Missing egg

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This topic contains 50 replies, has 6 voices, and was last updated by  Love my blues! 3 years, 1 month ago.

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  • #3349
    Lisa
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    I had a horrible year last year with snake attacks after at least 10 years with no problems. This year I have mine on a pole with Krueger guard. One successful fledge after adding it last year.
    I have a new pair this year in the same box and they seemed to take forever to nest but finally had 5 eggs. I usually monitor daily but this pair hates it so much that I’ve cut back to every 3 days.
    I was so upset today to find only 4 eggs. I have never seen a HOSP here. Any chance mom would take out an infertile egg?
    Please help! Time is of the essence! Thanks for any advice!

    #3350
    nhhawk6nhhawk6
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    Hi, Lisa. Sorry to hear about the missing egg. Where are you? What type of snakes do you have? It is unusual for most species of snakes to raid a nest and take only one of five eggs. It is not unusual for a female BB to pass a defective egg out of the nest, however. Without any additional evidence of snake intrusion, at this time, I would guess that things are okay, for now. Also, if your BB pair have bonded to the nest box to the extent they have thus far (nest, five eggs laid, dive-bombing you when you monitor the box, etc.) I don’t think there is much risk of them abandoning the box if you monitor it more frequently. Keep a close eye on things as best you can, until you are able to solve the missing egg mystery, at least. Best of luck, and let us know what else you find out.

    Randy
    Bedford, New Hampshire

    #3353
    Lisa
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    Randy, you helped me so much! I was wondering if it could have been a defective egg? This is the most aggressive pair I’ve ever had, and still very dedicated to the nest. Last year when I lost 2 eggs to snakes the parents never came back.
    I’ve always monitored daily but this pair hates it much that I backed down to every 3 days. Poor kids, I will be spying on them much more often again!

    #3354
    Lisa
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    By the way, I am in South Alabama, and we have 5′ corn (rat, or chicken) snakes. I think the box is well protected from them. The only reason one didn’t get all of the eggs last year is because I caught it in the act.

    #3355
    nhhawk6nhhawk6
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    Got it. Highly unlikely that a corn snake leaves four eggs behind, and like you said, you have a snake trap in-place. Mrs. BB probably removed the egg for legitimate reasons. The only other thing to watch for would be a house wren. They typically puncture each egg, and toss them all out of the nest box. The eggs are usually on the ground in the immediate area. Again, unusual for four eggs to be left behind after such an attack. The house wrens want the nest box for themselves; they are not simply vandalizing boxes on a Saturday night, just for kicks…

    Randy
    Bedford, New Hampshire

    #3356
    Carol – Mid-Mo.
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    Lisa, year before last I found one egg of 5 on the ground intact, with no signs of trauma. She had been incubating one week when this happened. So I assumed that she removed it because it was not viable – the egg was definitely cold so I tossed it. All other 4 eggs went on to hatch.

    #3357
    Lisa
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    Thanks for all of the info! I live in deep fear of HOSP attacks but I’ve never seen one in my yard. All is well this morning with the 4 eggs and both parents divebombing me. Thinking i should do a sparrow spooker just in case, but like someone mentioned, I would expect much more carnage from a HOSP attack or HOWR attack.
    Papa blue is chasing a squirrel away this morning. I’ve always had lots of squirrels but they’ve never bother my blues. I wonder if it was a squirrel?

    #3370
    tamsea
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    Lisa, it very well could be a HOSP or a house wren. I had a HOSP a couple of years ago that would remove tiny babies one at a time. And house wrens are notorious for doing that to eggs. But if you have never seen a HOSP at your house then I doubt it’s a HOSP. Do you have house wrens? Where do you live? It’s too early for house wren activity up here. Hopefully the momma took it out. All you can do is watch.

    Tammy

    #3373
    Lisa
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    Thanks Tammy! I am in coastal Alabama so I’m thinking it could have been a HOWR. Haven’t seen any but I have dozens of birds passing through. My pair is very aggressive so I am hoping against hope that they can fight off a future attack. Last year snakes, now this….
    I am praying they might be Ok because the other 4 look fine.
    I’ve pretty much done all I can do now. Too late to put up a wren guard from what I’ve read?

    #3374
    Lisa
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    I’ve never had mom bird take an egg out. Even after the others fledged.

    #3375
    Lisa
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    Tammy, you’ve seen them take one egg at a time?

    #3377
    dogsandbirds
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    Lisa, the only reason it would be too late to put on a wren guard is that if a wren removed the egg he now knows where the nest is. I doubt it was a wren though. They typically attack all of the eggs.

    The female EABL could have buried the egg under the nest. That happens.

    And then quite often we never solve the missing egg mystery.

    Gin
    Atlanta, GA

    #3384
    Lisa
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    Literally watched all day today and nothing seems amiss. Mom stayed in the house most of the day and when she ventured out Dad blue was watching her and the box like a hawk. Same 4 with no signs of punctures this morning. Fingers crossed.
    It seems most likely to have been a HOWR who was somehow interrupted. I have so many brown birds, Thrashers and etc., that I could have been easily deceived.

    #3389
    tamsea
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    Lisa, I saw a house sparrow take out hatchlings one at a time. I’ve never seen a momma bird take out one of her own eggs, although sometimes there’s one missing. I agree, most of the time she just leaves it in the nest.

    Tammy

    #3403
    Lisa
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    Tamsea, this morning all looked well. Mom and Dad both extremely protective and dive-bombing me. I am pretty convinced it had to be taken by a HOWR. Hoping they can defend these four. Hatching should be tomorrow or Thursday. Then the real worry starts!!!

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