Missing an egg- help!

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  • #1209
    mullybirds
    Participant
    • Topics started 3
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    This is my first attempt at a bluebird box, and it seemed so successful up until today! We put up a box on a pole, cone baffle, sparrow spooker. Within 2 weeks, a pair started building their nest. 9 days later, the female started laying eggs. She laid 4 eggs total. She started incubating the eggs on 3/11/16. On 3/22 I checked the nest when the female was gone and there were still 4 unhatched eggs. The female has been continually incubating the eggs. The male brings her food often. Today, 3/24/16, I checked the nest once the female flew to find food and found only 3 eggs on the nest. 1 egg is missing. Should I be concerned about predators? We have a baffle… no sparrows around that I have seen….never see a wren near the nest…snakes and mice should not be able to access it due to the baffle. I’m sad and wondering what’s going on. Ideas?

    • This topic was modified 5 years, 6 months ago by mullybirds.
    #1212
    dogsandbirds
    Moderator
    • Topics started 5
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    Missing eggs often remain a mystery. A snake would have taken all of them and a wren would have pierced all of them and thrown them out UNLESS it was interrupted.

    Sometimes (read rarely) adult birds will remove an unviable egg.

    Sadly, there is no way to tell for sure what happened. I just hope no more disappear.

    Gin
    Atlanta, GA

    #1214
    Carol – Mid-Mo.
    Participant
    • Topics started 110
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    I had something similar happen last season. My mama was incubating 5 eggs, and one day I found an egg on the ground, under the pole, no sign of trauma or anything. She continued to incubate other eggs & they fledged. I came to the conclusion it was removed by them for some reason, probably not viable, but like Gin says, we never know for sure. Good luck on the other eggs. I have no full nest yet – my pair are strange in that they want to build 2 or 3 nests first and finally decide which one to use later.
    P.S. Mullybirds – it is highly recommended that the sparrow spooker NOT be put on before the first egg is laid. Looks like your pair accepted this early, but this is not the usual thing to do. We wait until they are committed with the 1st egg, and then put up the spooker. Also, the HOSP can get really accustomed to the spooker if it is part of the box right from the start. But looks like you have done great for the first attempt at bluebirding. Good luck!! By the way, where do you live – must be in a warmer state to have eggs being incubated for several days already.

    #1237
    tamsea
    Moderator
    • Topics started 26
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    Any more eggs missing?

    Tammy

    #1238
    mullybirds
    Participant
    • Topics started 3
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    No more eggs missing! Thanks for asking. Though they are late hatching. The female sits on the nest religiously, but it’s been 18days since the start of incubation. I’m worried the eggs are not viable. I guess nest building and egg laying are the easy parts! But I’ll let nature take its course.

    #1239
    The Original Bluebird Nut
    Admi-nut-strator
    • Topics started 25
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    • Total Posts 151

    We love this chart – That being said, 18 days of actual incubation would be pretty long. This mama bird may be as confused as you are as to why these eggs aren’t hatching. You could try candling one of the eggs if they don’t hatch soon – then you’d know whether to remove them and let this pair get on with attempting another nesting or not. There’s an old post on the archives about egg candling.


    Central NY
    TMB Studios

    #1242
    mullybirds
    Participant
    • Topics started 3
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    Thank you so much!! Great info!

    #1244
    dogsandbirds
    Moderator
    • Topics started 5
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    There has been some discussion over the years regarding when/if to remove eggs that are beyond their expected hatch date. Some people think it’s ok to remove nonviable eggs at any time after candling. Others think it’s best to leave things as they are until the adults lose interest. The reason behind this is if you remove them early, the adults will most likely regard this as a failure and will abandon the nest site. Me? I’m in camp #2.

    18 days isn’t all that overdue if incubation was delayed and it might have been for whatever reason. I would advise waiting a few more days and see what happens.

    One more thing. Sometimes you can just look at an egg and see it is bad without having to candle it. You will see a clear line of difference, with a light portion and a darker portion. That is a definite indicator.

    Gin
    Atlanta, GA

    #1246
    mullybirds
    Participant
    • Topics started 3
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    Gin, I appreciate your comment. I am more in the, “let nature takes its course” camp- so I was not planning on candling them- at least not anytime soon. (Clarifying: I would not let nature take its course if there were evidence of predators, etc.) We did have some chilly days, nights, and lots of rain during this incubation period- so I am wondering if this is one reason it is delayed. I am still hopeful, and Mama Blu seems determined. I’ll ride it out with her and see where it takes us!

    Thanks for everyone’s input. Such a learning experience and amazing to watch nature in action!!

    -Lori

    #1249
    The Original Bluebird Nut
    Admi-nut-strator
    • Topics started 25
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    • Total Posts 151

    There can be interruptions in incubation – if you suspect that at all, then I agree with Gin. Wait.


    Central NY
    TMB Studios

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