When you accidentally trap a bluebird in an inbox trap

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    Donna in WI

      So we had several days of very cold weather, snowed even on Saturday and accumulated a bit before melting later. Sunday morning temps were 25! Anyway the TRES had left, some were already laying eggs and of course this was the opportune time for the damn HOSP to try to take over a box. Monday morning there is a pair of HOSP in one of the swallow boxes and the TRES had come back. So I go set a vanert and as I was doing so I saw a bird on another box across the yard which looked like the HOSP. So I set a trap in that box too. Go in the house and was watching the one box, the HOSP were on it when I went and looked at the other one and saw the trap was sprung. I went out and since the TRES sometimes sit in this box, I just opened it very carefully instead of putting the bag over it. Of course it was a female bluebird! So I opened the box and let her fly out. Her and the male were around the box the rest of the day however I never did see her go in it again. He would but she wouldn’t. Next morning (Tues) the male was here, no female. Only saw him in the morning though. Wed morning again, male was here no female, again only saw him in the morning. Thursday morning did not see him at all until the afternoon when he was by another box in the yard, again no female. This morning he was back at the box I trapped her in. Again no female.

      So my conclusion is, during the hunt for a place to nest, if you trap a bluebird, they will leave and not nest in that box. It seems though as if she left the male too since he is hanging around yet but I don’t hear him singing nor see him all day long (just for short amounts of time) so I am unsure as to what is up. Not sure if he is searching for another mate or if she is someplace nearby however I know of no nesting boxes in the area except for mine.

      Still hoping though! I have a pair at the park incubating 5 eggs. Two pairs of Chickadees at my place each incubating 6 eggs and 10 pairs of TRES between my place and the park laying eggs. Something happened to the Nuthatches that were nesting, no clue what. I think something happened to the female. The eggs were not being incubated and I only saw the male. I see him every day at the feeders, several times a day. Not sure what happened but when I noticed no activity around the birdhouse I put a leaf over the eggs. It stayed that way for over a week and then I took the nest out.

      So that is my nesting season so far….

      Donna in WI

      The Original Bluebird Nut

        I think it depends on the bird, Donna. I’ve trapped both male and female bluebirds with the Van Ert, and had them come back to nest in the same box. They seem a bit shaken, but not so much that they refuse to enter the box. My birds seem to “know” I’m trying to get rid of their enemies!

        Central NY
        TMB Studios

        Carol – Mid-Mo.

          Donna, I believe Cher is correct – it depends on the birds. As I recall in all my 9 seasons I have caught one bluebird with my VanErt – it flew away unflustered (I was more upset that it was). And as far as I remember, they did come back & nest, although it has been quite some time ago. I believe I would have remembered if they had deserted the area. Good luck.


            Here’s the thing. All of our experiences are, by their very nature, anecdotal. The sum of all of these experiences forms an evolving data base that we can use and add to with our observations.

            Not all birds react the same to the same stimulus because they are individuals. Just as soon as we think a species can’t fit into a hole they’ll prove us wrong. Or we think we know what they want and they refuse it. Or we think we know what they will do and they do something completely unpredictable.

            I don’t think any wild animals know we are trying to protect them and their offspring. In fact, I think they usually feel threatened by human interventions. Birds don’t know why a spooker or wren guard or a trap is in place. All they know is whether they can tolerate it in order to raise their chicks.

            Atlanta, GA


              I agree with you Gin.

              When the new wears off the old shines through

              When The New Wears Off The Old Shines Through.

              Donna in WI

                Well it has been an entire week now since I trapped that female in the box. He is still here singing away, she is not. I do believe it scared her away. Another female was here on Friday (she didn’t seem as brightly colored as the first female so I think it was a different one), she was only here for a short time and he was showing her a different box on the other side of the yard. She left too. Not sure what is up with this….he is still singing away outside going back and forth between the two boxes. Hoping he finds a female.

                Here he is in all his glory…



                Donna in WI


                  I’ve never had them scare when I’ve trapped them but every bird is different.


                  Carol – Mid-Mo.

                    Very handsome guy, Donna – bet he finds a gal very soon! Nice pics.

                    Love my blues!

                      Thinking the same as Carol. He’s a beauty! Surely, he’ll find a mate. Sure hope so!


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