May 25, 2016 at 2:34 pm #2081
My bluebird babies are gone!!! I noticed that the parents didn’t come this morning for mealworms, but I figured they were out and about getting bugs as our weather is beautiful.
However, I just checked the box and the nest is empty!! The nest is undisturbed and completely clean. There is nothing on the ground to indicate a struggle. The baffle which is made out of shiny metal sheeting is not scratched. Does this mean a snake struck? I’m so shocked and saddened. Is there a way I can post a picture of my homemade baffle so I can get advice?
Looking for feedback. 😥😥😥May 25, 2016 at 6:09 pm #2083
Evie, I’m so sorry about this, after all the problems you have had. I would suspect that it was a snake, but I’ve not personally had this happen. With the nest not being disturbed & no marks on your baffle, this would be the logical culprit. Yes, there is a way to post a picture, and Cher has good instructions, under the “posting tips” thread. I would imagine maybe your baffle was not set up properly or something, don’t know. But I feel your heartbreak – I’m holding my breath until my babies, which are just 4 days old, get a little older & bigger, as I have a house wren around. Don’t give up, maybe there will be a 2nd nesting – not sure about your area.May 26, 2016 at 5:24 am #2087dogsandbirdsModerator
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Oh no! It does sound like a snake. Please post a picture of the baffle, pole and box. Also show how far the box is from any tree, bush or fence.
I can’t remember how old these were. Please refresh my memory.
Atlanta, GAMay 27, 2016 at 11:14 pm #2121
My mystery has become a little more confusing and upsetting. I believe house sparrows have taken over the box. They were around maybe ten years ago when a neighbor had horses for a couple of years. During that time I may have addled the eggs. I also installed monofilament line as a deterrent and no damage was done. The HOSPS disappeared when the horses did.
Shortly after I posted here, I saw what I thought was maybe a HOSP on the bluebird box. The next day I removed the empty bluebird nest. Within a day another nest appeared. This nest is made of wider pieces of straw and although not as messy as I remember HOSP nests to be, not as tightly woven as a BB nest. I haven’t seen any HOSPS around. But the nest looks complete. Papa bluebird was sitting on the house briefly but feeling as c fused as I am, I have done nothing to encourage him to stick around.
What I’m wondering is whether the HOSPS could have simply plucked the bluebird babies out of the nest. My only bad experience with them and nestlings involved them pecking the babies to death and starting to build a nest over them. Here no nest building was started until I removed the old nest.
I’ve tried to watch the box but so far have seen nothing going on besides papa BB briefly sitting on the box.
Feeling very confused and eager to get input from others.May 29, 2016 at 9:49 pm #2133
Evie, it might really be a bluebird nest – you need to give it a few days to see. My pair of blues this spring built a nest which I questioned might be a HOSP nest because it was not as neat as usual and with more coarse grass, but it had a nice cup. Watch closely to see if the HOSP are around or if the bluebirds are building. I know it is hard to watch all the time – but early morning is usually when I find most building goes on – first 2-3 hours after daylight. I still believe it was a snake which got your babies, or the nest would have been disturbed. Keep us posted.May 31, 2016 at 4:44 pm #2144
It is a bluebird nest! One egg was laid
this morning. However, I have not
seen the father around for two days. And he has in the past always come to my whistle. Mother is a new female who has no clue about the mealworms.
I intend to modify my baffle in the next few days.
Thanks for all the support.May 31, 2016 at 9:37 pm #2146
Great – get that baffle ready and don’t forget the sparrow spooker & wren guard if those are needed (remember you don’t always see these sly things). I would think a spooker for sure, since you had seen those around, and those house wrens are VERY sly.June 1, 2016 at 10:21 am #2152
This is a year like no other in an awful way. This morning I spotted a male on top of the house. So I guessed that maybe this is a new male since I’ve had no response to my whistle.
I’ve been trying to keep my eye on the box all morning. About an hour ago I saw a robin sitting on top of the box holding worms in his mouth. He stayed there for quite a long time, maybe five minutes. The mother kept peeking her head out while he sat there. (I don’t know whether this fact is relevant to my story. ) A short time ago I went out and found a dead bluebird male right by the box. He had no bloody marks on him. His chest looked a little disheveled but that’s all. I walked around with him in my hand for a while hoping he’d revive. Then I put him in a safe place out of the sun next my house, again hoping he’d revive if left alone. But he’s dead.
I imagine the female will abandon the nest in the next few days. This season I’ve lost at least two males, have seen two(soon to be three) females come and go, and lost nestlings to a snake. In addition for the first time in 20 years I haven’t had tree swallows in the adjacent box.
Feeling pretty sad right now.June 1, 2016 at 1:40 pm #2157
Oh, Evie – that is so sad. When you said you actually had a BB egg I was thrilled for you. Can’t imagine about this male dying – do you think maybe it was the original male which you said was not around, and he was sick or something? You are probably right about mama abandoning this nest/egg, since she has no mate. Very Sad indeed. But don’t give up – remember this is true nature at work (I guess).June 1, 2016 at 1:47 pm #2159Donna in WIParticipant
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So sorry about all this happening! I had a bluebird pair one year in which the female laid four eggs and the male disappeared. He was gone for five full days and she stayed an incubated those eggs the whole time. I trained her to a mealworm feeder during this time. He did return on the 5th day and I am assuming it was her mate as he cared for the nestlings once they hatched too.
Also I have had a female return one year without a male and she laid eggs and half of them hatched and she raised them by herself. She was a bit of an oddball though, she was here for five years!
Donna in WIJune 1, 2016 at 11:08 pm #2180Love my blues!Participant
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So so sorry, Evie. Certainly understand your sadness. You & your blues have really been through it! The good news is that they never give up!
FYI- I have a bluebird friend that has had multiple rat snake attacks & no baffle has kept them from getting to eggs or babies (box far from trees, fences, etc.). She finally had to put a Krueger guard on her pole. Tried to get her to consider Noel guard, but she said these snakes were so large that she felt the need to net the pole.
NicoleJune 10, 2016 at 12:36 pm #2329tamseaModerator
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It could have very well been a HOSP (from your May 25th post). They will take the babies out of the nest. But often they’ll just drop them on the ground.
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