Tagged: babies killed by female bluebird
June 29, 2017 at 10:01 pm #5177
Newby here. For the last two years we were lucky enough to fledge two bluebird broods successfully from our back yard blue bird house. This year- double tragedy.
1) Despite sparrow spooker, crazed hosp attacked first brood killed three of 4. We managed to scare him off and the last baby fledged successfully.
2) Cleaned out the box,blue birds returned with junior, built another nest, laid and incubated 5 eggs.
3) Tonight I was watching the box when a female blue entered the nest. I watched her drop 4 things from the nest. When I went to investigate I found 2 viable nestlings and two tiny dead babies. We returned the larger, breathing nestlings to the nest. I watched some more only to see the female leave the nest and fly away with one of the babies in her beak. She returned without it but I just couldn’t watch any more. Dad was on the scene the whole time.
Some observations: The original female was molting and looking worn. Thinking about it, the female that dumped the brood looked quite dapper. Father Blue had nesting material in his beak as he hung around.
I get the hosp thing- Have read about it a lot. The sparrowspooker worked fine twice.
The second tragedy? My hypothesis is that some thing happened to the original Mama and Dad brought a new mate home. Could that be why she cleaned house? Has anyone observed this behavior before? I would have blamed the hosps if I hadn’t seen this with my own eyes…June 29, 2017 at 10:07 pm #5178LisaParticipant
I am soooo sorry. That is horrible and heartbreaking :(
Hugs. I know how bad it hurts :(June 30, 2017 at 9:28 pm #5205DanaParticipant
Welcome! It does sound like the male bluebird has found a new female. And this could be why she is removing the nestlings since they are not hers. She is probably “cleaning house” so to speak to make way for her upcoming brood. So sorry. Hopefully others here on the forum will chime in as to what they think.
Best wishes, DanaJune 30, 2017 at 11:39 pm #5223
I’ve never experience that or even heard it happening but I know it’s possible. You’re positive it was a female bluebird right? I don’t mean to doubt you….just is not the norm at all. I’ve had HOSP and her wrens doing that but I know you know the difference. How sad!!! So sorry. I would hate to watch that!!
TammyJuly 1, 2017 at 5:57 pm #5240
It was DEFINITELY a female blue bird. I have only hypothesized that it might have been another gal not the Mama/ hence the “cleaning House ” analogy…. Since then I have seen a scruffier female again. So I don’t know if it was the original Mama who did the deed. Maybe in the low light of dusk she only appeared to be sleeker. I am trying to get the guts up to check to see if the last one is still alive. My husband want us to take down the box. Too much heartache.July 1, 2017 at 11:57 pm #5247
I understand that sentiment but they need you! It does get easier after time. I use to cry at every baby that died etc but now I don’t. I’m sad but it just doesn’t hit me as hard. We’ll understand if you do take it down but are voting on you sticking with it.
TammyJuly 2, 2017 at 11:49 am #5248
So the last baby blue is fine and looks to be growing. With the survivor from the last brood, if this one survives the parents will have at least replaced them selves. So,in that small success, I will take heart.
Just VERY curious if anyone else has seen a bluebird mother do such a thing…July 2, 2017 at 2:42 pm #5249LisaParticipant
I’ve never seen it but I understand the feelings. Every year I have had some kind of heartache which really gets to me….but when I see those sweet things in February I just melt. I keep getting better and better at protecting them but I have no idea how to protect them from other blues.
I get really depressed when something happens to my babies. It’s unproprtional to the situation usually.
I know Ive posted this before but when my neighbor 2 doors down came over to thank me for the beautiful babies that took up in his yard it eased the pain of the first nesting loss.July 4, 2017 at 12:32 pm #5283dogsandbirdsModerator
A female wouldn’t remove her own chicks from the nest so it has to be a new female he found. She’s not about to raise chicks that aren’t her own, hence the removal. It’s all about keeping your own genes securely in the pool.
EABL are just like any other bird. If they want a nest site, they will take it if they can. I have seen males toss eggs but never a female toss chicks. It doesn’t surprise me even though I hate it. It’s just nature.
Atlanta, GAJuly 4, 2017 at 3:17 pm #5284
The nutty part about it- A female (and the male) are now raising the last nestling! Maybe it was an intruder that threw the babies out and flew off with one of the two viable ones we returned to the nest. Maybe “True” Mama was chased off and managed to return. I get the nature scenario- I guess it actually makes me dislike the HOSPs less because they are following their natures way as well. Just NEVER expected a Blue to do the dirty deed. Wonder if Hosps always get blamed even if they are not the culprits…July 5, 2017 at 12:25 am #5295
No, most of the time it’s definitely a HOSP fault because hes been actually seen competing for that box. And even though bluebirds will do these type of things it isn’t that common. By nature a HOSP is aggressive and invasive and bluebirds aren’t. Plus the HOSP beak has a little hook on the end of it which makes killing easier. Also bluebirds are very territorial so it’s unusual to see a third adult bluebird around when there’s a nesting pair.
TammyJuly 5, 2017 at 7:45 am #5302
I am sure you are right… who knows ,maybe it was a competing pair of blues. There was a male I saw at the box, at the same time as the “clean out”, with nesting materials in his beak… At least for now the surviving nestling is being taken care of by a Mama and Papa.
We do have a nesting HOSP couple nearby. We are afraid to disturb it as last time we just cleaned out an empty nest the male went on a rampage and pecked 3 of 4 bb nestlings to death. We saved one. Any advice on how to get rid of that nest w/o enraging the male HOSP? Unfortunately, neighboring properties are polluted with hosp nests.July 5, 2017 at 8:25 am #5304Carol – Mid-Mo.Participant
Hopefully there are no HOSP eggs yet. In-box trapping is what you need to do, but I can understand your thought about them going on a rampage last time. Normally, if there is a nest started, you need to leave it alone, unless there is a lot of nesting material, and set a Van-Ert trap. I do not take out the nest completely at this point and it keeps the pair busy at this box & not the blues’. 9 times out of 10 you will catch one of the HOSP right away. If it is the female you catch, leave the nesting material in there and the male HOSP will bring in a new mate to that nest. If it is the male (Whoopee!) you can then take out the nest as the female will not return without the male. This works great for me, however all situations are different. If you do not have a trap the same principle will work – just keep a pair busy at that box until your blues fledge. But this doesn’t get rid of the HOSP. Good luck.July 5, 2017 at 8:34 am #5307
Just removing their nest does not really work.Theyll keep building over and over again. Trapping works.
TammyJuly 5, 2017 at 10:09 am #5312dogsandbirdsModerator
Pat are there eggs in that HOSP nest? There are ways of dealing with that.
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