May 8, 2023 at 8:19 am #27135
Hi all, I’m hoping you might give me some advice. I don’t closely monitor inside the bluebird house, but I observe it very carefully from my breezeway with my binoculars ….
On Friday, we saw a baby poke its head out of the birdhouse later in the day, and it looked like he was getting ready to fledge. We assume he might have been the last one to leave, as the parents hadn’t been feeding as much inside the house that day and had been sitting on top of the house a lot more.
We assumed the bird would fledge the next day, but our neighbor was putting up a new roof, which caused a lot of noise/activity right in the bluebird area. We basically didn’t see the parents all day so we assumed that all the birds had fledged.
But, over the past two days, I’ve seen the father bird occasionally going into the house, which was surprising to me, as I hadn’t seen this behavior before when the fledglings left. Usually, we’d just see the parents at the feeders. I hadn’t looked inside, though, as I didn’t want to frighten a fledgling.
But, as it’s been two days now, I decided to look in this morning, and I did unfortunately see a baby in there. He looked asleep, but who knows????
I’m not sure what to do ….. Should I open up the house and see if the bird might still have some life? Is there anything that could be done to help the bird at this point if it’s not fledged with the rest?? Why is the father bluebird still coming to check on this one???
Any advice would be much appreciated!!!May 8, 2023 at 10:57 am #27137Carol – Mid-Mo.Participant
If you tickle the bird with a feather or something very light, he will move if he is alive. They have a way of “playing dead” if they see something/someone looking in the hole but will move if they are tickled or touched somehow. Since the father bluebird is still coming around makes me think the baby is alive. It is possible the baby has a foot caught in something inside the box, like a string or something. As far as the noise, I had this very same thing (home’s roof being put on) but my babies still fledged along with the parents help. Good luck.May 8, 2023 at 1:37 pm #27140
Carol, thanks SO much for your valuable insight! I’ll plan to give the baby a light poke this afternoon when I get home from work.
My one concern: I have a commercially made birdhouse that’s hard to open. The only way to get in there is to pry open the front door. Do you think that’s OK to do at this point? I don’t want to startle the baby, if it still is alive, but I wouldn’t be able to put my penlight and a small probe both into the peephole at the same time ….
Thank you again!!May 8, 2023 at 2:34 pm #27141David in Stafford,VAParticipant
On your door issue – I have a commercially built nestbox also and have sanded each side of the door. After this little one has fledged, you could open the door and lightly sand the side edges until they open easier. Not too much as it should still close securely when you have finished. If the nestbox is made of wood, it will expand and become tighter (will not open) during high humidity and rain events. As the weather dries the door should be easier to open.
Stafford, VAMay 8, 2023 at 2:52 pm #27142
Thanks, David! The bluebird house is actually made of recycled plastic. Do you think that would still work?
Also, if you don’t mind another nestbox question …. the nestbox is blue, and I’m worried about it getting too hot in the summer! Since the fledglings just took off, do you think it would be a problem to take the house down for a day to repaint it? Would that discourage the parents from starting another brood?
Thanks so much, everyone!May 9, 2023 at 5:19 pm #27153David in Stafford,VAParticipant
I have never liked the recycled plastic houses, so I don’t know about their heat characteristics. I do have a Trek composite board deck. The deck gets very hot in the summer. You cannot walk on it with bare feet. For that reason- anything that you can do to cool the temperature inside the box will help the birds. I have a piece of 1/2″ Styrofoam with two 1/2″ spacers for air flow in on the Southwest side of my nestbox to deter the heat. If it gets too warm (90+ degrees for an extended period) I put a piece on top also.
I always take my nestbox down after each fledging. I remove the old nest, clean it out with soap and water and let it dry, repair anything that needs to be fixed and the put it back for the next nest. That would be a good time to lightly sand the sides of the door.
The pair will return in about 1-2 weeks to start a new brood. If they liked the house before they will probably defend it from another pair.
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