August 7, 2023 at 2:45 am #27477
Hello everyone. My name is Lisa Kirkley and I live in Social Circle, GA- a small town about 30 miles southwest of Athens, GA. I am close to the Oconee National Forest. I’ve had several years experience with nesting barn swallows, and house finches. However, this is my first full experience with a bluebird nest. There was an old birdhouse left on my back deck by the previous owner. I’ve been here seven years, and never noticed any activity at all at the house. I seldom even go out on the back deck. On June 24, I was walking my fog. Activity at the old birdhouse caught my eye. I started watching and to my amazement I found bluebirds nesting there. As I said, this was an old birdhouse, not even a proper nest box for bluebirds, so there was no way to monitor the nest. I did have an up close view from my bedroom window. Both male and female were extremely busy feeding and within the day I noticed heads vying for a position at the entrance hole to the birdhouse. I realized they were fledglings and very close to leaving the nest. On the morning of June 26, just two short days after first noticing the nest- I was afforded the pleasure of watching three fledglings being coaxed out by Mama and Papa! I was hooked!! On July 1st, I replaced the old birdhouse with a proper bluebird nest box. The very next day, a male bluebird started showing the new house off to prospective females. It took him a few days, but by July 14, I opened the nest box to find a newly built nest! The first egg was laid on July 16, and the fourth and final egg was laid on July 19. The female began sitting on the eggs July 20. The male was present during egg laying, but I have not seen him since July 21. This became very worrisome as I continued to look for him, but did not see him. I hoped I had just missed seeing him. I did the math and figured the eggs to hatch between August 1 and August 3. The weather here has been quite hot with highs in the 90s and lows in the upper 70s with several bad thunderstorms. The female bluebird has been tending her eggs, rotating them and sitting on them. She leaves the nest box every 30 minutes to an hour, but she returns every time in about 15 minutes. Today is day 19 she is still turning, tending and sitting on her eggs this evening when I looked into the nest box, she was actually on the nest and did not even fly away When I looked into the box! Perhaps she is somewhat accustomed to me. I noticed that she watches me from the roof of my house each day when I check the nest box. I would think with the hot Georgia weather that her eggs should have already hatched. Is it at all possible that her eggs are viable after this long without hatching? I would give anything to know what happened to the male bluebird. I’ve excepted that I will probably never know. Hopefully someone within this forum can offer advice or knowledge on whether there is a possibility that her eggs may still hatch. I feel it is unlikely, but I do hold out hope. Unfortunately with each passing day, I have less hope. It is rather heartbreaking because she is such a wonderful mother. Like I said, she rotates the eggs every day and only leaves the box when she must go and eat. I have no plans of disturbing the nest until I am absolutely sure she has abandoned it. But I hold hope. again, Has anyone heard of eggs hatching so far out from the 14th day? Is it normal for her to say on the nest without flying away when I check the nest box? Is it possible that her mate may still be alive? I will do anything in my power to help this beautiful peaceful bird. She has captured my heart. Any and all advice or similar stories are welcome. Thank you very much!!August 7, 2023 at 9:54 am #27478IlovebluebirdsParticipant
Hi Lisa, I’m not as knowledgeable as others on this site and have had bluebird houses for about 7 years. 19 days does seem to be a longer time than normal. Someone will get back to you. I had a male come up missing on day 3 the baby bluebirds hatched and I do get very attached and anxious when I see something is going wrong. The mother did continue to feed the baby BB’s thank goodness and they did fledge.August 7, 2023 at 4:20 pm #27480David in Stafford,VAParticipant
Lisa – I am in Stafford Virginia , 45 miles south of Washington, DC. I have the same experience on the eggs in my nest. Hatch date was July 25. I think that the extreme heat that we have experienced could be the cause. Like yours, my female still still spends time in the nest box – but not as much lately. I keep wanting to remove the nest and clean the box but keep putting it off – just in case.
- This reply was modified 3 months, 4 weeks ago by David in Stafford,VA.
Stafford, VAAugust 7, 2023 at 6:36 pm #27483
Thank you for your response. I’m sorry to ahear the male went missing. I’m glad the female was able to care for her babies and so happy they fledged. It’s so difficult not to worry for these amazing birds. My visiting female has been in and out of the box all day. We are in the middle of yet another horrible storm this very minute- yet she remains steadfast and committed to her eggs. I love and admire her. I am almost certain her eggs are not viable. I will just painstakingly wait for her to realize this.August 7, 2023 at 6:51 pm #27484
David- I do believe the heat may be the cause, but not with certainty. Especially since the male at my nest disappeared right after the female laid her final egg. I’m sorry to hear the eggs in your nest haven’t hatched. I am curious, is there a male present at your nest? The little female at my nest just refuses to give up, so I am resolved to see it through with her. I won’t remove the nest and eggs until I certain she has moved on. Thank you for sharing your situation with me.August 7, 2023 at 10:31 pm #27486David in Stafford,VAParticipant
Lisa, I still have both birds and one of an earlier fledge at the mealworm feeder. The male and female frequent the nestbox but I believe that the female is the only one that enters the nest. Carol, from Missouri, had a late hatch also I believe that her birds were 4 or 5 days late. You might check the earlier posts for her story.
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