When to Remove Abandoned Nest and Move Nestbox

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  • #8530
    Therese
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    We have an empty Bluebird nestbox in our front yard that they apparently abandoned. Their four eggs never hatched and on day 20 I candled them and found they were not viable. They looked like they were unfertilized or never developed. I was advised to remove the eggs to prevent bacteria in case she would try to use the nest again. Unfortunately, the female Bluebird left after discovering her eggs were gone, a week ago. The male has been reluctant to leave and has come back a few times looking for her. I last heard his call two days ago. The nestbox is in the front yard and the female was disturbed anytime people walked by. I believe this contributed to the nest failure. I’d like to move the nestbox to a low traffic area, but have limited space in my 70′ x 120′ yard. The best I can come up with is the side yard between my house and the neighbor’s. Is it too soon to move the nestbox after one week? Should I remove the empty nest?

    Therese

    #8531
    Carol – Mid-Mo.
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    Therese, did mama blue sit on the eggs (incubate) any? Usually if they have eggs in a nest they do not abandon it unless, like you found, they realized they were not viable. My point is it may not have been the location at all, just one of the “things that happen.” You yard is fairly small but you should be able to come up with a spot for the box. Especially if Papa is still around he will try to attract another mate. If you put it on the side of your home (is the side the shortest area) it will probably be too close to the neighbor. I would sure try to put it in the back yard if this is the biggest area. Is there a reason you could not do this? Anyway, you need to remove and clean the empty nest so it is ready for another new nest, as females like “to approve” their bed. I am on my 3rd nest right now – don’t know where you live, but you should have time for a late nesting. Good luck and welcome!

    #8534
    Jamie
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    Yes, I would remove the nest. If the nest is solid, and not soiled or full of bugs, I will remove it carefully from the box and put it in a gallon ziplock bag. That way I have a back up nest if there is some type of emergency and I need to change out a nest.

    #8536
    David in Stafford,VA
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    I agree with Carol and Jamie on removing the nest. The male will try to induce either his current female if she is still around or he will look for another to occupy this nest. If you back yard can hold ta nestbox safely (no fence or tree branches close by) I would move it away from the high-traffic area. Mom birds do spook easy and with a box of eggs the time away might hinder a proper incubation.
    Keep us posted on what happens

    David
    Stafford, VA

    #8538
    Carol – Mid-Mo.
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    Good thinking, Jamie – I forgot about keeping a good nest for a spare – I have two in my basement freezer right now.

    #8541
    Therese
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    Thanks for your replies. I want to explain that removing the eggs was not a decision I made lightly. I carefully candled the eggs on day 20 with the intention of putting them back if they were viable. I posted pictures of the eggs and a member of our Bluebird Society confirmed they were not viable. The female was incubating at the time and I felt terrible not putting them back. The reason we put the nestbox in the front yard is that we have several feeding stations in the backyard, which is a wooded lot. Therefore it’s not really open. How far from feeders and woods does the nestbox need to be?

    Therese

    #8542
    David in Stafford,VA
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    It should be clear of overhanging tree limbs for squirrels and snakes and away from shrubs that could hold nests of HOSP,HOWR, and possibly chickadees It should also have a baffle guard on a non-wooden, slick pole to prevent critters and snakes from climbing to the nestbox. I use 10 to 20 feet as a general guide line. but yours will have to be done according to your available space.

    David
    Stafford, VA

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