April 19, 2017 at 1:33 pm #3792MamaBlue009Participant
Hello expert bluebirders! I’m kind of a newbie to this and I need your help. My eight year old daughter and I put up a bluebird box over a year ago, and spent all last summer trying to convince (haha) bluebirds to come to our yard, where we had been feeding all kinds of other birds. It didn’t work last year, but this year we have a sweet pair of bluebirds that decided they like our yard and our box. They built a nest and laid four eggs, but on that fourth day, the eggs were attacked and destroyed. I did a lot of research and decided the predator was likely a house wren. So we waited for the bluebirds to come back and try again and after she laid the first egg, I put up a wren guard. I made sure to follow all the specifications. We watched for the rest of the day (many hours), but neither bluebird would enter the nest with the guard up. They would sit on the top, flutter around, etc…but never went under the guard to go in. So I put a piece of cardboard angled down from the roof of the house hoping that would cover the hole enough to deter the wren (I couldn’t see the hole when looking above the box or on eye level either) but still allowing the bluebirds to enter. It seemed to work for the next few days as the bluebird laid two more eggs. But today, I checked the box and all the eggs have been attacked and destroyed. :( I am so sad and my daughter will be too! There were several feathers in the nest that makes me think the bluebird may have tried to defend the eggs. They are definitely house wren feathers.
My question is what do I do now? The bluebirds are flying around the nest and it’s making me sad. Will they keep trying? If they try again, what do I do differently to protect their eggs?
Really appreciate your help!April 19, 2017 at 5:39 pm #3793Carol – Mid-Mo.Participant
First of all, Welcome! Once the house wren knows where the box/hole is, it is going to be hard to keep them away. Is your box located in wren habitat, like lots of brush or shrubs around it? The only thing I can think of is to move the pole and box to a different location if possible, so they can’t find the box as easily. Unfortunately, we all learn from mistakes – your first nest should have had a guard up right after the first egg and the wrens maybe wouldn’t have located the hole. As far as the parents not going in after the installation of a guard or spooker, this is not customary, as they are committed to that nest once an egg is laid. However, it does take some females a little more time than others to accept it, but they usually do. I assume you did remove the old nest, didn’t you? Others forum members will chime in here to help you soon. I have been bluebirding 9 seasons now and have had some eggs destroyed by HOWR 2 or 3 times only. The key I believe is for them not to spot the hole to begin with. Also be sure your clearance (from hole to guard) on the wren guard is minimum of 2 1/2″ and we now truly believe 3″ is much better for the mama/parents to enter. I’m assuming you have found the http://www.sialis.org website in doing your research, as it is truly the one to use. Good luck & keep us posted.April 20, 2017 at 7:57 pm #3812dogsandbirdsModerator
Carol, you said it all I think. So sad. Does everybody know how I feel about HOWR?
Atlanta, GAApril 25, 2017 at 7:50 pm #3876tamseaModerator
And your positive that it is not a house sparrow, right?
TammyApril 25, 2017 at 7:52 pm #3877tamseaModerator
Maybe you could put up a second box and hopefully the bluebirds will check it out and try that one an easy maybe the wrens will stay with that box. A lot of maybes. Then you could put a wren guard on that one when the first egg is laid.
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