them away from the nesting area for 7 to 10 days, teaching them how to survive.
    Good to hear from you Cari – nice you were trying to help a neighbor – do you have boxes out?

    #8354
    Maybelle
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    Thank you, Carol. My observations have led me to believe the early fledger might be okay. With the rainy weather, I returned a few times in the days before the others fledged and heard one nearby. At one point I watched the Papa Blue fly to a small apple tree and he appeared to be picking up something from the ground and flying into the tree several times

    My question is whether anyone has observed the later fledges to be neglected in favor of the early fledge because my observations today make me uncertain there is more than one.

    Yes, I have one box near our house with 6 and there is another box at the same neighbor’s back field with 6. I suppose one reason I was not more concerned about early fledging with the “new” box is that the other two are younger.

    And you are right. I could have plugged that hole and given the nestlings time to settle since it appears the fledging probably happened after we left. Chances are that would have worked.

    Cari
    Willamette Valley, Oregon

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