August 5, 2017 at 5:59 pm #5937
I really didn’t think our two nestlings would live through the heat spell, but I now have hope.
Weather channels claim the little town near us had three days of 100+ readings for this past Tuesday through Thursday, like 101, 106, 104. Ninety plus readings are now common and beginning to seem like the “cooler” days.
Our own outdoor thermometers did not read higher than 103, but we also had very bad smoggy air due to fires up in British Colombia. Maybe the dense air helped keep us cooler than the 109 that I read was forecast at one point.
I was so convinced the nestlings would not survive I questioned having our bander come out. But he came anyway.
I have been doing a variety of things to help the cause, and now I’m hopeful. They are 15 days old today and this morning I could hear eager chirping coming from the box.
I wonder if it would be helpful to have on this website a list of things to try if the weather turns really hot before fledging.
Willamette Valley, OregonAugust 5, 2017 at 8:53 pm #5938
You should be out of the woods!
I recommend LOTS of live mealworms at this point. For moisture.
You only have 2 days for fledge.The weather is cooler. You’ve got this!August 6, 2017 at 8:54 pm #5949dogsandbirdsModerator
Cari, the list of things to try in defending against heat is pretty short: really good ventilation, heat shielding, shade, thick walls, large roof overhang, facing the box away from afternoon sun.
Atlanta, GAAugust 7, 2017 at 12:32 am #5955
Those ae good, Gin. Another might be to increase mealworm feedings. On our hot over 100 degree afternoons I offered a lot more mealworms than usual. I figured that would help keep the parents as well as the nestlings healthy. The parents didn’t need to work as hard when there were mealworms easily available. And healthy parents are probably one of the most important ways to save the babies.
Have you ever heard of anyone placing ice (like used in ice chests) placed on top of the bluebird box? I did that during some of the hottest hours, replacing it with a fresh one after a couple hours or so. I didn’t know if it would help; but figured it wouldn’t hurt.
Lisa, do yours fledge at 17 days? The ones I have observed & recorded are most usually around 21 days, although one time they started at 18 days. I wonder if western bluebirds are the same in this way as eastern; I should check that out.
Willamette Valley, OregonAugust 7, 2017 at 11:15 pm #5962
Mine are usually 17 days! I keep forgetting that you are in the Northwest because your heat is unheard of! I grew up in the PNW and never remember heat like that!August 7, 2017 at 11:18 pm #5963
This is really a miracle. 10 day forecast all in the 80’s! Normal here in august is upper 90’s every day. So lucky! Now if I just can stay free of snakes, raccoons, and all other badness we should be OK!August 10, 2017 at 11:59 am #5971
Yesterday one fledged from the nest at 19 days. When I went to clean out the nest I found the other one dead inside. Yes, I’m disappointed that both did not survive, but happy we could save one.
I think the nestling died soon before the other one fledged. There was no odor and it just looked like it was taking a nap. Even though it probably survived the three worst days, we have had prolonged heat and in addition our air quality has been bad due to fires further north in British Columbia.
The one surviving surely has a lot of family to help it survive. Maybe they will bring him/her to the feeder one of these days. Yesterday five of the family were here in the evening for mealworms; then they took off, likely to share with the hidden fledgling somewhere hidden away.
Willamette Valley, OregonAugust 10, 2017 at 12:16 pm #5972
I am so,so sorry! When I lose my bluebird babies it really hurts. So happy one made it! I believe he will grow up to be very strong and special….August 10, 2017 at 1:36 pm #5975Carol – Mid-Mo.Participant
Cari, sorry about the one not making it – I imagine we are all lucky to have had any survive that one week of 98-100 degrees. Yes, he will probably be spoiled by the parents & siblings.August 11, 2017 at 8:26 am #5981dogsandbirdsModerator
What a bummer but at least that one did fledge.
Next year no heat waves allowed up there! Do you have air conditioning? I know in some parts of the country almost nobody does because the heat isn’t like down here most of the time.
Atlanta, GAAugust 11, 2017 at 6:22 pm #5985
Yes, we have a heat pump that includes air conditioning. Just too bad I could not invite the bluebirds inside! Some of them were back yesterday evening and again this morning. They look really bedraggled and exhausted.
We also have had the added problem of honey bees taking over their bird bath during the hot weather right when the birds need it most. I love honey bees, but not in the bird bath! If anyone else ever has this problem, I accidentally stumbled on a possible remedy although I still do not know why it worked.
My objective was to try locating water on different sides of the house from the bird bath and see if the bees would not stray in those directions. Well, the one I placed furthest away was discovered no problem.
But I placed a couple pans of water in a wheelbarrow for the other location that was closer to the bird bath. The honeybees do not go there. I don’t know why. But maybe it has something to do with the placement of the water down low with sides that block the view? Or maybe they just don’t like wheelbarrows!
I see bluebirds flying up to the empty box. Since the older siblings were helping with the nestlings, it may be confusing for these youngsters that the nest & nestling have disappeared. It is sad to watch.
Willamette Valley, Oregon
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