HOWR problems

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  • #4314
    Meg
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    • Topics started 6
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    Hi all. Was hoping for some advice on a wren problem. I put up my first box several years ago. The second season I had a successful bluebird nest. They then tried again for a second brood but the eggs were lost to a wren. Every year since the blues check out the box in the winter/early spring for a week or so but then leave. Then the wren eventually shows up and continuously fills the box with sticks the rest of the summer. Are the blues not staying because of the failed nest or should I move the box? I’ve also lost 2 sets of chickadee eggs to the wren in two separate boxes :( I just learned about wren guards but will they work if the wren knows where the box is since it seems to go straight for that box every year? Thanks for any help.

    #4320
    Carol – Mid-Mo.
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    Meg, welcome!. I would imagine you need to move your box because you are right, once they know about the box and hole, a wren guard does not help much. Try to move it away from any brush/shrubs. Are you removing the dummy nest sticks? Others here will join in with opinions. Of course, we are talking about house wrens, not other types of wrens, which usually are not a problem.

    #4329
    Lisa
    Participant
    • Topics started 21
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    I believe I lost my first nest to wrens (eggs poked,eggs missing) but had a second successful nesting fledge yesterday just using a shoebox end and some thumbtacks. Mine weren’t as bad as yours though. No sign of nesting attempt by the wrens. Just murder.

    #4331
    Meg
    Participant
    • Topics started 6
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    Yes they are definetly house wrens. We have Carolina wrens visit in the winter but they seem to disappear for the summer. I think I’ll move the original box or take it down for now. I try to remove dummy nests and sticks but that wren just won’t give up. Unfortunately my yard isn’t too large so I don’t have a lot of options to move it. Maybe I’ll try a paired box with the one I just put up in the back.

    So in that second box the chickadees lost several eggs a few days ago I found them all on the ground. They hadn’t started incubating yet and I put up a guard just in case they weren’t done laying. There have been no more eggs for 3 days but they still visit the box and go inside throughout the day. Will chickadees retry in the same box or do they just hang around for a bit after a failed nest?

    #4337
    Sparky
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    I could just cry. We had BB eggs and suddenly they were missing. Hubby put a baffle on the pole because we thought it might have been a snake. He removed the nest and mama built another nest and laid eggs again. Today, one egg was in the ground pecked at and the others were gone. We do have house wrens, but we also have a lot of barn swallows that the poor blues are constantly running off of their house. Could the culprit be barn swallows? Thanks.

    #4339
    Sparky
    Participant
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    Correction to my previous post…we have tree swallows; not barn swallows.

    #4340
    nhhawk6nhhawk6
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    • Topics started 15
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    I am so sorry to hear of your troubles. I doubt the barn swallows have much to do with it. They are cup nesters, who build nests of mud beneath the overhangs of houses, barns, and bridges. They also tend to nest in colonies. And they also tend to come out on the wrong end of a skirmish with a EABL male. I believe the HOWRs are the felons. Do you have the space to completely relocate the EABL nest box? That may be your best option. The trick, then, will be the earliest deployment of a wren guard as possible, after egg #1. I hope things improve quickly for you and your blues!

    Randy
    Bedford, New Hampshire

    #4341
    nhhawk6nhhawk6
    Participant
    • Topics started 15
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    Oh. Never mind. :)

    Randy
    Bedford, New Hampshire

    #4349
    dogsandbirds
    Moderator
    • Topics started 5
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    Not TRES either. HOWR is the most likely culprit.

    Sadly, some yards just aren’t good EABL habitat because they aren’t open enough. In a subdivision you can start out with a pretty open area. Then years go by and the vegetation grows so that things aren’t so open. HOWR are very aggressive and won’t let anything they can find nest in what they deem their territory.

    All of my boxes are now blocked for the season and have been for a few weeks. I didn’t bother to take them down; I just blocked the openings so nobody can enter.

    HOWR are definitely going to go back to a box if they know where the hole is. Even with a guard, the chances are not good for any other bird to succeed. I really hate that and I’m so sorry.

    Gin
    Atlanta, GA

    #4354
    Meg
    Participant
    • Topics started 6
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    • Total Posts 33

    Yea sadly that is what I’m thinking too is I’m just not in a good area it’s too wooded and the boxes are just doing more harm than good. I may just plug them until fall – the woodpeckers roost there all winter – and then leave open next year to try for a first brood before the wrens come back. Then plug again when wrens show. I know the blues are around I saw one in my neighbors yard a couple weeks ago. They do visit my suet feeders in late winter every year. Do they visit mealworm feeders all summer? Maybe I’ll try putting one up so they’ll at least visit occasionally :)

    #4356
    Sparky
    Participant
    • Topics started 0
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    We are on 10 farm acres with no woods. Just a few trees in the yard. Our bluebird house is on a stand alone pole with a baffle. The little blues are entering the house for a third go-around (I hope). We will try a wren guard after the first egg is laid. I hope to report back with better news.

    #4368
    dogsandbirds
    Moderator
    • Topics started 5
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    Meg, they will visit mealworm feeders they already know. If they aren’t hunting in your yard right now, it’s going to be really hard to train them to a worm feeder.

    Sorry about your wren situation. Been there and bought the t-shirt and DVD.

    Gin
    Atlanta, GA

    #4372
    Scot
    Participant
    • Topics started 11
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    • Total Posts 79

    I have HOWR nesting on my property in a gourd I hung outside. I realize it was a mistake to hang the gourd, but I can’t do anything about it now since it is illegal to mess with their nests/eggs. They don’t seem to be bothering my EABL and Dee nesters, and I can’t help but think if they weren’t happy in the gourd, they’d either be nesting in or destroying what resides in the other boxes on my property.

    I may regret catering to them soon.

    Scot
    PA

    #4374
    Carol – Mid-Mo.
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    • Topics started 107
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    Unfortunately, we all live and learn! I have a HOWR which has been around for quite some time and drives me crazy with his song when I go outside. I have eggs being incubated right now, due to hatch this coming weekend and I’m just hoping & praying that wren does not find them. I did put a guard on immediately after the 1st egg, and then the spooker. That’s about all I can do. I do not keep my seed feeders up during nesting season, just have my caged worm feeder.

    #4377
    Meg
    Participant
    • Topics started 6
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    Well it looks like the Dees have not abandoned the box even after loosing their eggs so I can’t plug the hole. I have the wren guard ready if they lay again. My husband said he may have seen a HOSP but I haven’t seen them around our property before so I hope he is wrong! Although maybe that’s what got the eggs in the first place, not the wren? Will have a spooker ready just in case. Poor Dees, hopefully everything goes well for them this time.

    I also saw some blues the past couple days hanging around the yard. At least they visit us once in awhile.

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