Puzzled: Mama BB not helping

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  • #5315
    Maybelle
    Participant

      Has anyone ever seen only the male feed nestlings when the female is still alive? In one of the three boxes I am monitoring, it appears to be happening with Papa in charge of the five nestlings. I hear them LOUDLY demanding attention and wonder if they are hungry. I wondered if something happened to the female, but have reason to think she may still be hanging around.

      Cari
      Willamette Valley, Oregon

      #5320
      Carol – Mid-Mo.
      Participant

        Cari, I imagine she is just taking a break, she says “After all, I sat on this nest for 14 days, now it is your turn for a while”. I imagine you are just missing her “few” trips to feed.

        #5321
        tamsea
        Moderator

          How long have you been watching at one particular time, Cari?

          Tammy

          #5329
          Maybelle
          Participant

            I have not watched for very long at one time; probably less than a half hour. However, when I stop by with mealworms I have watched until they are gone. She never helps. Often as I approach I can hear them demanding loudly. Since it appears he may be attending 5 by himself, I am more generous with mealworms than would be otherwise.

            Cari
            Willamette Valley, Oregon

            #5338
            dogsandbirds
            Moderator

              When the chicks reach a certain age, they are always loud when an adult shows up. That is normal. It sounds like whether or not she is feeding them is up for debate. I wouldn’t worry as long as the male is feeding them. Maybe that is just their division of labor.

              Gin
              Atlanta, GA

              #5344
              Maybelle
              Participant

                It is their loud cries even when no adult seems to be around that caught my attention. And that no one sees a female. I just have never seen this happen when both adult bluebirds were still alive. The usual behavior when I put out a bunch of yummy mealworms is they take turns feeding the young. In and out, back & forth. But not this time. We’ll keep observing. And hoping.

                Cari
                Willamette Valley, Oregon

                #5345
                tamsea
                Moderator

                  Why do you have reason to think she’s still around? I just figured you have seen her. If you haven’t seen her for days then I think something happened to her and all you can do is just keep doing what you are doing. But, only watching for 30 minutes will not tell you enough. How old are they?

                  Tammy

                  #5360
                  Maybelle
                  Participant

                    We saw her less frequently for awhile before not seeing her at all. In other words, it was not an abrupt change. And one time recently I thought MAYBE I saw her out along the fence line but I was not quick enough to get a photo for proof.

                    She was not seen when the volunteer from our local Bluebird Recovery group came to band the nestlings on June 26 when we believed them to be 10 days old. The nestlings should be 19 days old now and ready to fledge any time. But of course they will be completely dependent for quite a while.

                    One possibility I have considered is that since they had such a late start for their first clutch, perhaps she is already preparing the second nest. A couple years ago I observed a pair that had a nest in a new box in the neighbor’s field for the spring clutch and then before they fledged she was building in another nest in a box close to our neighbor’s house where the neighbors enjoyed watching them from their deck.

                    Bluebirds always keep me guessing!

                    • This reply was modified 6 years, 10 months ago by Maybelle.

                    Cari
                    Willamette Valley, Oregon

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