My first Bluebirds & then Tragedy!!!

by Mary
(Nashville, TN)

The day the babies were hatching

The day the babies were hatching

The day after I put my first bluebird house up (complete with baffle) 2 bluebirds started building their nest. I was so happy! Before I knew it, 4 eggs had been laid! I couldn't wait. The chicks started to hatch on a Thursday and I took photos (above). The next day I took more photos but they didn't look too good.


Horror of horrors on Saturday when I went to check on them. They (all 4 of them) were completely gone! No evidence of them anywhere. I don't think it was a bird attack as their nest was completely clean and there was no evidence they had ever been there. Nothing on the ground, no sign of a struggle - just completely vanished! I was so upset. The only thing I can think of is that it was a snake - although what's the use of a baffle???

The male has consistently come back, but I didn't see the female for a full 2 weeks - and now he's wooing a female but I'm not sure it's the same one.

In any event, he is desperately trying to get her to nest, but she doesn't seem to want any part of it... I did remove the nest after the tragedy.

Am hoping they will return to nest; nonetheless, it is wonderful to watch them!

If anyone can put my mind at ease as to what may have happened to them, that would be great! My next question is, will they nest again in the box?

Comments for My first Bluebirds & then Tragedy!!!

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Jun 16, 2016
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snakes
by: Gene

Make sure you have baffles for raccoons and snakes under the houses.

Jun 16, 2016
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Cried like a baby
by: Mouse

We have two nest boxes near our home. Yesterday I had 5 babies in one box and four in the other. Something got my box with the five baby bluebirds. My heart broke. I have been getting rid of sparrows for weeks but they just keep on coming. I saw the post for the sparrow spooker and will try that for the nest with the four babies. We have 15 boxes on our property and I have counted 18 fledglings this year so far. So hard to know exactly though. The nasty sparrows😢

Jun 16, 2016
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First bluebirds
by: Laurie

We put up a bluebird house about a month ago and I'm so excited bluebirds started making a nest about five days ago. I'm a little confused because I'm pretty sure I'm seeing a male and female and then what looks like maybe a juvenile bluebird-blue with darker feathers on its back. Would three birds be working on a nest together or is the third bird just hanging out with its parents?

Jun 12, 2016
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re:
by: amilu

I just witnessed a constrictor snake killing one of my 4 babies in the nest. The nest was set up in a crook of a gutter next to my back door. I opened the door to let my dogs out, and there was a snake and a baby hanging at eye level. It broke my heart; I loved watching the babies grow up! I hope the other 3 were able to make it.

Jun 04, 2016
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#3 continued....
by: Rosanna

So, just finished watching rest of the clips and male has stopped coming to the box. However, I was rethinking the footage I saw earlier with the male and female together and I now believe he probably not my original male with another female, but maybe it was another pair checking out the box, hence the female not wanting to go inside. That male did go inside and brought out some nesting material, why I don't know, but with the eggs still inside they stopped coming by.

I am now believing that my female was in fact the one in the road, and the male has since stopped coming by.

So where does that leave me with the eggs. I know legally they cannot be removed unless they have been abandoned for several days, but these eggs had been incubating for at least a week up until yesterday afternoon, and I have footage to prove the nest is abandoned, so should I remove them tomorrow (it's dark now) and clean out the box for another pair to use?

Jun 04, 2016
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....continued...
by: Rosanna

Today (Saturday June 4th) I set up the camcorder again because I saw the male at the box again around 7:15am. He continued to return to the box, sometimes with food, more frequently than he had ever done the past few weeks combined. Finally around 2-hrs later he shows up with the female, except she didn't appear to know how to get into the box - it seemed like she was really struggling to figure out how to get inside the hole. That made me start thinking it was not the same female and the male probably hooked up with another female and either wanted her to be a surrogate for his existing eggs in the box or he was going to try to restart a new clutch with her, but maybe she didn't want someone else's eggs in her nest? I don't know what to think. It is now 5:45pm and I had just checked the eggs which are now cold, but haven't finished watching all the footage from afternoon filming yet, to see if the male has quit coming to the box, but I am now thinking the eggs are no longer viable.

Jun 04, 2016
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Bad Luck again with 2nd set of Bluebirds
by: Rosanna

In my previous post, I mentioned having a 2nd pair of bluebirds nesting again with 3 eggs. Three days later (last Sunday May 29th) they had another egg and were warm due to female starting incubation. I had my camcorder set up on and off all week, and was checking the footage last night from yesterday's filming and found that the male had stopped coming to the box around 2:15pm. The female remained until 3:15pm and then left and did not return. Meantime, my husband went to pick up our mail at the end of the driveway and saw a dead bluebird in the road, which he thought looked like a male. However, I continued watching my footage just in case it wasn't "my" male, and sure enough he shows up at the box at 6:15pm, 4-hrs after his last visit and 3-hrs after the last female sighting. He continued returning to the box with food right up till dark, as he did not appear to realize the female was gone. / continued.......

May 30, 2016
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Blowflies
by: Gene

Sounds like Blowflies larvae and maybe mites. Proper monitoring of the nestbox and a nest change could prevent this from happening. Wet nest can also cause hypothermia which would weaken their systems.

Please takes some time to read more about caring for bluebirds at sialis.org

May 29, 2016
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Dead chicks in the nest
by: Melissa

We had our second nest since moving into our house two years ago. The first nestlings jumped out too early and would not stay in the nest. ( I discovered there were two nests in the box and cleaned it out). This year a set of birds came back and made a nest, things were going great. Parents were feeding all day. I could hear the chicks tweeting. Today I noticed the adults were not around very much so I checked the box, All four were dead. One probably dead for a few days and the other three were just dead today I'd say. We are so disapointed. The nest seemed wet and had some little worms, smaller than maggots, in it. A few ants but nothing major. My neighbor did a whole bunch of landscape work yesterday. I wonder if they sprayed pesticide and the parents fed the babies poisoned worms.

May 27, 2016
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Blue bird reflection in window
by: Anonymous

Hi,
Only had a thought about the blue birds seeing there reflection in the window… they may not like that and think it is another bird trying to steal their territory… My husband and I saw a wild turkey see his reflection in the shiny sides of his black Jeep and started to attack it! He scratched his car in many places because he thought his reflection was an enemy… just a thought, maybe your bluebirds are leaving because they see their reflection..

May 27, 2016
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Sparrow Spooker
by: Kelley

Rosanna, have you tried using a sparrow spooker? I’ve been using them for years with great success. I maintain a bluebird habitat with 18 nest boxes and the sparrow spookers is a life saver. I make them myself using wooden dowels, mylar ribbon and hot glue.

sparrowspooker

May 27, 2016
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House Sparrows
by: Gene

Please spend some time on sialis.org

learn about trapping and controlling House Sparrows so that native species have a better chance at survival.

Gene
www.wild-bird-watching

May 27, 2016
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Another Blue Bird nest started
by: Rosanna

Right after posting my previous comment today, I checked a new box that I had put out to replace the one that had been attacked by sparrows May 6th, and I am elated to find 3 blue eggs inside it. However, I don't know if they are from the same pair that lost their first clutch to the sparrow or if these are from a different pair of bluebirds. Either way I hope the male will be more attentive this time.

May 26, 2016
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Lost my Blue Bird eggs to Sparrows
by: Rosanna

I had commented earlier (anonymous) about monitoring my birds with a camcorder all day long. Well, on May 6th, I noticed a sparrow coming out of the blue bird box, which had 5 eggs after I had last checked a few days earlier. I ran outside to shoo him off then immediately checked the footage I had been filming and sure enough, as I had always suspected in previous incidences, I had the "evidence" on film as to what had been happening to my blue bird eggs/chicks.

The male sparrow had gone inside, right after the female had left the box, and one by one, he pierced the eggs, and flew off with them - a couple of them had dropped to the ground. Male sparrows will also kill the blue birds if they happen to be inside the box and if the sparrow is more aggressive than most - the bluebird is trapped and can't get out.

However, I have also been filming a pair of Tree Swallows and House Wrens the same since 2013, and there is one thing that really stands about their nesting habits.

Both the swallows and wren parents do not leave the nest unattended once they have eggs and chicks hatched. One of them is either in the box, on top of the box, or at a nearby branch AT ALL TIMES.

The Blue Birds however, constantly leave their nest unattended and for several minutes (5 to 15 minutes at a time). Unfortunately, that's because the male bluebird is not coming frequently enough to feed the female while she is incubating or sitting on the chicks, so she has to risk leaving the nest to eat for herself or the chicks.

The amount of times I have seen on film the male returning just once in a while to feed, usually not for 45-minutes to an hour, and the poor female is sitting in the opening waiting for his return, but ends up having to leave several times during that period.

Bottom line, male Bluebirds don't appear to be as attentive as the male Swallows and Wrens.

May 22, 2016
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Sad my females bluebirds keep disappearing
by: Anonymous

I had the most friendly pair of bluebirds this Spring nest in a box in our yard. They sat on a Shepards hook I had placed in front of my window and they could see their reflection. They were so much fun to watch.

The female had laid 4 eggs and about 1 1/2 weeks before they hatched the female came up missing. I was so sad. The male male started acting strange and I realized after some research he was wooing another female. He did attract another one (she was not as friendly and much more skidish) so I went ahead and removed the old eggs since she starting to build on top.

The new female laid 4 eggs and I'm so sad that she is now missing. They were due to hatch this week. I cannot figure out what is happening to the females. The nest looks untouched and eggs are not broken. I haven't seen any feathers or anything unusual around nest. Now the male is not coming around.

I did see him after female was missing but I guess he has gone in search of a new place. I wish I could figure out what has happened to both females with the same thing happening to both. My neighbor has a cat but I would have thought I would have seen feathers.

I've never seen a snake in our yard but have seen hawks. Any suggestions? I hope to get more to nest.

May 19, 2016
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Eggs in Nest
by: Mark

I have two sets of Blue Birds in the Box so far this year. The Second set laid three eggs, next morning I found the Dad dead in the yard and no sighting of the Mother. Today I have another set of Blue Birds going into the box, should I remove the old eggs so they can use it or let them handle it? Thanks

May 16, 2016
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Home invasion also
by: Mary Ann

Same thing happened to us. There where 3 eggs.They hatched, everything was fine for about a week, then all of a sudden everything was gone. No birds no nest no sign of struggle! Totally baffled as to what may have happened. So sad! This was our first bluebird sighting at our house in 40 yrs!

May 06, 2016
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Your nest may have chicks now
by: Anonymous

I have been monitoring my blue birds all day long daily with a camcorder plugged in since they first started building their nest. and there's 5 eggs in the nest due to hatch this weekend.

They have "allowed" me to check the box periodically after the female leaves to see how many eggs she laid so I could then know when to estimate they would hatch.

The fact that your birds are being fiercely protective leads me to believe the eggs have hatched.

In past years I've been doing this, bluebirds are quick to abandon the nest if the eggs or chicks are removed by HOSP, as there is no longer a need to defend the nest.

May 05, 2016
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not sure what is going on
by: Anonymous

Have nest...should have babies by now. Bluebirds still defend the nest, but I have seen other birds (HOSP) around the box. It not where I can see it directly, but can see the activity above it. Bluebird daddy has been shooing away other birds from the immediate area and mealworms I provide, but he won't let me get near the nest to check that all is ok. Anyone suggest anything further? A friend just told me as long as they are dive bombing me...all ok. But I am not so sure.

Apr 29, 2016
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bluebirds are faithful
by: Anonymous

Last year the eggs somehow got knocked out of our bluebirds nest, one was broken, but they have returned this year.

Apr 29, 2016
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bluebirds are faithful
by: Anonymous

I will say that your bluebirds will certainly be back!! I had eggs fall out of nest one year and they were back the next.

Apr 23, 2016
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House Sparrows
by: Gene

See: sialis.org

Apr 23, 2016
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Sad!
by: Anonymous

I had a pair of bluebirds nest and hatch 4 babies in my bluebird box.Very excited because I didn't see any last year. I had been watching these everyday, but this morning I went out and I saw a bird fly out of the box. I knew it was not a bluebird. I opened the box and found all four babies dead. I am so sad. They was getting ready to fly. The bird I saw was a darn sparrow. How can I keep the sparrows from destroying my bluebirds!!!

Mar 30, 2016
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Male Bluebird
by: Gene

I think he will be there when the time comes. If you decide to move the sparrow spooker be prepared to fight the sparrows off. They'll kill the female if they want the nesting box bad enough. That would be worse than the male not participating, which I doubt will. -Good Luck

Mar 30, 2016
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Is male bluebird abandoning female after eggs laid?
by: Anonymous

Hi-

I have what appears to be the same bluebird pair come back to nest in a different box in my yard this year.

These two have always been together by coming to my feeder & when building their nest, etc. However, I have seen him in the last few days, but not anywhere around her or the nest box. He'll come to my courtyard to get mealworms or drink from the bird bath, but then flies off somewhere else while she is either in the box or perched up in the tree where she can see the box.

It's as if they broke up. I'm worried that she's being left alone to deal with the situation. He doesn't come around to feed her or attend to her at all & I never see him perched up in the tree nearby like he was before.

I put up the sparrow spooker after the 2nd egg & I'm wondering if he doesn't like it as I didn't have it last year when they nested in the courtyard.

I'm perplexed as to what is happening. Has anyone ever encountered this? Should I tie up the streamers on sparrow spooker or take it down to see if he returns? I'm just afraid that once the babies hatch, she'll be on her on.

I keep thinking, "No, of course he'll be there with her, but why isn't he with her right now when he always has been?" Like I said, I saw him twice today, but completely ignoring her & the nesting site. Please help! Very concerned!

Nicole

Mar 15, 2016
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Our first blue birds but they left the day of fleging
by: Saundra

We put up a box last year but no takers, we think it was too late in the season. This year a pair moved in and laid 5 eggs. All 5 hatched on Feb 25 and fledged on March 14 but we did not see it happen.

We saw 2 trying to fly in our very small back yard late morning and realized that was why the parents were so aggressive at us but at this time also noted the male was not around only the female with these 2. (The last week before fledging I do not open the box to count babies just assumed still had 5).

In the afternoon there were no blue birds in our yard and have not seem any sign of any blue birds adults or babies since that day, we hope they made it to a meadow that is football field away from our home.

Walked around that area no sign of bluebirds nor any bluebird chirps. Emptied the box of very flattened dirty nest, will disinfect tomorrow.

We have a birdbath water moving in it never used nor ate the mealworms. Why did they leave will they come back with the babies? We hope they will use the box again.

Jan 12, 2016
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Where are my bluebirds
by: Cyn

We have successfully raised many clutches of bluebirds throughout the summer months for years but this last year I filmed two male bluebirds fighting - just rolling around on the ground. The "new" male won the fight (he was much shier about taking meal worms) and after those babies fledged, I haven't seen a bluebird on our property. I usually see many of them around the bird bath but not this winter so far. I sure hope they come back.

Aug 23, 2015
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Bluebird House Modification
by: Suebee

We have been blessed with a bluebird couple that has successfully raised 4 clutches (15 baby bluebirds) this past year; with only one baby lost.

After the first clutch, we noticed predators so close to nest box and fledglings not quite strong enough the first few days to manage effectively outside the box without being at risk. At the hardware store, we purchased a small, square wooden dowel. We measured, cut, and attached the small piece into the inside of the box, approximately 2 inches from the bottom of the nestbox on the back (think exercise bar).

We have seen subsequent fledglings pushing off the bar, testing their wings inside the nestbox, then fledging from the box by flying to the nearest tree instead of dropping to the ground.

Once your birds do fledge, it has been our experience that the parents hide them well out of sight for 1-3 weeks. We had a ton of Hawks around and the first week or so we try to help the parents out by being present to shoo them away. Hope this helps.

Aug 03, 2015
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Yay, Bluebirds Fledged
by: Rosanna

I am so elated that, after 3-years of trying, I finally had a successful family of bluebird chicks (4) fledge last week (at 17-days since hatching)....and I got it all caught on video. I had my video camera filming them everyday from the time they built their nest.

Since this is the first time I have had success, I didn't know what to expect and when reviewing the footage later that night, I was very surprised to find the chicks "jumped" out of the box instead of flying out like the Tree Swallows.

They didn't appear to be able to fly at all, but must have eventually made their way to the hedgerow at the edge of our yard because later on that's where I had seen the adult bird flying around and screeching while I was checking my vegetable garden nearby.

But prior to that, I had gone over to the one chick that I actually did see at the base of the tree right behind my back porch, which I later believed was probably the last chick. At first I didn't know it was the bluebird chick, and was thinking it was an injured bird, but then one of the bluebird parents started screeching like crazy and dive-bombed me all the way back to my back porch.

Now I know what to expect for next year, LOL

Aug 02, 2015
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Bluebirds success
by: Anonymous

I learned the hard way not to put a bluebird nestbox on a fence. Afterwards, the people at Wild Birds Unlimited told me I needed to mount the nestbox on a pole, but they failed to tell me I needed a raccoon baffle. All in all, I learned the hard way with two unsuccessful attempts.

I read about a sparrow spooker, and my husband was able to make a halo above the top of the box and attach it to a wire to the pole. I used fishing wire to hang from the halo---only about five pieces. This is supposed to discourage sparrows from invading the nest.

By the third try, it was July in Texas with record high temps, so I put up reflective material that I got at an RV place to put in the windows of RVs. It worked---even in record high temps!!!

I had several layers around the house and on the top bc according to what I've read, my nestbox wasn't made with thick enough wood for high temps.

Well, after all of that, I had three baby bluebirds leave the nest yesterday. SUCCESS!!!!!

Jul 23, 2015
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Double Nest
by: Vicki

Rosanna, I think that birds are often the predators. Our first nest this year had unfertilized eggs in it and we didn't realize until the parents built a new nest on top of the old one (I pulled the old eggs out eventually and checked them).

But this second nest on top of the first raised the nest so high that predator birds could reach right in and pick out babies easily, even without a perch (I believe a blue jay was responsible). We added a longer predator guard and removed the two empty nests immediately and ultimately got a third clutch.

There were five babies and we lost one mysteriously (completely missing from the nest), but the other four made it to fledge (although the neighbor thinks a cat got one on the day it fledged. Sigh).

It's so heartbreaking when you lose one, but so rewarding when you see them at your feeder a couple of weeks after they leave the nest.

Jul 22, 2015
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Bluebirds still thriving
by: Rosanna

Since monitoring my bluebirds with a video camera virtually all day long (with outdoor power cable and 128G flash card), I am, first of all, relieved to still see all four chicks in the nest, and they are now starting to stick their wide open beaks towards the opening.

However, when reviewing the footage each night, there have been several species of birds perching on top of the wooden post that the box is attached to, and they try to stretch around the front to see inside but they keep losing their balance (there is no perch to rest on) and then fly off.

I bought me a new camera and long range telephoto lens to capture the moment the chicks start to get big enough to poke their heads out - this is a big deal for me as I have been trying for three seasons to get bluebirds to successfully raise a clutch to fledging.

Each of the previous years, there have been three attempts per season and each time they were killed by predators almost after hatching.

This will be the first time they have reach this milestone - they are now 10-days old.

Jul 22, 2015
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vanishing baby bluebirds
by: Anonymous

I had a family of five beautiful baby blues almost ready to leave the nest. I went out to check on them and found the nest empty. The guilty party was a large King snake which was still in the chickadee house near by.

Jul 17, 2015
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BlueBirds snatched by Kestrel
by: Rosanna

I experienced the same "disappearance" with my Bluebirds a month or so ago. Although I didn't witness the actual event, I did notice a Kestrel perched right in front of the nest box opening and I shooed him away, hoping he couldn't get his head in there to do anything.

However, several hours later, the bluebird parents stopped coming so I checked the box and all the chicks were gone. When I researched online about kestrels, I found out that when they perch in front of the box, the chicks think the parents are coming to feed them so they stretch their necks up to the opening, and then kestrel is then able to snatch them out.

On previous occasions I have had English Sparrows get into the nest and throw out the chicks.
I am currently on the third nesting of Bluebirds this season, don't know if they are the same pair
but so far it has been a week since the chicks hatched and they are still in the box.

I am monitoring them more closely and also have a video camera running virtually all day to "witness" the goings on in case something happens again.

Jun 11, 2015
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Try a predator guard
by: Anonymous

I am sorry about your babies! I went through it last month. This site helped me figure out the issue: http://www.sialis.org/predatorid.htm. I have added a longer predator guard and we have a new nest due to hatch on Monday, so I'm hoping I've solved the issues on my bluebird box.

Jun 11, 2015
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What happened ?
by: Name Ursula

The bluebirds had a beautiful nest in the bluebird box where chickadees successfully raise a brood.

Two bluebird babies hatched and were growing up nicely. This morning I saw a smaller bird entering the box and saw something hanging out of the entrance. It was a the body of one of the babies.

The other baby was nowhere to be seen. Yesterday when I checked the box it looked as it was almost ready to leave the nest.

Did I invite invaders by putting mealworms out for them two days ago in a cup that attaches to the pole?

I am really sad.

Jun 03, 2015
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First bluebird family!
by: Tina

There are 3 bluebird houses in the neighborhood. My pair fledged 3 chicks. Mama bird immediately built another nest. Two weeks went by with no sign of them. Then they were back.

Many birds looked in the nestbox and one wren even removed some of the nest Mama bluebird made. She paid them no mind and then went off again.

I read they will sometimes build multiple nests and only use one. After another week I looked in the box and saw the empty nest so I removed it, wanting for at least some little bird to use it.

Another week went by and now a different pair of bluebirds are frantically building away. :) The male is much brighter and smaller than the other Daddy bluebird, and he flaps his wings around when he gets around his lady like a fledgling does. So, maybe its a newly matched pair and this is their very first brood together. I hope nothing tragic happens.

May 13, 2015
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Think I figured it out
by: Name

I think it was a blue jay. I've seen one around, and they will apparently take some (but not all) of the nestlings without disturbing the nest. In the past, the jays couldn't reach the nest, but because this pair built the second nest on top of the unhatched eggs/first nest, the nest was raised quite a bit making the babies easy pickings. We will be adding a different predator guard.

May 12, 2015
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More info
by: Vicki

The box, an Eastern bluebird box from Wild Birds Unlimited, is on the back of our mailbox post. We've had nests there for two years without any issues. We have a predator guard, and it's highly unlikely snakes would be in that area (and I have mothballs around the property which has kept us snake-free for a few years--knock on wood).

Haven't see raccoons in several years. We do have neighborhood cats, but our living room looks out on the box and we've never seen them around it (of course, we have no idea what they are up to at night).

The parents are still here and as of this morning, the lone chick is doing fine. I read that the parents can remove young before they are 8 days old and wonder if this is the case, given the nest was undisturbed and one baby was left.

I can't find any instances on the internet where there were survivors after a predator attack. This same pair laid 5 eggs last month, and when they didn't hatch after 14 days, built another nest over them and laid five new eggs.

I eventually pulled the original eggs out and checked them---all were simply yolks and a tiny undeveloped mass. With this most recent nesting, four hatched and the fifth did not.

I pulled that one out after 4 days and again it was just yolk and a small mass. I wonder if there is a genetic defect? And if so, was something wrong with the other three babies? We are so sad, but it has been a good teaching moment for our four year old twins about nature and survival of the fittest. I am so nervous for that last baby, though.

May 12, 2015
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Entrance Hole and Baffles
by: Gene

Entrance holes should be 1.5 inches for Eastern Bluebirds.

Baffles are recommended to be 4 feet off the ground.

See:Baffles

Entrance Hole Protectors

May 11, 2015
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may be a raccoon!
by: Anonymous

Raccoons did the same thing to my bluebird nest last year and this is how we fixed it… make sure you have a baffle stovepipe that is 3 feet wide, and place it 1 1/2 feet above the ground all the way around the tree or pole, the raccoons will shimmy up the tree and reach in and grab the eggs or babies… also make SURE the entrance to the house is 1 1/4 inch round and 2 inches thick! so the raccoon can't bend it's arm and reach in also protects mom and dad….I hope this helps!

May 11, 2015
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I bet a raccoon…
by: Name

I'm not sure where you live, but it could be a raccoon which is what reached in my bluebird houses and pulled out all the eggs but one… and mom and dad NEVER returned to the house… I cried for a month, I was so upset, but now we have 3 foot stove pipe 1 1/2 feet up from the ground around the base of the trees and poles all branches near by cut way back, and I was told that the entrance to the bluebird house HAS to be 2 inches thick to keep the raccoons arm from bending into the house and grabbing everything inside! Also, protects mom and dad but they could suffer trauma! The stovepipe baffle at the bottom of the tree or pole prevents any raccoon or squirrel from going up the tree to the house…That happened to me last year and this year, I saw the male bluebird trying to get the female to stay but they didn't stay and I was so sad, so it's worth it to protect them! Baffles and 2 inches thick on the entrance including the house! Raccoons are the culprits most of the time, house wrens and sparrows also…hope this helps, go ahead and put up the baffle even if they are still there in house, it's better then seeing them die….

May 11, 2015
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Guards
by: Gene

Do you have a predator guard under the house? Do you have bird netting to prevent snakes from climbing up to the house?

House Sparrows will also throw the young out of a house and must be controlled.
See Sialis.org

May 11, 2015
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All but one gone!
by: Vicki

We had four babies, and today they were 6 days old. All but one is gone! The nest is not disturbed and there are no feces or other clues in the box. Mom and Dad are still here. So sad and curious about what got three but not the fourth. And will it be back to finish the job?

Apr 26, 2015
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Maybe still to cold...
by: Anonymous

I went down to our Bird Store and they told me that the blue birds are still moving around because of the cold weather, we are a good month or more behind….I bet they will BOTH be back, at least you have the male, I haven't got either one of them! I'm sad. Wow, I just realized how much these little sweet blue birds have our hearts tied up in knots! Just love them… good luck.

Apr 25, 2015
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When will blue birds start to nest?
by: Anonymous

I live in Midcoast Maine, it is still quite cold, 2 weeks ago when it was a warm day, I saw and heard a male blue bird in my back yard! He was singing and dancing and calling the female but no sign of her, then he disappeared too…I have blue birds houses and had a couple of blue birds nesting last year and was hoping they would come back, has anyone seen blue birds in Maine and are they nesting yet?

Apr 11, 2015
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Bluebird Tragedy??
by: Anonymous

Our bluebirds came built a nest and then they were gone for good 10 days. Since a week they are back but today I observed that the male bird was very attentive at the nest however I did not see the female bird. Before dawn I looked again still no female and the male was desperately calling her at the nest site. What happened? Are females or males leaving for a while? I feel so sad.

Jul 25, 2014
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Lawn mower tragedy
by: Susan

I am so sad and mourning that I cannot even cry. Our Bluebirds have been trying to coax the only 2 babies they had, out of the box.

We have been carefully watching with such excitement for days now. Today I had to mow. Riding lawn lower. I knew (or thought) one baby was in the tree.

As I mowed close to the garden wall, I turned to see a baby bluebird. The mower cut the grass and exposed what I then realized was a dead baby bluebird.

He was intact but the tire must have crushed him. I am waiting for my husband to come home to bury him. I left him on a rock so the parents would see they had a dead baby.

Will they mourn? Will they accept my apologies to the universe? I am so sad and my heart hurts.

There must still be one baby in the box as the parents are still on it periodically and feeding mealworms.

I just feel awful and will always look carefully at the grass near walls and such before I mow or I may never mow again.

Jul 05, 2014
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Keeping a distance from birdhouse with mower
by: Anonymous

Just my opinion… but if the birdhouse has been put back up and the nest and eggs that didn't break are in the nest…. the parents may come back and take care of the other eggs.. but if all the eggs broke, that is total despair and I have heard that you wait a few days and then clean out the nest completely in hopes that the parents return and try again.

I have NOT seen my blue birds since tragedy of a raccoon climbed the tree ( now there is a 2 foot baffle ) and raided the nest, my heart is still broken.

I hope they come back next year, good luck with your situation, so so sad….

Jul 04, 2014
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despair
by: Anonymous

that evening:

----- no sign of broken eggs,yolk,fluid,shells
yet
nest remains

do they eat what is left or carry it off somewhere?

i hope they come back and try again,and that spot another chance

Jul 04, 2014
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despair
by: Anonymous

bird house pole hit by lawn mower and house tumbled down breaking eggs. so sad. what do BB parents do, do they grieve? do they clean it up or wait and see if any may hatch?
what do they feel, what is process of nature?

Jun 23, 2014
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OLD 'snake deterrent from Grandma"
by: Carol, Lady Lake,FL Carol- Lady Lake, FL

So sorry and saddened by the tragic loss of all your precious little 'joys' we love.

I have had good results repel snakes (FLA has more snakes than any in USA!! Didn't know that til I moved here!!

My grandma was a Native American Shawoman in the Cheyenne nation. I told her of my fear and sincere hatred of these creatures. She revered all creatures; even snakes...ugh!

She suggested a good substance to repel my arch enemy....Herbs and plants for this are not available here! Then she told me to use MOTH BALLS where I wanted to keep snakes away!

I tied a net bag full of moth balls 2ft. up the wood post under the blue bird house. SO FAR (2 Years) no tragedies; although I have seen different varities of snakes near and under the post....THEY quickly met their demise!

Beneficial to some people but I will kill any snake in a heart beat! It works here..try it.

Jun 23, 2014
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Snakes...
by: Anonymous

May I ask where you live? We live in Maine, and I still don't KNOW what got our sweet Bluebirds, but we think it's a raccoon which I trapped and relocated!

I keep hearing about snakes and the only ones I know of that might go up a pole or baffle have been snakes from the SOUTH… we only have small garden snakes and a brownish snake which is a little bigger but I have only seen one a couple of times in my lifetime… someone had mentioned going and buying a bunch of netting and bunching it to either fluffing it out to make a net baffle so the snakes slither into it and can't back out!

It's somewhere in these messages written here! Good luck, it seem there are so many odds against them that we have to stay 2 steps ahead of the predators so the bluebirds have a chance!

Jun 20, 2014
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What got the Bluebirds.
by: Anonymous

It was so exciting. I saw four eggs, then they hatched, oh how cute! Went to get pictures two days later, nothing.

I cleaned the remaining nest and the male finally convinced the female to try again. Four blue eggs and now four cute baby bluebirds but this evening I nearly lost them again.

A black snake was up the metal pole set to go in. I hollered and my son carried him off to another location. Now I need to figure out how to keep the snakes out.

Jun 07, 2014
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Hi Kelly thank you!
by: Anonymous

My email is Jdugas @ maine.rr.com if you could send any pictures to help me that would be great thank you so much

Edited by Wild-Bird-Watching:
Spaces were added to prevent you getting more spam.

Jun 03, 2014
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You are most welcome.........
by: Kelley

My first suggestion would be not to hang the box on a tree. We made that mistake early on and lost some eggs to a cat we think. Anything can climb the tree or jump from another. Little red squirrels can get anywhere. I would be very happy to send you a picture of our setups. I can't figure out how to post a picture here. Drop me your email and I can send you some if you wish.

It seems that as soon as you think you have it all figured out, something else is around the corner trying to mess with our little bluebirds. We have made mistakes along the way but we have had a lot of success the last couple of years.

As for the parents I would guess they are still in the area. I would keep feeding the meal worms. I can give you a picture of our set up with the feeder as well.

The website that has helped us very very much is www.Sialis.org. Really good information there.

Any other questions, I would be glad to help.

Jun 02, 2014
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Thank you….
by: Anonymous

We have a raccoon here at our home… we installed 2 foot stove pipe 1 and 1/2 feet off the ground going up the tree, every inch of the tree is covered for the 2 feet of pipe around the tree, no raccoon will do this again…we have a one inch guard on the hole in the nesting box with a metal circle so nothing can break or chew the hole bigger.

You said you used a 7 inch stove pipe guard.. any chance you can post a picture of what your nesting box looks like with that on it?

Or a website to look at it? Do the birds have a hard time entering the nesting box? Thank you so much for the information, what do you think happened to the parents? Did the raccoon kill them? there are NO feathers or blood here at all….thank God. Maybe they will come home…? It hurts to think this happened but I want to know, I wasn't even sleeping I was so upset.

The bluebirds were with me for a month. They are enchanting blue spirits, little angels of joy. I hope they come back...

Jun 02, 2014
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My best guess is a raccoon
by: Kelley

The same situation happened to us in 2012. It was a raccoon. Thankfully, we had installed a video camera inside the box.

In the early morning hours a raccoon bypassed our squirrel guard and destroyed the eggs. Here is the clip we posted on YouTube: http://youtu.be/mL8RKbpTxsg

After that incident, we installed a true raccoon guard using 7 inch stove pipe. You can buy raccoon guards at specialty stores but we made our own.

In regards to the sparrow problem. We have dealt with that as well. We use a "Sparrow Spooker" once the first bluebird egg has been laid.

It consists of dowels and metallic streamers. We make them ourselves and have had great success. Please google "Sparrow Spooker" and you'll get the general idea.

We have also struggled for years and have learned many hard lessons. Please don't give up. The rewards are well worth it.

Jun 02, 2014
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It's been a week and 2 days now and still no sight of either parent.
by: Anonymous

I discovered an egg in the very bottom of the nesting material when I took the nest out…Someone told me that a raccoon could have sat on the roof of the nest and reached in to grab the eggs or babies, but seems to me there would be some disruption to the nest and or trauma to the nesting box or broken egg shells.

I don't know if there were babies in the nest yet. Could have been a hawk but would he have gotten both of them at the same time? I doubt it.

Also, someone told me that sparrows will kill the babies and peck out the eggs and kill momma bluebird right on the nest or scare her away. I actually cried about this.

I have waited for 17 years for bluebirds and they were with me almost a month, so beautiful and lovely.

One more thing, I have heard of a round sphere that hangs above the nesting box with fish lines hanging about 2 feet down and every couple of inches that you can make and put up.

They said that sparrows DON'T like it but bluebirds are fine with it. I am willing to try anything to help them.

May 27, 2014
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Where are they? They were right here!
by: Anonymous

Have been watching mom and dad bluebirds now for 3 to 4 weeks. They love the mealworms, dried and live that I have put out in a special feeder for them.

They starting coming to the feeder a little less these last few days, I figured they were just really busy with their babies, this was on a Saturday and Sunday when we came home from camp they were GONE!

Both parents gone, not a trace, not a feather, nothing. I finally opened the nesting boxes and only the nests were there, no babies no eggs no egg shells, nothing and no baby feathers. What happened?

Where did they go in one night, we got home at 10:00am the day after we saw them! Should I removed their nest so they can rebuild? or leave them?

We have a hawk around but I have an air horn and if he comes near I blast him with it. Works great, I would have seen some feathers somewhere! Nothing, the nesting boxes have NO trauma or scratches on them, I am heartbroken….. Yarmouth, Maine


Jun 03, 2013
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Same thing
by: Julia

The same thing happened here, also Nashville. They built nest, laid eggs, later flew in and out frequently as is they were feeding babies. I checked the nest and it was in disarray. Removed it. No sign birds had ever been in it. No baby birds in nearby tree as in past years. Cleaned house. They built another nest but no eggs. Then a wren built a nest on top of BB nest. Removes both and cleaned house again.

Mar 13, 2013
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Hummingbird protection
by: Anonymous

Twice now baby hummingbirds in nests in my hedges have been eaten right before they were ready to leave the nest. First by crows then by roadrunners. Is there anything I can do to prevent it? So heartbreaking!!

Jan 01, 2013
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Will They Come Back?
by: Eileen

I had bluebirds all around the first two years of living in our new home. We have not seen them again in two years. I think they were pushed out by all the sparrows. :(

Will they come back if I set out nesting boxes?

Can anyone give me a link to pre-made (and correct) bluebird houses?

By: Wild-Bird-Watching.com

If you keep the House Sparrows out by removing their nest or by trapping. If you live in a rural area you can probably also shoot the House Sparrows.

We also offer a birdhouse through Duncraft that is made of recycled materials and will last for years.

http://www.wild-bird-watching.com/wbwbluebirdhouse.html

They have plenty of other types if you want to look, just follow the link on the above page.

Once we became serious about the House Sparrows and the European Starlings we have an abundance of native species including a Purple Martin colony that took 4 seasons to start.

Good luck.

Gene
www.wild-bird-watching.com

May 08, 2012
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Would she stay alone?
by: Laura Word

I am a first time bluebirder. The birds appeared like magic one day as though they fabricated from the bluebird post box itself.

They've been there and busy for weeks. The nest is lovely and I've only checked twice for fear of scaring them.

But the male has been absent for the last three days- at least I haven't seen him anywhere, and he's usually right near by.

If something's happened to him, would she stay here all by herself? I know she's there because she comes out to get the meal worms that I bring her.

No sign of her partner though. Strange how much interest they stir in a person. I hope he shows up. Might he disappear for periods? Could I be missing him just because there's more foliage suddenly?

~ Missing the missing.

Apr 21, 2012
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Where are my bluebirds?
by: Anonymous

We have two bluebird houses and it had been so much fun watching them work diligently build their nest. I can't see inside (they are too high). For a week I am not seeing a bluebird in the area. I saw a chickadee checking out one house yesterday. What could have happened?

Jun 22, 2011
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Bluebird attack
by: Nick

It is very tragic to hear of your loss. I have had bluebirds nesting on our property since the summer of 2004, but the years before that the house sparrows either killed or chased them off.

From what you have said it is a pretty good chance that a house sparrow got in there killed and threw the babies out, which they will do and probably either killed momma somewhere or chased her off.

It is very sad but you can help them by removing any sparrow nests. If this happens again, remove their nest and clean the box because most likely they will not use that nest again, but they will use the box again.

May 18, 2011
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Why babies died?
by: Mary

5 baby blue birds in the box, checked on them from when they were 5 eggs till they hatched. I check on them every other day. They were about 10 days old, looked real healthy. My thoughts in about 5 to 8 days they would be coming out of the box. I checked on them in the morning all 5 were dead. I picked them up to see if they were just sleeping, they were not. I don't know what happen to them. So sad. I am hoping the mother and dad will come back to the box.

May 11, 2011
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bluebird tragedy
by: Anonymous

I check on my bluebirds daily except right before they are ready to fledge just so I don't cause them to fledge early. My first bluebird family experience I didn't check up on for day 17 or 18.

Day 19 I was curious because I saw the mom panicking and flying around the box but never actually landing on it. I opened the box really slowly and found myself face to face with a snake.

He had eaten all four of my babies. It was of course his last meal but I am still puzzled as to how he got up there considering I had a baffle and the house was not under a tree or anything...I have a cone shaped baffle on my other bluebird house that has five eggs in it so I am hoping it works better!

Wild-Bird-Watching.com Says:

A cone shaped baffle will not prevent snake attacks. Consider purchasing some deer/bird netting. (available at Walmart, Home Depot, Lowes,etc.)

It's used to protect plants from deer and birds. Ball a larger bunch of this netting up and attach it to your post, then fluff it out.

Snakes will have to crawl through the mesh and will get tangled in it as they cannot back out.

We use this method to protect our Purple Martins.

Do a search like: using bird netting against snakes - You might get a picture of what I'm suggesting.

Apr 28, 2011
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Tragedy
by: Anonymous

Look out for bluejays. I saw them in the act of killing and eating hatchlings. I saved the rest of the clutch and brought them to a local Wildlife Rescue organization. Amazingly, they had over 50 babies in care at the time.

Apr 06, 2011
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they will come back
by: sylvia

Yes, they will nest again...
We watch blue birds..Same thing happened to my daughters babies. twice....So she went to Lowes and bot' a metal protector that goes around the pole to keep predators away. We never knew what got the babies. but w/n a week they had started rebuilding again..

Jul 23, 2010
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bear raid
by: Anonymous

We had a pair of bluebirds using our box for the first time this summer. They built nests in two, but had not laid any eggs, then a marauding black bear tore down all three boxes! The male came back for one day but seems to have left now. We hope they'll try again next year. Any suggestions for keeping the bear away. We have no feeders up in summer here.

May 23, 2010
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Our guess is......House Wrens
by: Kelley

We have nesting pairs of bluebirds as well. One of our nest boxes was occupied by a black-capped chickadee. We welcome all birds but House Sparrows so we were fine with the chickadee using one box. We check our boxes daily.

The chickadee had 5 nestlings that were 4 days old. The next day...GONE!! We couldn't figure out what happened. Then we witnessed a House Wren trying to build a nest right over the chickadee nest.

Additional online research revealed it is common for the House Wren to toss the babies out. They are competing for food and the less competition the better.

If the babies are tossed out possibly a predator most likely ate them while on the ground. Keep a look out for a House Wren in the area!

May 01, 2010
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My own sad tale....
by: Anonymous

I've been watching my bluebirds nest for weeks now. Finally I see mom and dad bringing food into the nest. I walked around a few days later and spotted a baby dead on the ground. Opened the birdhouse and it was cleaned out. No sign of anything. What could have happened? I'm so sad.

Apr 17, 2010
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baffle size?
by: Anonymous

How long is your baffle? I have seen recommendations of at least 24 inches to keep out raccoons. The same thing happened to two different bluebird couples in two of my nest boxes last year. I am looking for a good baffle now to prevent this from happening again. I believe my nestlings were taken by raccoons.

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