First Fledge, now what?

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      I’m very new to this, but my first brood of four babies has fledged today. Now the nestbox is empty. The parents are feeding the kids high in the pine trees and everything seems OK. Mom and Dad like the meal worm feeder I installed forty feet away from the nestbox. I’ve been keeping it stocked and hope that it has helps them somewhat.

      So now what? I have an empty nest in the vacant nest box and I’d like to encourage them to have another if it is not too late this year (I’m in central VA). Do I clean out the nest, wash the poop off the walls of the box and re-grease the post to keep the ants at bay? Do I leave the old nest? Do they typically reuse them? Forgive my ignorance, but I’m simply happy that Mom and Dad hit a home run with some very healthy kids!

      • This topic was modified 7 years, 10 months ago by Cheetie.

        Congratulations on a successful fledge! And welcome to the forum.

        Yes, you should definitely clean out the old nest. Wear gloves and put the old nest in a baggie and dispose of it. Leaving old nest material on the ground nearby can motivate predators to search an entire area for the source.

        Bluebirds and other cavity nesters will build a new nest on top of the old one if you leave it. The resulting height of two nests puts it dangerously close to the entry, providing predators an easier reach inside.

        If you apply grease to the pole make sure it’s under a baffle so the birds can’t contact it.

        Good luck and let us know if they nest again.

        Waleska, GA


          thanks for the guidance. I hope we can get one more out before the end of the summer. It has been a wonderful experience for me and the kids.


          Cheetie, I am in Stafford, VA. I just had my second flrdge a couple of days ago and I expect another nest in a couple of weeks. In most years I have had 3 nestings.

          We mentioned in another thread that the Bbirds may start a new nest from a couple of days to 3-4 weeks following the fledge of a brood. It depends on when the female is ready to start a new brood.

          The only thing that you can do is clean out the nestbox and wait until they are ready. It sounds like you have all the basics. Just be patient.

          For a lot of good information about monitoring bluebirds you should visit this website. It is probably the premiere for bluebird information source in the web.( )

          Happy 4th


          Stafford, VA

          Rich K

            Terrific news! Don’t be surprised if they “disappear” for a few days or even 2 weeks. Normally if they are going to have another clutch it is 2-3 weeks after to give the female chance to recover. No guarantees though BUT they will likely be back next year! Just be sure nothing else wants to nest in the box. I had a House Wren that get stuffing the first box with sticks. The Blues picked another box that now has 4 – 4 day old chicks! Congrats!! It’s such a thrill to help these beautiful songbirds isn’t it!!?? :bluebird:


              That’s great news Cheetie! I’d like to add when cleaning out the old nest after the baby blues have fledged I use a spray bottle with scalding hot water. It helps break down any fecal matter the babies left inside that often gets caked on the insides of the box. The hot water will also kill any mites or other insects and wash them out of the nestbox as well. Once its cleaned out, simply leave the nestbox open for a couple hours to dry. Once it’s dry inside close it and it will be ready for the bluebirds when they return for their next brood. Most of the time if the bluebirds had success with their 1st nesting in your nestbox they may return for a 2nd nesting.

              in PA

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