July 2, 2016 at 9:24 am #2517
Still welcoming any suggestions or advice…
I had posted 4 weeks ago, concerned about a female with a non-functioning leg, and about what appeared to be an abandoned nest in another location. Here’s the update:
She finished the nest, which seemed pretty small and shallow to me. About 2 weeks ago I checked the box and found 1 egg, and 2 days later, a second egg. Last week, I went out and did what I usually do — tap the feeder and put in new (dried) worms, speak, and tap on the box; no noise or activity so I opened the box. Much to my surprise, she was in the box, and though she turned her head to look at me, she did not move, so I just gently closed the door. This happened 2 more times in the week.
Each morning when we sit out there for morning coffee, she will poke her head out the hole (one morning I clocked 4 min) for a while, but does not leave the box. Yesterday afternoon, I checked the box, and she was not there, and I could see 2 eggs. This morning, we sat out a little longer than usual, and after 3 or 4 times of poking her head out of the box, she flew out, so we checked the box, and 1 egg has hatched. I have seen very little male presence, even when I approach the box.
It has been very hot and dry here, and we have moved a bird bath closer to the box. All I have for feeding is dried mealworms. Should I add some suet? I am hoping that with little (or no?) male help she may be able to handle one or two on her own.
On the other box– no activity for these 4 weeks, and the straw twig in the opening went undisturbed. We removed it yesterday.July 2, 2016 at 1:21 pm #2518Carol – Mid-Mo.Participant
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Sue, sounds like she is managing even with her injured leg. I would keep offering the worms, if she is used to them, but I am confused. Where is the “feeder” for these worms – your post sounds like it is ON the box. Did you do that because of her injury? That is usually something we should not do because it could draw other predators & other birds. I bet the male is around and helping her – we just sometimes do not see it. My mama is incubating the 2nd batch of eggs now, and I do not see papa very much – but he does bring her food sometimes, along with coming to my mealworm bowl two times a day (bowl is about 60-75′ away from box). Sure hope your papa is there, but sounds like she might be okay with only 2 babies. Bluebirds do “find & drop” for their feed, versus some that walk & hunt on the ground. Maybe she can hop on that one leg. I don’t know what else you can do but offer the worms (I’ve never fed dried worms so don’t know if they feed them to babies or not). Good luck!July 2, 2016 at 3:03 pm #2519David in Stafford,VAParticipant
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Have you tried using live mealworms. It is probably too late to get the large supplies through the mail but local pet stores like PetSmart usually have containers of live mealworms that they sell for reptile terrariums. The live worms are more nutritious for the young ones than the dried.
It sounds like you have a pretty determined female there. Continued success
Stafford, VAJuly 2, 2016 at 3:24 pm #2520
Thank you both. On the subject of feeder– it is at the other end of the deck from the box. I have a neighbor who puts out lots of seed (I mean really a lot) so the other birds (including sparrows) congregate there, and I see mainly bluebirds, robins, and mockingbirds here. I started by just putting the worms on top of a hanging basket but had some very aggressive robins dominating. The mockingbirds are plenteous, but they would wait for bluebirds to leave before chowing down. I don’t have the funds for a formal feeder, but I came up with a solution. I happen to grow gourds, and had a nice martin gourd. Low on the gourd, about 1/2 inch from the bottom, I cut a slot on each side the same size as is on a slot nesting box. This has been very effective– the bluebirds can hang on the side, or get in. The robins and mockingbirds can get their feet on the edge, but cannot get their heads inside, so they have stopped coming. I see an occasional titmouse, but that is all. I can’t do live mealworms right now (would you believe someone gave me 10 pounds of dried worms!). When I water my gourd patch, there are worms and bugs that come up, and many birds visit then.
This box has been very popular, though it is so close to the house. We had one nesting already with 5 babies successfully fledged, and they came to my feeder regularly for weeks. That pair then nested in that remote box; this is a different pair in my close box.
Thanks for suggestions and help. I will post updates…July 2, 2016 at 8:54 pm #2521tamseaModerator
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If you are really wanting to help the mom feed her babies I think you’ll need live mealworms. I’m not sure if dried ones will be nutritional enough for the babies. Why can’t you get mealworms? I understand if it’s the expense part of it. Of course buying in bulk is a better price. Wild Birds Unlimited here has them for a fairly good price. Pet stores are the most expensive. You can offer suet but that doesn’t have the protein. Glad she’s fairing well.
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TammyJuly 13, 2016 at 6:13 am #2612Love my blues!Participant
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After she’s through nesting & training her fledgelings, have you considered calling a bird rehabber to see if they can help her (that is, unless she recovers)? Would definitely try to get live mealworms just for nesting period if you can? Hope it all works out!
Oops, realizing I’m a little late in my response. How is Mama’s leg doing?
NicoleJuly 17, 2016 at 4:49 pm #2672
Final update. One egg hatched and both parents stayed busy with feeding and care. Growth was hard to follow because if mom was in the box when opened (which was most of the time) she would stay and cover baby.
Baby has been peeking out of the box for two days, and exited sometime today. I can see parents in the trees but haven’t been able to spot baby. I have seen them aggressively chasing squirrels.
Thanks everyone for your help.July 18, 2016 at 1:37 am #2680Love my blues!Participant
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Congrats on the fledge! Is Mom’s leg any better?
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