Two females with one male?

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  • #6388
    Maybelle
    Participant
    • Topics started 23
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    Has anyone observed a male with two females? We have a nesting pair that I monitor in the back of a field that had their first egg laid on May 11. On my way back there on Sunday I noticed a female on the other side of the field and with more observation discovered she is busy building a nest that is by my estimate about 260 feet from the pair in the back of the field. There seems to be no male the present the large majority time. But I have seen him drop by very briefly. My observation of other pairs has been that he is present during the nest building keeping watch.
    There are swallows living in this area too, but they do not seem to be competing for this particular box, and this female just goes about doing her business peacefully by herself.
    This box is in full view of the other one and 260 feet is just a little too close for two pairs if there is nothing blocking the view. All that evidence leaves me wondering if the male of the other pair has taken a second mate.

    So I am wondering if anyone has observed this behavior.

    Cari
    Willamette Valley, Oregon

    #6391
    dogsandbirds
    Moderator
    • Topics started 5
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    I have not seen this but it does happen, especially when there is a shortage of males. If that is what is going on, he’s going to be a busy boy.

    Gin
    Atlanta, GA

    #6401
    Maybelle
    Participant
    • Topics started 23
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    Curiosity bid me spend some time in the field with the bluebirds and I am now convinced this little mama I dubbed “Newbie” is in another pair’s territory. Today I took Newbie some mealworms and watched as Mr. Bluebird flew the distance to take mealworms from Newbie’s residence back to his mate on the far side of the field where she has 5 eggs. Back and forth he went. I have never seen the male feed Newbie, and indeed I saw him once try to shove her away from the mealworms.

    However, he does spend a little time with Newbie and peers in her nestbox where she now has a very tight and neat nest. I also caught them in the act of mating and took a lovely x-rated photo. LOL But I have never seen him enter her nest box.

    “Newbie” may be new to the territory, but she acts determined. Today I saw her fight to the ground with a swallow and a female bluebird. If she persists and raises nestings, I wonder if she will receive any help from Mr. Bluebird. She is a plucky little bird.

    • This reply was modified 3 years, 6 months ago by Maybelle.

    Cari
    Willamette Valley, Oregon

    #6403
    Maybelle
    Participant
    • Topics started 23
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    • Total Posts 107

    Newbie

    Cari
    Willamette Valley, Oregon

    #6404
    Maybelle
    Participant
    • Topics started 23
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    • Total Posts 107

    The first evening I noticed Newbie: Newbie
    Not sure what I am doing wrong. I am trying to show a photo from photobucket. I see I left off “.com”. I’ll try once more before giving up for tonight.

    Is there a way to delete a post that doesn’t work out?

    • This reply was modified 3 years, 6 months ago by Maybelle.
    • This reply was modified 3 years, 6 months ago by Maybelle.

    Cari
    Willamette Valley, Oregon

    #6406
    Maybelle
    Participant
    • Topics started 23
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    • Total Posts 107

    Last try for tonight Maybe I can figure it out tomorrow or maybe someone can tell me what I’m doing wrong. Thanks!

    • This reply was modified 3 years, 6 months ago by Maybelle.

    Cari
    Willamette Valley, Oregon

    #6409
    David in Stafford,VA
    Participant
    • Topics started 57
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    I haven’t been able to use Photobucket since it started charging for the premium service. I use “imgur” now.

    David
    Stafford, VA

    #6422
    Maybelle
    Participant
    • Topics started 23
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    • Total Posts 107

    I have continued observing and there is no longer a question in my mind that there is one male with two females. His first mate is incubating 5 eggs and the second female has begun laying eggs in her nest. I have watched the male frequently take mealworms placed in a feeder near the second female’s box and fly away with it to feed his female #1.

    Only a couple times I saw him feed female # 2, but most of the time he leaves her alone. Once he appeared to be blocking her path as she attempted to fly down the fenceline nearer the nest of female # 1.

    Now I am wondering: 1. will these eggs hatch/are they fertile? 2. Will he give her any attention when she is incubating? 3. Will she have help with feeding nestlings if there are any?

    Wish I could find someone who has observed this behavior and compare notes.

    Cari
    Willamette Valley, Oregon

    #6428
    Carol – Mid-Mo.
    Participant
    • Topics started 111
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    Wow, Cari, this is quite a situation. Yes, that papa will be busy and hopefully he will help both mamas out with the feeding & training later on. Never had this situation, although one year I did believe I had one papa being “attentive” to two females, but I later learned that it was a completely different pair of blues. Hope someone here has experienced this situation and can help you out with the information. Please keep this tread going so it can be a learning lesson for all.

    #6482
    Maybelle
    Participant
    • Topics started 23
    • Replies 84
    • Total Posts 107

    Update: Our new female is incubating 3 eggs. (the smallest clutch of eggs I have seen in our area) I wonder if she instinctively knows to limit the number because she is a single mom or if she is just very young or what other reason there may be. One thing about her, she is not fearful of me and allows me to come quite close. That makes me wonder if she is very young.

    Meanwhile the female in the far field has 5 eggs that may hatch today. I figure this is day 13 if she began incubating the day after the last egg. I’ll be checking so we can calculate when to band them.

    And I have named our new female “Leah”. The couple in the far field are “Jacob” & “Rachel” Can you guess why? LOL

    Cari
    Willamette Valley, Oregon

    #6536
    tamsea
    Moderator
    • Topics started 26
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    Love the names! It fits. Interesting scenario going on there.

    Tammy

    #6559
    Maybelle
    Participant
    • Topics started 23
    • Replies 84
    • Total Posts 107

    Update: Two of the three eggs hatched last week. I figure the nestlings are 6 days old tomorrow and considering taking out the unhatched egg. But it is tricky if the two little guys wrap themselves around it as if to protect it from all comers.

    Leah still seems to be a single mom and Jacob still comes to steal her mealworms.

    My BB bander came today and banded Leah. She took a look at the babies and we both wonder if they are developing as quickly as they should. I am considering putting her share of mealworms right inside the box in a tiny plastic container so no one can steal them. Is that risky? I also read that perhaps I should dust them with calcium to make them more nutritious.

    Leah remains so friendly and unafraid even after being banded to day. She is a mystery.

    Cari
    Willamette Valley, Oregon

    #6563
    dogsandbirds
    Moderator
    • Topics started 5
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    You can leave the unhatched egg right where it is. They so rarely cause a problem.

    No way would I put a cup of worms in the box. If they aren’t eaten immediately they can draw ants unless you have taken steps to keep them from climbing the pole. Dusting with calcium carbonate isn’t so necessary. I have some but I don’t always use it.

    Gin
    Atlanta, GA

    #6574
    tamsea
    Moderator
    • Topics started 26
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    Maybe if you truly don’t feel they are getting enough nutrition you could supplement feed them little pieces of mealworms for a couple of days. I’ve done that with baby martins to give them a boost.

    Tammy

    #6593
    Maybelle
    Participant
    • Topics started 23
    • Replies 84
    • Total Posts 107

    Update: When I put the cup in the nest, just to see how it would fit, etc., I concluded it was too risky. I hadn’t considered ants, but I feared the cup would turn over onto a nestling’s head! So I didn’t do it.

    The nestlings are now 9 days old and surviving. But definitely not as mature as those I compare them to in the Sialis website photos. Now I see Mama Leah coming over to our property and helping herself to the worms intended for the resident male who is an extremely attentive papa and is currently caring for 4 fledglings. I watch Leah take a beak full and fly the distance to her own box with them. Maybe our Papa Blue is teaching her by example.

    Cari
    Willamette Valley, Oregon

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