July 15, 2016 at 2:52 am #2645
Hi Susan- just posted to you on other site wondering if your mealworms were too small? The local 50 count are usually the really small ones & mine have never been interested in them. Have you seen dried mealworms at the pet store (in bird or reptile section)? That’s about the size you want (3/4 inch to 1 inch).
Also, it’s ok to peak up until day 13. After this, checking could cause premature fledging. That way, you can check to make sure the babies are ok. Mama may scold you, but it’s ok. I actually wear my bike helmet when I open the box (LOL) because my parents dive bomb me.
Lastly, I’m in AL with similar temps & have 1st egg after 2 successful fledgings. I’m concerned about the heat, so I put a heat shield on my box (lots of people do this time of year). It looks silly, but I’m hoping it will help eggs/chicks survive. Most people use styrofoam with thumbtack spacers between box & styrofoam with a bungee cord to hold it on. Not trying to make your job harder, but could help especially if your box is in the sun. Sialis site tells more about how to make heat shields & you can google different images to get a better idea. Make sure she accepts it just like you did with the spooker.
Again, so sorry about the Daddy. Such a shame!
NicoleJuly 15, 2016 at 3:48 am #2648
Actually, Susan, since the babies have already hatched, it may not be as practical to put the heat shield up. The first ~ 6 days is when they can’t regulate their own body temperature, so hopefully they’ll be ok past that. Maybe something to think of for the future? Has anyone else put a heat shield up after babies have hatched?
NicoleJuly 15, 2016 at 8:23 am #2649
Nicole & Susan, yes heat shields are used after babies are born – think about 4 or 5 chicks growing bigger in that small box and in the heat of summer. I am not sure about putting it up after they are hatched (most of us have it up when we just get eggs). Like Nicole said, If your box is in full sun in a hot area, I would definitely have up a heat shield, and they still have about 2 weeks before fledging. It is put on the top, south & west sides of the box – of course not on the front. Spacers are critical, otherwise you just keep the heat in and with spacers you have a dead-air space for the heat to flow through & out. Give it some thought, but you need to do it quickly if you are going to. Again, you have a brave mama – papa is gone and in the past, but you have a chance to help her. Good luck!July 15, 2016 at 9:12 am #2651
Well, I moved the worms closer to the birdhouse and Mama has found them! So far, I have put out about 25 worms and they disappear as fast and I put them out. I am guessing that I do this in the a.m. and p.m. (maybe 50 worms for each feeding?)
My birdhouse is mounted on a 6 foot privacy fence that goes around my swimming pool. I have since read that the house should be on a slippery pole. Unfortunately, I did not know this until my couple moved in and I started reading about bluebirds. Other than Papa dying, it has been very successful. I have never seen a snake or a squirrel in my back yard, and I have lived here for 23 years. House sparrows are my biggest concern. The fence keeps the birdhouse shaded for most of the day. The front of the birdhouse faces NE. In the a.m. hours, it does get sun. As it sits, the birdhouse is on the outside of the pool fence. I have a pool umbrella on a table in the same corner. Since the birdhouse is well ventilated at the top where the roof hangs over, I was thinking I could shade the house with the pool umbrella (from the inside of the fence) when it gets dreadfully hot over the next two weeks. I believe that the babies are about 5-6 days old.
Thanks for the input. I am so glad that I can help Mama Blue out with the feedings!
PennsylvaniaJuly 15, 2016 at 3:11 pm #2652
Some people do shade with umbrellas- they usually try to attach to top of pole so that it’s not another climbing mechanism for predators. Would definitely get that pole with wobbly baffle for next season & place at least 15 feet from any structure (fence, tree, house, etc.). Everyone has raccoons (nocturnal) & neighborhood cats.
So excited she’s feeding the worms!!!
NicoleJuly 15, 2016 at 3:25 pm #2655Rich KParticipant
With all the heat should she be checking for blow fly larvae??July 15, 2016 at 10:28 pm #2658
Yeah, Susan – we told you she would love those worms. Sounds like you are on top of things, thinking about the heat & all. We all have to start somewhere when we begin to host these beauties – I read everything I could find, especially the Sialis.org website, and boy is there a lot to learn – like life, you never quit learning if you are doing anything at all!
I learned something new this season with this current mama – who is a different one from the very 1st one this year. When she is incubating she does not come off the nest like all the others did – a couple of times she surprised me when I thought she was off nest, and when I peaked in to check the eggs she was in there and did not move one bit. Of course, I very quickly closed the lid & left her alone.
Rich, I know nothing about blow flies – don’t believe we have them here – is it the heat that brings them in?July 16, 2016 at 12:36 am #2659
Any nest can get blow fly larvae from what I understand. I’ve heard that if you have the hardware cloth platform on the bottom, you’re not as likely to get them. Sialis site tells all about blowfly larvae, too. Since Rich has experienced it, hopefully he can be our educator of what to look for.
NicoleJuly 16, 2016 at 10:03 pm #2669
Things have been going well. I put 50 worms out in the a.m. and 50 in the p.m. (They are about 3/4-1 inch in length). Mama has them gone in no time. I have been dusting them with calcium powder too. Fingers crossed!
PennsylvaniaJuly 17, 2016 at 3:22 pm #2671
Wow, Susan – your worms are 3/4″ – they must be large size? I usually buy mediums which are about 1/2+ inches, as some time they lose a few while enroute to the box of their perching place. She is bringing some to the babies, isn’t she?July 17, 2016 at 5:01 pm #2673
Hi Carol: The worms I bought came right from Petsmart. I just asked for mealworms, and these are the ones they gave me. I only specified that I did not want “Superworms.” The Mama is definitely sharing the worms with the babies. Right now, the feeder is only about 3 feet away from the birdhouse. I only give her the worms when I have the time to sit and watch for her to empty the feeder. I don’t want any other birds coming to the feeder. Do I need to move it farther away if I am monitoring her and only leaving her alone when the feeder is empty? Right now, I have a lot of flexibility to monitor her because I am a school teacher, and I am off for the summer. Thankfully, these babies will fledge before I have to go back to school in the middle of August. I am going to need advice on how to help the fledglings once they take off–assuming they stick around :)
PennsylvaniaJuly 17, 2016 at 9:34 pm #2676
Yes, Susan, I believe you need to gradually move it farther away now that she has found them, maybe 6-8′ at a time in the direction you want it to be finally (of course up off the ground). You cannot monitor 24/7 and they will draw predators I’m afraid & being that close to the nestbox could be dangerous. That way she will know for later on and next season where to find them. My worm feeder is at least 60′ from current box, over 100′ away from another one and probably 200′ away from two others. They make it back & forth between the feeder and box to feed in a heartbeat! I know a lot of people do not have that much room, but 3 feet would be too close to leave it. That is my opinion and probably others here, but the main thing is that she found them, loves them & is taking care of those babies! Hurrah!July 19, 2016 at 8:31 pm #2699dogsandbirdsModerator
Susan, you don’t have to do anything more than you are doing to help the fledglings. Great that she has found the worms! I have seen adults carry worms 100+ yards.
Move that feeder soon and it would be super if you could invest in a pole and baffle for next year.
Atlanta, GAJuly 20, 2016 at 12:41 pm #2706
How long after the babies leave the nest do you keep giving live mealworms? I never fed the bluebirds before Daddy Blue died. I really just wanted to do anything I could to help Mama Blue and her babies. I haven’t been using a “permanent” bird feeder for Mama Blue. I put the 50 worms in a small cup (the kind that hangs inside a birdcage), I hang it on a 3 ft. PVC fence that encloses my “dog yard,” and Mama Blue comes right down and empties it out. She eats some of the worms and takes the rest to the birdhouse. Because I didn’t know anything about proper bluebird care, I hanged the bluebird house 20 ft. off of my deck on a 6 ft. high privacy fence that encloses my swimming pool. When I gave her the worms today, I moved the feeder a few feet farther away from the birdhouse. I figured that I could just move it a few feet each time I feed her.
I have been spotting what I believe to be female house sparrows around the bluebird house. The sparrow spooker has helped so far, but the sparrows are really stressing Mama Blue. I saw one hovering near the entrance of the birdhouse yesterday and I scared it away and put extra streamers on the sparrow spooker. Do you think Mama Blue will be able to keep them out on her own?
I think I will just take the birdhouse down after the babies fledge. I doubt that the Mama would build another nest here this year anyway since the Daddy Blue died.
PennsylvaniaJuly 20, 2016 at 6:12 pm #2709
Susan, if you can help mama get through fledging, you are half way there. They do not eat on their own for 10 days to 2 weeks, meaning she has to take them out & teach them how to find bugs, watch for predators, etc. You really should continue to help her out by feeding worms for some time, maybe a month or so. Then if you want to stop, that is your call but by then they should be able to find food on their own. I would try to keep feeding worms until fall at least but that is your decision to make. It is really fun to watch parent(s) bring them back to the feeder after fledging (usually 10 days to 2 weeks) and watch them as they learn to eat out of the feeder. If you wanted to try this you need to order worms in bulk on line. I usually buy 10,000 at a time but have bought 5,000 worms for around $31 including shipping. Just keep eye on the HOSP – the spooker should do the trick but nothing is foolproof. Come on fledge day!
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