Missing mate?

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  • #1566
    evie
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    After all the fuss I made in previous topic, I finally have a completed nest with one egg! I’m not sure how late this nesting is compared to other years. I think it’s late as the TRES arrived today and were busy going in and out of the second box.

    Usually when I put out the mealworms, the male arrives within a minute followed by the female. However, I did not see the male at all today. The female arrived after quite a period of my whistling. But there’s been no sighting of papa. I realize he could be dead. Any other explanation for his absence?

    Does anyone know whether there’s a separate mating for each egg produced? If this is so, I could figure the male is somewhere if another egg is laid tomorrow morning.

    TIA for any information you can provide.

    #1579
    Love my blues!
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    My male wasn’t around very much during the egg laying cycle. Have you seen him yet?

    Nicole

    #1583
    Donna in WI
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    They do not need to mate each time between eggs, I believe she stores the sperm needed. Although often they do mate multiple times. I had a male go mia after the female laid her four egg clutch one year. He was gone four entire days, returned late morning of the fifth day. In that time I trained her to a mealworm feeder since she was incubating and he was not around to feed her. She then trained him to the feeder. I have heard/read they could be off mating with other females. Hope you see him soon.

    Donna in WI

    #1584
    evie
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    Thanks for the responses. I haven’t seen the male yet and actually haven’t seen the female this morning. I’m going to wait a couple of hours to check the nest box. Keeping my fingers crossed and mealworms at the ready. (If you only know how many I ordered in a fit of irrational optimism!LOL)

    #1597
    evie
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    Just a quick update. Mama is coming to my whistle, but there is still no sign of her mate. Today she laid a third egg. In years past, I’ve had a mother disappear after the eggs have hatched. The father raised the clutch successfully. If the father is gone for good, would the mother abandon or raise them herself? She seems very timid compare to her erstwhile mate.

    #1599
    dogsandbirds
    Moderator
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    The female will continue to incubate the eggs and then raise the chicks unless another male comes along and tempts her away. This whole thing is driven by the biological need to reproduce. She will have a tougher time by herself but it can be done. You could help her with meal worms if you want.

    Gin
    Atlanta, GA

    #1617
    evie
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    Just to update. The male never returned. He was omnipresent and very attentive, so I have to believe that something happened to him. The female has laid four eggs and I’ve seen her going into the nest box for short periods of time. It’s cold and rainy here today, so,she’s gotten an extra helping of mealworms.

    (As an aside, this has been the strangest backyard bird season I can remember. I had no cardinals at my feeders until January. We barely had a winter, yet the bluebird seemed to arrive quite late. In addition, for the first time in 19 years the TRES checked out their usual box and never returned. )

    • This reply was modified 5 years, 7 months ago by evie.
    #1638
    tamsea
    Moderator
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    a lot of drama on the forum right now! Glad you momma is attentive.

    Tammy

    #1644
    evie
    Participant
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    Things have gotten crazier!!! Mealworms were not eaten last evening. I checked the house this morning. A single feather stuck out of the door. Other than that the nest was undisturbed. Regular nest on top. Ice cold eggs lying underneath. I moved the ice cold eggs up into what was left of the cup of the nest. I put out mealworms. No one came immediately. However, I just looked out my window and there is a female perched on the Peterson box and a male on the adjacent NaBs box. Now what do I do??? Never had this dilemma before. Clean out the box? Watch it? For all I know this is a whole new couple who will leave if they can’t get quarters in the Peterson box.

    #1648
    Carol – Mid-Mo.
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    Evie, things are definitely crazy this season! My first 5 eggs turned out to be no good – the pair then began another nest in different box, but have not finished it. A few days ago I removed the 5 eggs from other box but left the nice, neat nest for an emergency nest, intending to put it in the freezer. Well, now this pair is dancing back & forth between these two boxes, not laying eggs in either one, but definitely “in the mood” with all the wing-waving going on.
    My thought for your boxes is to leave them alone & watch – like you say it could be a different pair. Good luck!!

    #1657
    tamsea
    Moderator
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    You are keeping your mealworms in the fridge, right? so they will go dormant and not pupate. Always err on the side of caution when removing eggs. I agree..wait this one out.

    Tammy

    #1674
    evie
    Participant
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    Thanks for the advice and thoughts. I’m still a bit baffled. The female has returned. I’m certain it’s the same one because she knows my whistle. In the mornings I see her perched on top of the Peterson box and a new male (does not know my whistle and doesn’t seem to stick around all day) perched next door on the NABS house. The eggs are still in the box at the bottom. The once neat, then messy nest is now a neat nest again. It’s not a very cushiony nest, so maybe more will be added.

    I’m guessing that this is a new mate and there will be new eggs at some point. What do you all think? I feel as if I read somewhere that BBs will take eggs out of the nest if they don’t hatch. I’m biding my time, but at some point do I consider removing the buried eggs?

    Yes, Tammy I’m refrigerating the gazillion mealworms I ordered in a burst of optimism. Hopefully they’ll survive the winter in my fridge. No way will I use all of them.

    #1677
    Love my blues!
    Participant
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    Hi Evie-

    I’m not as experienced as others. Lots of my responses come from what I’ve read. I would think you should leave everything as is unless you see new eggs laid. At that point, I would think it would be time to remove them. Maybe someone else will comment.

    Sure hope they settle down soon. Glad it appears that she found another mate.

    Nicole

    #1680
    Carol – Mid-Mo.
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    Evie, on the large numbers of worms you have on hand, you are aware that you need to take them out of fridge at least every 2 weeks, some places say every week, for about 24 hours to let them eat the bran bedding, and also put in some carrot slices or potato slices for their moisture. I almost always buy 10,000 bulk worms, then package them in containers (with air vents) after they have eaten after being shipped. They will last 2-3 months at least this way. There will be a few dead ones, but this is perfectly normal. I, too, have a bunch right now as my pair’s first 5 eggs were no good and they have not built a new nest yet, I don’t think, unless this new mama laid some in a neighbor’s box or something. Therefore, no babies to feed at this time. UGH!

    #1681
    evie
    Participant
    • Topics started 12
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    Thanks for the advice. I had just read that not long ago. I bought my worms from Grubco. I have them in oatmeal in a large sugar container with holes in the top. It’s quite dense on there. But everyone seems to be surviving relatively well. Just had them out yesterday for 24 hours with apples.

    Worms seem a lot more predictable than bluebirds.

    BTW…I’m glad to know someone is even more optimistic than I am. 😉 (I ordered 5,000.) I has some worms I bought at Petco last summer that lived untouched and unfed from August to March in my fridge. My only question is whether the oatmeal I have these new ones in is okay for them.

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