Help – Need Info – may have dead BB in box from heat

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  • This topic has 15 replies, 7 voices, and was last updated 4 years ago by Lisa.
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  • #5760
    Carol – Mid-Mo.
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    Well, I have been worried about this excessive heat with 4 babies in a Gilwood box. I do have heat shield on it and in fact, put on extra layer on the top of box with large overhangs. The parents have been feeding them, but I did notice something different yesterday – papa seemed to be sitting on my clothesline by the box a lot more, looking at the box. I just checked inside this morning and 3 of them are alive, but not sure about one. I gently touched them with a very small drawing brush and they all moved except this one. If, in fact, it is dead what do I need to do – could parents remove it, as they are now 11 days old. I will check again tomorrow, which would be the last day I could check them. Could the corpse cause such a stench that the others could die? It is supposed to be somewhat cooler, just in the lower 90’s instead almost 100, for several days.

    #5761
    nhhawk6nhhawk6
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    I have never dealt with your situation, Carol, but in my humble opinion, there is no downside to finding out for certain whether the 4th nestling is dead, or not. If he/she has expired, then there is no downside to removing the dead baby. 11 day old nestlings would seem far too large for the parents to remove them from the box, hence papa is sitting on the clothesline at a loss for what to do. I have a pair of 9-day-old nestlings in my box, and there is no way my parents could remove one of them, at this point. Too big. I hope all of yours are still fighting!

    Randy
    Bedford, New Hampshire

    #5763
    Carol – Mid-Mo.
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    Randy, that makes perfect “common sense”. I will ponder & try to find something along this line on Sialis.org. I am a little worried about removing it from the nest and if it is still alive, getting it back in there okay, however. But I know it needs to be removed somehow.

    #5764
    MaybelleMaybelle
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    Just recently when cleaning out a bluebird box after fledging I found that of the five that were okay at about 10 days old when banded, two had subsequently died and by the time of fledging were quite badly decomposed.

    Yes the nest smelled really awful, but from my observation Papa had continued to feed the remaining three and I have every reason to believe they fledged on schedule.

    So I don’t think one dead nestling will keep the parents from feeding the remaining one. And I don’t think the dead one will prevent the others from thriving.

    But if you become convinced it is truly dead I would remove within the next couple days. After about 14 days you risk the other nestlings trying to fledge before they are ready. I saw this happen when banders chose to disturb a nest with nestlings whose hatching date was unknown and looked older than the safe age. After the nestlings were placed back in the nest some flew and ended up on the ground. They were caught and placed back in the nest and the door was blocked with cloth until they settled down. For that reason I would not want to open the box after 14 days unless there was a really good reason for doing so.

    • This reply was modified 4 years ago by MaybelleMaybelle.
    • This reply was modified 4 years ago by MaybelleMaybelle.
    • This reply was modified 4 years ago by MaybelleMaybelle.

    Cari
    Willamette Valley, Oregon

    #5768
    Carol – Mid-Mo.
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    Cari, thank you. Yes, I would need to remove it by tomorrow, which is day 12. Your observation is interesting – you did not have the opportunity to remove it as you were unaware it was dead. I do have that option, but don’t know whether it is wise. It is stinking hot again today, but I will probably make a decision by tomorrow morning probably.

    #5773
    dogsandbirds
    Moderator
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    Carol, if it’s dead the sooner you remove it the better. A decaying nest mate won’t make the others sick but could start drawing flies. The live ones can also get their feet stuck in the decaying flesh.

    If you get him out and he’s alive then super. In either case, glove up.

    Gin
    Atlanta, GA

    #5775
    Carol – Mid-Mo.
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    Gin, thank you and that is what I needed to hear. My gut was telling me it needs to be out of the nest. I am going to check in the early morning. There was no smell in the box today so if it is dead it was just recently happened. Yes, I will definitely glove up and hope I can put it back in the box with the others! I will also be extremely careful not to disturb the others into a jumping out of the box.

    #5778
    Lisa
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    Tough situation! Hope the baby is OK. At this age they are good at playing dead…

    #5779
    Lisa
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    I just can’t believe the heat you guys are getting so far north of me. Only one 90 degree day so far. Crazy…

    #5782
    Carol – Mid-Mo.
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    Lisa, they ARE good at “playing possum” as us oldies call it. This happened to me my 1st or 2nd year of birding, and I believe my post here was “HELP – my babies are dead”. That is when I was told about how they play dead and sure enough they were back then. Today, however, I remembered about this and took a really soft, small drawing brush & touched each one of them and 3 moved but this one did not. I will do this again tomorrow a.m. and if it doesn’t move I will pick it up & put it in something and check it out further.

    #5785
    verachuckdave
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    That is crazy. We have been hammered with heat and humidity–it’s downright oppressive. We had a storm here yesterday afternoon that dropped the temperature down to 73 degrees overnight. It was the first break that my bluebirds have had in 8 days. I imagine them breathing a sigh of relief. . . It’s still going to be hot this week, but at least they are forecasting mid to high eighties instead of 90’s.

    Susan
    Pennsylvania

    #5786
    Carol – Mid-Mo.
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    YEA – checked inside box today and got all four babies to move! Their game of playing possum was very convincing yesterday, and today the only way I got them to move was with my small brush. They KNEW I was not papa or mama there with breakfast! I was prepared to take the one out but was sure hoping I didn’t need to – thank you, God. Now all they have to do is make through 5 more days – but heat this week is supposed to be little cooler than last week.

    #5789
    verachuckdave
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    Excellent news! I was hoping that all of the babies were okay. I took my wren guard off today at Day #8. It really has seemed to make a difference for the parents. They have been flying back and forth to the house all day. I tried to go down to peek at the babies, but papa wasn’t very accepting of the idea, so I cut him a break. I figured he had enough on his plate with all of this heat without me adding to the stress. I will try to check them out later in the evening.

    I’m happy for you and the little one!

    Susan
    Pennsylvania

    #5793
    dogsandbirds
    Moderator
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    Yay Carol! That’s one sneaky little bird.

    Gin
    Atlanta, GA

    #5803
    tamsea
    Moderator
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    Whew! Glad they are all OK.

    Tammy

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