July 28, 2017 at 12:24 am #5833
Just over the fence, five bluebird eggs hatched on Tuesday. I was a little concerned with the forecast and put up extra shade. But it wasn’t over 90 degrees and maybe not even that much, so I really wasn’t overly worried.
But today when taking mealworms they did not appear to be feeding the nestlings.
I finally decided their behavior was just outside normal and checked the box. To my dismay there were only two live nestlings left in the nest plus one dead one. I am pretty certain it was truly dead because of the gray coloring compared to the pink live ones.
But since two were missing, I am assuming the adults were entering; otherwise they would not have been removed. I now assume they were victims of the heat.
I could beat myself up wondering if it was something I did that caused the tragedy. But ultimately a person just has to do the best they know and let it go. I need to post this:
“If you mess around with bluebirds, chances are heartbreak will interrupt the joy sooner or later. Be still and listen, for the Joy shall return to sing another day.”
I will remember the early predawn morning this week when I heard bluebird song outside my window.
Willamette Valley, OregonJuly 28, 2017 at 8:31 am #5834Carol – Mid-Mo.Participant
Cari, so sorry, but this sounds more like just something wrong with the babies, not the heat. If they were just born on Tuesday, they would have needed their mama to “brood” them or keep them warm for a day or so. 90 degrees heat should not have affected them, and since two were gone parents probably did remove them because they were dead or had some genetic or physical deformity. Are the two live ones left still being fed or what – is your mama around still? You really need to remove the dead one if there are 2 live ones still because the decay of that dead will will draw bad things, like ants, or maggots, etc.
You did all you knew (by helping with the heat) and the best you could do. And yes, there is definitely heartbreak, but like the saying goes, joy will return.July 28, 2017 at 11:25 am #5835
Yes, I plan to remove the dead one this morning; just want to give the mama a chance to do it herself rather than interfere since it appears she has already removed two. Anything is possible, but since her first clutch of the season was so successful, I had so hoped this would simply be a repeat.
And yes she was there yesterday. The first odd behavior was when I took mealworms and no one came to get them. Then as I was about to leave I saw her high in a tree just sitting. She seemed to pay no attention to me or the mealworms. I left thinking perhaps that is what she was waiting for.
Later I returned and at least some of the worms were still in the feeder. Both male & female plus one of the fledglings from the earlier clutch were on hand. They went for the mealworms but were not entering the box. I’ve also seen this behavior when they seemed to be just protecting their nest. So I sat and watched awhile. The really unusual thing was when one flew up to the box, fluttered, but did not enter. That looked odd and I decided to check.
Willamette Valley, OregonJuly 28, 2017 at 1:08 pm #5836
Well, I went prepared to remove the dead nestling. But the bluebird parents beat me to the task. Not only was the dead one removed; actually two were removed. This morning there is only one nestling left. I assume one more died since I visited the nest last night.
My strong preference is to allow “nature to take its course” if possible. So now I wait to see if the last one survives. It did not lift its head when I peeked in, but of course that is not unusual.
On the positive side, I am glad to see that the parents are being attentive to the nest. Do I dare hope they would start again if the last one dies?
I surely do wonder what happened.
Willamette Valley, OregonJuly 28, 2017 at 2:05 pm #5837
That’s how my first nest went this year. The last one I had such high hopes for! he eventually didn’t make it either. I blamed wrens but he was intact, in the nest, fed until the end. I feel your pain. I don’t know how your your heat is but beware, they will probably try to make a very quick turnaround.July 29, 2017 at 11:49 am #5852dogsandbirdsModerator
Oh Cari. Like Carol, I don’t think it was heat because 90 isn’t so bad as long as there is ventilation. You have that, right?
Atlanta, GAJuly 29, 2017 at 11:59 am #5854
Are Western blues less heat tolerant? I have no clue. But 90 should have been fine. Fingers crossed only one 90 degree day here but still not getting hopes up…July 29, 2017 at 3:05 pm #5855
I agree they should have survived with 90 degree weather. But now that I see the forecast, it may be just as well they didn’t survive for whatever reason. Here’s the degrees they say ae coming our way next week: Monday-92; Tuesday-99; Wednesday-106; Thursday-102!
I have no reason to think the remaining nestling hatched Tuesday will live through that, or any others still in nests in the area. Even the two nestlings at our box near the house (8 days old today) are not likely to survive that kind of heat.
We may all just dry up and blow away. Ugh!
Willamette Valley, OregonJuly 29, 2017 at 8:10 pm #5866
That is horrible heat! Unreal!August 1, 2017 at 6:44 pm #5893
The last nestling died before the heat hit our valley. Mama was faithfully removing the dead ones and keeping the nest clean until the last one died. Then I guess there was no reason to clean it out any more. It remains a mystery what happened.
She left a perfectly fine nest that I will likely give to Prescott Bluebird Recovery http://prescottbluebird.com/
They save gently used nests for possible rain soaked ones found on the bluebird trails. They just trade the damaged one for a the gently used one. That could save lives of nestlings in substandard housing!
Willamette Valley, OregonAugust 1, 2017 at 9:23 pm #5895Carol – Mid-Mo.Participant
So sorry, Cari – I just posted on your other thread about moving the box and thought you had come up with a good solution. You tried your best.August 1, 2017 at 9:35 pm #5897dogsandbirdsModerator
Cari, since they lost all of these maybe they will try again this season. How late have you ever had a nest?
Atlanta, GAAugust 1, 2017 at 10:14 pm #5898
Carol, my posts may be confusing because the two posts refer to TWO different nests. The one by my house where I am preparing for the heat is not the same as the one where all the newly hatched nestlings died.
The nestlings in the box where I have devised a rather elaborate “tree” for heat protection (the one I referred to in the post about How Hot is Too Hot) are 11 days old. I hope you take a look at the “tree”; it reminds me of a great big pink hat. I can watch this family of bluebirds from my window.
The nestlings that died are over the fence at our neighbor’s place. But I am the one who tends them.
Gin, I wonder the same thing. I have not seen a nest start this late, but then again, I have never seen this result with newly hatched nestlings.
I made the decision to discard the last dead nestling, but leave the nest for now, just in case. I read somewhere recently that leaving the gently used nest could facilitate a quicker start on a new family. For that reason I didn’t offer it to the volunteers who came to band the 11 day old nestlings at our house.
Willamette Valley, OregonAugust 2, 2017 at 12:49 am #5901
I would personally discard the nest since you don’t know the cause, just in case of pesticides or something.August 4, 2017 at 1:33 am #5926
I have a new theory about what happened to the five newly hatched nestlings. HOSP.
We had not been seeing HOSP for some time. My revolving door trap was catching only the birds I did not want to catch. And I was hoping we had pretty much eradicated the little beasts from our area. I was pretty confident since the sparrow spooker was up just in case.
But yesterday evening I heard what sounded like HOSP. Couldn’t spot them; but it sure sounded like them. And then out of the blue this morning one appeared on our bluebird feeding area. Then it was out on the swallow box calling for a mate. I set up the Van Ert trap, but it apparently left.
So tomorrow I plan to put the Van Ert back in, figuring it is likely to return. And I may relocate the evolving door trap nearer the that box.
Willamette Valley, Oregon
- You must be logged in to reply to this topic.