July 11, 2017 at 12:45 pm #5476
Hello everyone. I am so low today that I really have to question if I have what it takes to be a good landlord to blues. About little over a week ago, I was on top of the world with my bluebirds and tree swallows. I had fledglings everywhere and Mama and Papa blue were already tending five new eggs. I noticed a lot of heartache on the forum, so I really tried to share some positive moments. . .like my whole bluebird family (two adults and five babies) adorning my dogwood tree.
Well, over the course of the week, one-by-one, my bluebird babies have perished. I found remains of one under a tree a week ago and my husband reluctantly told me that he found one dead along the road (apparently struck by a car). I don’t know what happened to the other two, but for the last three days, I watched as papa blue doted on the one special surviving baby. He fought off mockingbirds to get worms for the little one. I was distressed at losing all of the other babies, but I kept telling myself that this lone baby would get tons of attention and grow to be a beautiful strong bluebird.
Today I found remains of another bluebird baby under a pine while I was cutting grass. The papa has sat alone all day on a wire just above the tree. To say the least, I am heartbroken. I have to ask myself if it’s worth it. Sparrow spookers, wren guards, raccoon baffles, meal worms. . .for what. Just so I can release my babies into an environment that is chock full of hawks, cats, crows. I don’t know what got them. All I know is that I have five eggs that are due to hatch this weekend, and instead of excitement I feel dread. If all of the contraptions on my birdhouse manage to protect them, I know what awaits them when they fly.
PennsylvaniaJuly 11, 2017 at 1:23 pm #5477
I completely feel your pain..
I swear every year I am going to take up another hobby…
But the blues never ever give up. And we can’t either.July 11, 2017 at 1:25 pm #5478
I don’t know if you saw my post about them building a new nest 5 days after fledge. I dread the heat that awaits them. But I guess if even one survives it’s worth it in the end. I am so sorry. Believe me, I totally understand…July 11, 2017 at 1:47 pm #5479Carol – Mid-Mo.Participant
Susan, I can feel your pain, but we must remember these are wild birds – yes there are many predators out there and therefore the survival rate of new blues is pretty low. However, if you look at the statistics from the NABS the number of bluebirds has rises almost steadily since 1978 and this in large is due to people putting out nestboxes and trying to help them. Before this time they were almost on the endangered list. We do all we can to help, and yes, it is sometimes heartbreaking, but we must not give up. By the way, those two that you did not find remains of are probably out there somewhere. I see 4 of my 5 last fledglings all the time, and only once in a while do I see that 5th one. Come on, now, you can do it.July 11, 2017 at 2:00 pm #5480BradParticipant
I’ve learned in another part of my life that I must learn to accept the things I cannot change, have the courage to change the things I can, and seek the wisdom to know the difference.
My role in helping bluebirds is to provide a nesting cavity and do my best to safeguard it from predators. Beyond that nature will run its course and I have to accept that.
I have no control over what happens to the birds after the leave my box (and to a fair extent while they are in it) and I just have to accept that I’m doing my best to help them and what will come after that is just part of nature.
Life is full of ups and downs but I just have to look at the big picture as much as possible.July 11, 2017 at 2:15 pm #5481
Thank you for the encouragement. I was doing fine with the previous losses. I just had a lot of hope pinned on this one beautiful baby. On Sunday, I took pictures of mama, papa and their one baby sitting together on my fence. Today the baby is gone, and to be honest, I haven’t seen mama blue at all. I checked the birdhouse in the a.m., but it was empty. I checked it just a few minutes ago, but it’s just a nest with 5 eggs. It is very hot here today. I just hope she hasn’t abandoned the eggs.
PennsylvaniaJuly 11, 2017 at 5:10 pm #5496
I am just so so sorry…..July 11, 2017 at 5:26 pm #5497
When my first nest this year was lost to house wrens I had one little guy left that I named Jesus. As in “haysus” who was supposed to fledge on Easter. He was so doted on and I dreamed of how big and strong he was going to grow up to be with all of the attention and mealworms. I really fell in love with that scrappy little guy!
One day I opened up the box and that tiny little guy was dead. I cried and cried all day after burying him. It’s all just so unfair.
Since then 8 have fledged. I really don’t know how many have survived. It’s probably better that I don’t.July 11, 2017 at 5:30 pm #5499
Thank you, Lisa. Last summer, I became a bluebird newb when a pair of bluebirds decided to take up residence in a house that I honestly hung up as an ornament. I was thrust into the center of bluebirding when the papa suddenly died, and I found myself on this forum begging for help as the mama struggled to feed the brood on her own during a horrific heatwave.
I received so much help and advice. I learned about mealworms and spookers, and I helped this widow mama until the little ones fledged. Once out of the house, the babies did great. They stayed around for meal worms and visited my bird bath for drinks all winter. I just never expected this 5-baby brood to end so badly. I took so many pictures, and now they just make me sad.
But there is a glimmer of hope. I saw my mama blue re-enter the birdhouse about a half hour ago. Papa was watching over her on my fence. I am sad, but I just have to keep on going. Thanks, again for your kindness.
PennsylvaniaJuly 11, 2017 at 5:42 pm #5503MaybelleParticipant
Oh so sorry! It’s so easy to get attached, but unlike with household pets, we just cannot control the outcome. I have the audacity to name the pairs I watch from our window. Our first female, Maybelle, was with us from 2012-2015 when she flew away with her spring fledglings and never returned. Maybelle was known to add a feather or two to decorate her nests; the only Western Bluebird we have seen do that. And she was bluer than some Western Bluebird females we have seen. I have lots of photos. And her departure still makes me sad. Here she is in http://s1043.photobucket.com/user/Caro15lyn/media/IMG_4872A_zpspilxq0fq.jpg.html?filters%5Buser%5D=146638030&filters%5Brecent%5D=1&sort=1&o=02015:
Willamette Valley, OregonJuly 11, 2017 at 6:40 pm #5504
That’s exactly how I got started. I bought a cute little tin roof house as a decoration to hang in a tree by my front porch. Never dreaming of becoming a bluebird freak. I have learned so much through heartache!July 11, 2017 at 7:02 pm #5507
Thanks, Cari, and thank you for sharing the beautiful picture of Maybelle. She really is pretty. I know I shouldn’t get so attached to these birds, but it is hard.
PennsylvaniaJuly 11, 2017 at 8:03 pm #5511DeneParticipant
We started out with Martin’s an quit because of the Sparrows so many and awful birds they killed 9 of the Martin eggs one year so we finally quit then we moved a few years later and I thought the Blues would be easier because not so high up. Well we have no sparrows so far (Knock on wood) but we lost the second bunch as they did not hatch, and I had no clue that the blues had more than one bunch,the Martins don’t, and I thought only sparrow’s had more. Well we have learned a lot now and thinking when we retire we may do both and hope for the best because the one’s that are native are all having a hard time now days with the birds brought here from other countries and someone has to help keep them here or they will all be gone because of the other birds taking over.July 11, 2017 at 8:36 pm #5513nhhawk6Participant
Susan, I am so sorry for your heartache and pain. I can only hope that it begins to ease soon. Please know that you have been wonderful to your bluebirds, and I will always believe that they know when we care. The outcome is often not what we would wish for, but the outcome is not the joy we seek. The joy happens every day. We give to them, and they give back to us. Without question, bluebird “chatter” represents complex communication between our favorite birds, but I am convinced that on occasion, they do it for our benefit, alone. They know it makes us smile. The joy happens every day, indeed.
Bedford, New HampshireJuly 11, 2017 at 10:25 pm #5516
`thanks Randy! That was perfect!
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