June 27, 2017 at 1:02 pm #5105
Thanks to everyone who chimed in to help a technology-challenged bird-watcher. I am attaching a few photos (Thanks to Carol and Brad). I tried to do it under a different topic, so I thought I would start fresh and lose the jinx of that last thread!
Mama Blue and Incoming TRES
Mama and Papa Blue with peeking TRES
TRES on house
Baby Blue just before fledge — One week ago today :)
PennsylvaniaJune 27, 2017 at 3:15 pm #5106
Absolutely. Positively. Fantastic!
Bedford, New HampshireJune 27, 2017 at 4:00 pm #5107BradParticipant
Great pics! Glad you got it figured out.June 27, 2017 at 4:46 pm #5108Carol – Mid-Mo.Participant
Great pictures – glad you were able to post them. Boy, there is a lot going there in your yard! I have never seen this TRES & BB pairing before – looks very interesting. That is quite an interesting sparrow spooker! Also notice you have on a heat shield – good job. P.S. Don’t need wren guard for the BB box? That field of corn in the background looks good, too.June 27, 2017 at 5:44 pm #5111
Thanks to everyone for the kind comments. I have been so blessed this year with wonderful birds! I knew that it was a long-shot when I put both houses on the same pole, but I never dreamed it would be such a success. I just love the way those little tree swallows patrol the skies. It definitely provided extra protection from HOSPs for the bluebirds.
Today is the first day that the excitement has died down. The TRES babies were nowhere to be found and I only spotted papa blue one time sitting on my shed’s roof peak.
Carol, I have never used a wren guard because I have never seen a house wren in my back yard. I have seen them in the front of the house, though. In light of what I have read on here, I am thinking that maybe I should start using one even though I never had a wren attack.
My blues made a new nest, but there are no eggs. When should I install the wren guard?
PennsylvaniaJune 27, 2017 at 6:02 pm #5112
Hi, Susan! Congratulations, again, on such a successful season! Carol is expert in these matters, and I am sure she will chime in with her wren guard suggestions. Conventional wisdom suggests a stepwise approach to sparrow spooker and wren guard deployment, with the goal being acceptance of the spooker BEFORE deployment of the wren guard. That is basically what I do, with a couple of caveats: (1) In my experience, EABLs rarely balk at sparrow spookers; they simply don’t care that they are present on the box. Consequently, I put that on as soon as mama drops the first egg, and rarely give it a second thought.(2) Wren guards come in a wide variety of configurations, and each has its own acceptance “profile”, if you will. I make my own, and I do not construct them to have sides on them. They only have the main flap that “hides” the entrance hole. Because of that, it is readily accepted, especially by experienced parents. I have very little pressure from HOSP and HOWR, so I wait until after the second egg drops before deploying the wren guard. Just today, mama laid the second egg, and I put the guard on right in front of both parents. They chattered away at me, clearly voicing their displeasure with it, but mama went right back in, and papa ate a grasshopper 10 feet from my step stool.
What I need… is an “owl guard”.
Bedford, New HampshireJune 27, 2017 at 7:29 pm #5113
Thanks, Randy. I made that crazy sparrow spooker that’s on my photos, so tomorrow I will create a wren guard! As of this evening there were no eggs in the new bluebird nest, so I will make one and have it ready to roll in time for egg #2.
When does the wren guard come off?
PennsylvaniaJune 27, 2017 at 7:37 pm #5114
The wren guard should remain in place for at least 4-5 days after the eggs hatch; the rationale being that after about 5 days the nestlings should be too large for the wren to toss them out of the box. In my opinion, there are other things to consider, as well. If wrens are a serious problem in the area, I would leave it on longer; wrens don’t drop by to say “hi”, so what’s the harm in leaving it on a little longer. The two primary drivers for removing it are first, to make it easier for the parents to feed the babies, and second (and most importantly) it needs to be off to facilitate peeking and fledging.
Bedford, New HampshireJune 27, 2017 at 8:20 pm #5117
Thanks for the additional info. I’ll get right on that tomorrow! :-)
PennsylvaniaJune 27, 2017 at 9:34 pm #5120Carol – Mid-Mo.Participant
Susan, all of the above info is pretty much on target. I do leave the wren guard on a little longer than recommended – maybe 7 or 8 days, just to be sure. Like Randy says, they don’t drop by to just say Hi, so why not leave it on a little longer. BUT it must be off several days prior to fledging so they can peek & be ready and also easier for parents to feed them as they get larger. Oh, also BE SURE that the extension distance from the hole to the guard is a minimum of 2 1/2″ and preferably 3″ we now believe to be better. Good luck!June 28, 2017 at 5:29 am #5123
Will do! Thanks a bunch.
PennsylvaniaJune 28, 2017 at 6:27 pm #5133LisaParticipant
The tropical storm took my wren guard off early this year…maybe 5-6 days, but the rain was so severe I was afraid it would get plastered over the hole. Luckily, all went well….we are at day 11 and huge. Last time I left it up 7 days. The winds just kept blowing it off this time so I took my chances!June 28, 2017 at 8:48 pm #5137dogsandbirdsModerator
Susan, I have been using wren guards for about 12 years. Mine are cardboard with sides and attached with a row of thumbtacks. They need 3″ from guard to hole; 3.5 is even better. You can make a really sturdy one with a shoe box if you have one the right size. I apply them as soon as I can after first egg and watch for a bit to be sure the female will accept it. The earlier in the day you get it on the box the better because it gives her more time before she has to lay the next egg.
If you have access to a laminator, cardboard from a cracker or cereal box works fine. Lacking a shoe box or a laminator, you can give the guard a latex paint job. Anything you can to do make it more durable is a good idea. People have even covered them with packing or duct tape.
Wrens can be vicious and can easily remove a 5 day old chick. If they struggle to remove them and can’t, the chick can be fatally injured. I leave mine on until day 10.
Atlanta, GAJune 30, 2017 at 9:42 pm #5208BZ–W Ctrl MOParticipant
I always use a wren guard since my first venture (and my first tragedy) into the BB world 4 years ago. I wasn’t aware of all the pitfalls of being a BB landlord since I had yet to discover this forum and the Sialis website. My first pair laid 5 eggs in 2014, and two days later I found them all on the ground with holes pecked in them. My wren guards are built from matching cedar and hinged to the roof of the box so I can easily open the door. I always leave them on for 10 days, as we do have lots of HOWR.
BZ–W Ctrl MOJune 30, 2017 at 10:43 pm #5213LisaParticipant
I hated taking mine off early but so far they are looking good at day 12. Now snakes are the biggest worry but I am guarded up….
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