What happened to the hatchlings?

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  • #7461
    Connie
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    I live in Central Florida and my experience with bluebirds is in its infancy. I had put up a bluebird house about 4 years ago and no birds ever nested. They inspected it thoroughly but never stayed. This year, they decided to nest and raise the babies. I only saw one fledgling, even though I knew they had more than one because I heard them. I cleaned out the old nest and within days, they had started another nest. I checked this time and saw 4 eggs. A while later, I saw them feeding the babies for a day and then I didn’t see them again. I checked the box a day later and found 2 hatchlings dead. I cleaned out the box again and saw the parents nesting again. I don’t think they’re going to stay this time. Anyway, what my questions are:
    1. Did I disturb them enough to abandon the chicks? Or were the chicks just not viable?
    2. Since it was so very hot down here last month (97 degrees most days), was it too hot for the chicks?
    3. Should I paint the box white to help reflect the sun? Someone told me that paint is not good for the birds.
    4. There is no real ventilation in this box. I’ve seen some houses on this website that have horizontal slots right below the roofline. Should I just purchase another box?

    I want to do the right thing for these lovely birds that sing so sweetly.

    Thanks much for your help.

    Connie

    #7462
    Carol – Mid-Mo.
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    Connie, so sorry about your situation. YES, your box MUST have ventilation at the very least. Some people even use heat shields in very hot areas. There is no need to paint a natural wood box if it is made of cedar or some other stable wood. Pine boxes will not hold up to the weather for very long, as will cedar, so many people paint those pine boxes white, but ONLY on the outside, not inside.
    If you do not want to purchase a new box there can be ventilation slots put in the one you have, but it would take someone with a small saw and able to do this. You only need about a 1/4 to 1/2 inch high slot right under the roof of the house. Stop & think how hot your home would be if it were hot and you were not at least able to open a window to get some air. And those bird houses are small and will get overheated very quickly without any ventilation. P.S. Bluebirds are very tolerant of our monitoring their nests so I don’t believe this was your problem. Of course, you must use common sense and not try to touch the babies, and opening the box to check on them stops when they are about 12 days old to prevent premature fledging. Best BB website is the following – check it out – it is our bible for birding here – http://www.sialis.org

    #7470
    dogsandbirds
    Moderator
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    In addition to the above:

    1. Vents seem to be most efficient when they are on opposite sides of the box.
    2. A large overhanging roof helps to shade the occupants.
    3. Try to face the box away from afternoon sun.

    Best of luck and try to have fun!

    Gin
    Atlanta, GA

    #7471
    Carol – Mid-Mo.
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    Yes, the ventilation slots must be on opposite sides of the box, to create a flow of air from one side to the other. As well as the other items Gin mentioned.

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