August 22, 2016 at 9:03 am #2878
I apologize in advance if this post ends up long.
I have had the same Mom and Dad blue come to our BB houses on our property for years now. This pair has had it rough to put it mildly. I have dedicated a lot of time to learn about these blue beauty’s from where and how to place the houses to putting up guards from predators.
2014 and 2015 was down right unfair for my pair Id say. Mama laid four to five eggs at least three times just to find they were infertile and they never hatched! Poor Mama spent the entire summer in a hot box but her eggs just were not going to hatch and summer ended.
2016 Mama and Dad returned early in April chose a house close to our own and the worm feeder I put up on our closeline for them. Mama laid five eggs, they hatched fledged and three made it of the five! Soon after the first brood they chose another house right next to the first one, Mama laid four more eggs, they hatched and three of the four made it! They chose yet another house close by and Mama laid another four eggs, they hatched and Mama was always there when I put out worms. One evening when I was putting worms out for them I noticed that Mama was not around? The next day, same thing! I worried about her and her four newly hatched baby’s! By the third day I knew something had happened to her. I cried my eyes out heartbroken, Daddy blue cried and cried, and what about those four newly hatched baby’s? At first dad was not feeding them nor would he keep them warm at night. I did not really know what to do? I read everything I could on this situation hoping to save them but almost everything said to just let things be. But I had to do something to give these little bb’s a chance. I gathered up a bunch of pine needles and put them in the box to keep them warmer. I cut up some meal worms and fed them with tweezers. Dad finally started to feed them but not nearly enough and upon a box check I found one dead baby. More crying and expecting to lose the rest of them.
Finally some luck! The weather here in New England has been very dry and warm with no real cold nights. Dad stepped it up and started to feed the baby’s a lot more, with extra pine needles and warm dry weather the baby’s seemed to be warm enough. The meal worms I put out for Dad to feed them allowed them to grow fast and strong. The second brood showed up to help out it seemed? and low and behold those three little baby’s fledged and are almost feeding on there own at the worm feeder today!
I am SOOO proud of Daddy Blue, he really did a superior job bringing up those three baby’s on his own and in my opinion the very most important thing is feeding of meal worms!!
My yard is full of blue birds and I smile when I see them. I still cry for Mama but I know that my beautiful blue Dad will find another mate and hopefully be back next year.
I know a lot of you understand the pain of the loss of a BB, we cry and cry. But for me this year all the tears turned to smiles because my yard is so blue with wings.August 22, 2016 at 1:35 pm #2879David in Stafford,VAParticipant
Good for you. Congratulations in a pretty trying effort to save a clutch of young blues. It is good to hear that the male bird did weather the “grieving”, fed the young and helped bring them to a successful fledge.
Stafford, VAAugust 23, 2016 at 8:53 am #2882
Dave. Is is normal for Dad to take over the role of Mama blue? I wasn’t sure at first if he was going to do what he did? I did not feel comfortable doing what I did but I just could not let them starve to death. I know that if there was just eggs dad would not sit on them? I lucked out on the warm dry weather here in New England, the nights were warm enough.
Even though I dedicate a lot of my time learning about what to do, I know I have a lot more to learn. Any feedback is welcome if anyone has any to help me out if ever this happens again.
Thank you all for helping me over the years!August 25, 2016 at 7:28 pm #2884tamseaModerator
A sweet story.
TammyAugust 25, 2016 at 8:39 pm #2885dogsandbirdsModerator
By providing mealworms as a supplement you did the very best thing you could do. It is normal and quite common for a single adult male or female to raise chicks. As long as they hatch in temperate weather they usually survive just fine. Trouble comes when the female goes missing before hatching or before a day or so after that. Trouble also comes when the female goes missing in cool weather and can’t brood the hatchlings to keep them warm. When at all possible, a single adult will continue to feed the chicks because that is the biological imperative at work.
Congratulations on your and his success!
Atlanta, GAAugust 26, 2016 at 8:00 pm #2887Love my blues!Participant
So very sorry you lost your female, but proud of Papa for stepping it up! Seems like you really helped him with those mealworms! Bless his heart!
NicoleAugust 27, 2016 at 12:36 pm #2890David in Stafford,VAParticipant
I am sorry that I missed this post. I think that Gin answered your question very well. I have not experienced the loss of a parent bird. But from what I have read, Gin is correct that a single parent will assume the prime caretaker role. It might take a bit of time (I assume that there is a “grieving” or questioning time following the loss), but survival and protection instincts seem to be pretty strong in our bluebirds.
You did the right thing.
Stafford, VAAugust 30, 2016 at 7:22 am #2893
Thank you all for the great responses!
All three of Dad’s baby’s have fledged safely, two started to feed themselves from the meal worm feeder. There was one cute little runt that Dad had to feed for a little while but is now feeding on his own! Mom and Dad blue brought nine baby blues into this world this year! With any luck I will see one or two again….. with mates?
GinaAugust 30, 2016 at 7:27 am #2894
Next year is what I hope for to see this years broods (I meant)September 6, 2016 at 2:58 pm #2914dogsandbirdsModerator
I think that Gin answered your question very well. I have not experienced the loss of a parent bird. But from what I have read, Gin is correct…
After decades of hosing native cavity nesting birds, I would hope I could answer a few questions like this!
Yep, there’s going to be a little “puzzlement” going on for a bit. However, the drive to reproduce takes over very quickly.
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