June 2, 2016 at 11:29 am #2189
After picking up the body of the dead father yesterday, I thought the worst that could happen was the female would abandon the nest. Well, there was at least one more surprise for me a short time ago. Again I saw a robin, worms in his mouth, perched on the box just as he was yesterday right before I discovered the dead father. The robin left as I approached. When I opened the nest box I expected to see two or maybe three eggs depending on whether the female laid one this morning.
Instead I found one. Then I looked down and there were two eggs lying in the grass at the base of the pole. One had been cracked open. The other was intact. I put the broken one far away in the woods and returned the still warm egg to the nest. I know it was a hopeless gesture. No sign as of yet of a house wren. Is that the only possible culprit? Could the robin be responsible for this? A snake? In all the years on and off that I’ve had bluebirds, here and at school, I’ve never seen a robin use a bb house as a look out perch or more the way this one does. He seems almost territorial. My experience has been the two species have ignored each other.
What’s next? I need to find out what’s going on before I encourage another nesting. This has been the season from h…..June 2, 2016 at 12:34 pm #2192The Original Bluebird NutAdmi-nut-strator
Here’s where a nestbox cam would come in handy! Very hard to say what is going on here. I don’t think it’s possible for the Robin to get inside the nestbox – it would be too fat, IMHO. If anyone else knows differently, I’d love to hear it.
TMB StudiosJune 2, 2016 at 1:01 pm #2195
I’m definitely not an expert, but wouldn’t see how the robin could intervene unless the hole is large enough? HOSP? Squirrel? Doesn’t sound like a snake. I’m sure someone else would know better from experience. So so sorry, Evie!!
NicoleJune 2, 2016 at 4:26 pm #2199
I agree the hole is too small for a Robin, BUT I have this Robin sitting on top of the BB house chirping away as if looking for a mate. It’s so weird since I’ve never had Robins land there and perform this way before. He/she almost reminds me of a house wren in behavior.
As for the cam, I might be interested depending on the cost. Any suggestions about that or the latest insanity. (Still can’t get the picture of that magnificent dead male out of my head )June 2, 2016 at 8:02 pm #2203
Evie, I’m interested in getting a nest cam for next season. Think you can get a wireless cam for around $100. Tragic about that beautiful male! Feel your pain. We get so attached, don’t we? Again, so sorry for all that you & yours have been through!
NicoleJune 2, 2016 at 8:36 pm #2207Carol – Mid-Mo.Participant
That pierced egg on the ground was surely work of a house wren. Last year I had 4 eggs in a box which I was not aware of, and by the time I was able to get another wren guard up, a wren had pierced & thrown out 3 of the 4 eggs on the ground. That lone egg was incubated and did fledge. In regard to the robin, it couldn’t get in & probably would not try, since they are not cavity nesters. They are curious like all other birds and will sit atop of anything for a while. Robins & bluebirds are both members of the Thrush species of birds, like cousins, and do cohabit quite well usually. Good luck – keep us informed.June 3, 2016 at 2:01 am #2208
Oh, was the egg on the ground pierced? I thought it was cracked, which made me think something other than wren. Still learning…
NicoleJune 3, 2016 at 9:03 am #2210Carol – Mid-Mo.Participant
Pierced or cracked – really hard to determine. I don’t believe anyone has actually witnessed this occurrence, if so – let’s hear it (whether they are pierced after thrown on ground or vise-versa). Unless it was really like broken to pieces or smashed, I would still say wren – anything else would probably eat them.June 6, 2016 at 11:13 am #2261
Wrens pierce eggs while picking them up to toss out of the nest. Sometimes the piercing causes an egg to crack open completely. After all, why be careful handling somebody else’s eggs? Has anybody looked at that beak? It’s perfect for killing an egg.
Robins, mockers and others will use any convenient perch as a hunting spot. It sounds like that is what he’s doing.
Atlanta, GAJune 6, 2016 at 4:03 pm #2270
Once,again thanks for your thoughts. Here is the latest. As I mentioned, two eggs were tossed from the nest. I returned one. I know everyone thought a wren was the culprit. And maybe that’s so. But there has been absolutely no sign of one. My experience has always been, they toss and then they claim the box.
Instead, the widowed female laid another egg and is incubating the clutch despite being alone. I’d like to help her out with mealworms. However, for the first time ever, the robins only come to the dish. I shoo them away to no avail. And this female has no clue about the worms. My whistle and the white dish mean nothing to her. I’m not sure how to make her aware without the robins usurping the action. Any suggestions? (I think the robins have taken up the nest boxes as viewing sites because I have no tree swallows who I’m sure would not have tolerated the robins’ presence.)
This is a season like no other.June 7, 2016 at 5:39 am #2271
I have a problem with robins (& mockingbirds)taking over the mealworm feeder. First, I have changed feeders to where the bigger birds can”t get to the mealworms (still working on getting bluebirds to take to it). Before this, I would put mealworms in the regular feeder & hang another dish of mealworms on the pole right below the box just for the bluebird family. This way, they can both have their mealworms. The only thing is that I make sure I’m around when I do this & take dish down before sun goes down (don’t want to attract predators to box via the mealworms). I got my pole at Wild Birds Unlimited & they have a hanger/dish that fits right on the pole. I know you have to be careful about that robin perching on top, but they have no interest in getting to those babies. They just want the mealworms. When I put mealworms in both locations, the robins always use the regular feeder & the bluebirds always use the feeder on the pole. This would also help that Mama keep watch over her box. Some people may not agree with putting a feeder on the pole for a few hours, but it has worked beautifully for me so that the bluebirds can still have their mealworms & stay close to the box. That’s my story, but I’m sure others have their own suggestions. Hope it works out for that Mama & her potential babies!
As far as the eggs being tossed out of the box, I realize an egg can crack from being pierced & thrown out of the box, but I was just giving input based on what the Sialis site said in what may have caused cracked eggs outside of the box. My input was based on education, but I don’t have HOWR, so I wouldn’t know from experience like some of the others do. Again, really wish you the best of luck!
NicoleJune 10, 2016 at 6:38 am #2311
My experience has always been, they toss and then they claim the box.
They don’t always claim the box. Sometimes they just make the rounds, destroying all eggs and small chicks they can find in their territory. Birds that don’t nest in cavities are not exempt. If you want to read an interesting story on this activity I can find it for you.
Atlanta, GAJune 10, 2016 at 11:31 am #2316
I’d like to see the story you have. However, I just checked my box with an additional baffle in tow only to see that tragedy has struck again 😢😢😢😢 I assume it was the wren. Two tossed eggs outside the box. One egg seems to be missing. But my dog in theory could have picked that he up as he had just been out. I now, after 20 years, think I need to research wren guards. 😁 But please check the paragraph after the next one.
I have a question about the placement of my boxes. The Peterson box definitely preferred by the bluebirds is the one closest to the woods. The other box is only 10-15 away from it. Is it worth switching the two?
I have one more weird piece of information which might have to do with the latest tragedy. The widowed female who had been incubating the eggs got a new partner! As of yesterday a new male appeared and stayed with her. I watched him check out the nest box. I’m not sure whether he went all the way in, but I think I saw him do this. In fact he behavior was more like a father feeding the chicks than a partner with eggs in the nest. Is it possible he tossed the eggs???
Thanks again for your thoughts.
Should I at this point, toss the nest and see what ensues?June 10, 2016 at 11:54 am #2318tamseaModerator
I doubt those eggs will be viable now. I think you should start over. It could have been a house wren or a house sparrow.
TammyJune 12, 2016 at 10:32 am #2347
Evie, I feel your pain about the wrens. Been there, done that, bought the DVD. I NEVER let them successfully nest here.
If possible, move ALL of the boxes and face them in a different direction for a while. There is no guarantee that a wren won’t find these openings but at least he will have to hunt for them a little. Get them as far away from brush and woodsy areas as you can. You could even temporarily block the holes to further confound him.
The article: http://audubon-omaha.org/bbbox/wren.htm It’s long but worth the time.
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