My first Bluebirds & then Tragedy!!!

by Esther
(Bethesda, Maryland)

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 (below).

bluebirds just hatched

Baby Bluebirds Just Hatched

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 the 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?

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Comments for My first Bluebirds & then Tragedy!!!

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Baby Birds Disappeared From Nest - Snakes
by: Karen

This happened twice and one time the snake was still in the nest😢

We've had good luck with the snake-away crystals from Home Depot or Lowe's!

We will continue using this every time we have baby birds. I guess it helps hide the smell of the birds.

Yes, a snake
by: Jane

I have a bluebird box that had babies in it and one day they were gone without a trace.

I also have a baffle and I did not think a snake could get past it.

The parents laid more eggs and raised another family.

One night we turned on the outside light lights to see a rainstorm and saw a snake climbing up the pole.

It got to the baffle and stretched out and started climbing up over the edge of the baffle.

My husband got his gun and shot it.

The bluebird fledglings have fledged just this past week.

Strange things in nest
by: Lucy

We were cleaning out our bluebird box after the family left and we found six or seven small, light brown, round pebble-looking objects.

We didn't actually see the birds leave so I’m not sure what to think about this.

There were no shells in the nest either although I know they do eat them for nourishment.

My neighbor has the same thing in her nests.

Here is a link to a photo:
Photo of Something in Bluebird Nest

Responding to Maggie's Post
by: Rosanna

Maggie, you are describing the same issues I used to have a few years back.

The following year, I put up a camcorder with 8-hour tape to capture what was doing this, and yes, it was a red-bellied woodpecker.

It reached in and stole two of the chicks - the bluebirds probably wouldn't have tried to tackle a bird that large.

This year, we had a successful clutch of 3-bluebird chicks fledge this past Friday, June 17th

Because this year, we used a homemade rectangular-shaped predator guard fashioned with wire mesh and screwed it vertically to the outside of the box entrance.

It looks like a wire "cage".

However, it won't keep sparrow birds or wrens from going inside to remove eggs. (Yes, wrens are culprits too)

But it prevents woodpeckers from reaching in and gives the bluebird a fighting chance to fight off smaller birds that try to enter.

If I was able to include a photo in this post I would.

If you google "metal predator guards for nest boxes", you should be able to find something similar to see what it looks like.

Here Is The Bluebird Guard

This is like the type of Guard for birdhouses that Rosanna is speaking about.

It's called the Noel.

Noel Predator Guard

Instructions on how to make it are included.

Protecting Birds in Bird Houses
by: Gene

Hi Maggie,

For House Wrens make sure the opening is between 1 and 1 1/8 inches.

Use a predator guard around the opening, this will make it more difficult for anything to reach in.

The predator could be a woodpecker
by: Maggie

The wrens in my birdhouse had been busy feeding their baby birds when a woodpecker arrived put his head in the hole killed and took the babies.

The wrens were flying around madly scolding but it had no effect on the woodpecker.

I chased the woodpecker as soon as I saw what was happening but it was too late.

After it left I saw a wren fly to the Bird House look in and fly away. They have not returned.

I would love to know how to protect the nest from this type of predator.

It came back to pick up another one of the baby birds and I chased it away.

But, I believe s/he had already killed them since there were no more small chirps from the nest and the parents stopped coming.

I'm sure s/he will be back when no one is around and will empty the nest.

This birdhouse has been in place for over 25 years and this is the first time for such an attack.

My babies disappeared also
by: First Name

My newborn baby bluebirds disappeared within a few days after they were born.

The bird house on the pole was turned. But there was no sign of anything other than They were gone.

It's a brand new nest, but I'm not sure if I should clean it out and start all over again because the mother bird has not been back to lay her eggs.

But she actually laid her eggs in the other birdhouse that I have on my property.

I would appreciate some advice.

Bluebird babies found dead
by: Chris from NJ

On my second year with the bluebird box, a couple built a nest and had babies.

I heard the babies being fed for about two-three weeks and then the box became inactive. I figured the birds had left the nest.

But when I went to clean out the nest, I found five dead little dehydrated fledglings.

Why did this happen now in July of 2021 in New Jersey? Maybe the extreme weather of heat and storms? Not sure why.

Any answers appreciated!

Regards Chris

Baby bluebirds
by: Mary

The same thing happened to me. The eggs were gone too.

Blue birds
by: Anonymous

This happened to us four years ago. A snake can go up a baffle.

Put a slinky under the baffle but it has to be secured on top and bottom. We have had 3 successful bb babies since.

No Bluebirds this year
by: Priscilla

Last year I put up my first purchased bluebird house. Immediately a pair occupied it and it's fledglings left. Another pair came and did the same.

This year, they came checked it out (cleaned out house) but never stayed. Feeder w/mealworms and water available.

The only difference is that we added two more houses, more than 25 ft apart as the website I read required.

Still nothing. I so hoped that we would have them this year. Last year was the first year and it was wonderful to watch.

Bluebirds dying in the cold
by: Karen

This summer I had a family of 8 bluebirds. After the first cold snap in late fall, 4 were gone-I guess they left.

With this arctic cold we've had for the last week,

I have lost 3 and have only 1 female remaining. I have been giving her mealworms and she stays close to the house.

My question is, what will happen next? Will she leave to find a male or is it likely a male will find her and they will nest here?

All the other birds have partners (black-eyed juncos, Carolina wrens, doves, etc), but she has no one.

She seems to actually talk to me when I go out to feed her. I'm so sad.

by: Rosanna

Friday, August 21st...
The Goldfinch chicks were both still alive at 7am this morning while I resumed filming, still chirping non-stop and loudly.

But by 10:30am, the first one died, and did not raise it's head again.

The 2nd one was a fighter and struggled to stay alive, still going through the motions of chirping, with it's eyes closed but no sound.

It finally passed away at 1:30pm, after laying down and then no further movement.

I was first aware of them at 10am yesterday (Aug. 20th), and they had not been fed since then.

I have never seen this before and it really tore me up that I was NOT ALLOWED to do anything about it.

Through my video observations, I have seen sparrows kill bluebirds and swallow chicks.

Red-Bellied woodpeckers steal chicks from the nest, but I have never witnessed what were strong healthy looking chicks, struggle for survival, then finally die of starvation.

Baby Birds in Tree
by: Gene

A couple of things. First, it's very unlikely that both adults would abandon a nest of young or have a predator get them both.

Could happen, but unlikely.

I would slow the footage down and I would also listen and see if I hear adults calling.

Withholding food is what most birds do in order to get the young to leave the nest.

The adults may hold food where the young can see but not approach the nest.

Sometimes they fly up to the nest with food and immediately fly away.

This makes the young attempt to go after the food. If they are making noise and have energy begging for food. I would not worry.

The biggest danger here is not being abandoned but the noise can attract predators.

But at night they will quite down. Don't be surprised if they are gone in a day or two.


Gene Planker

P.S. The rehabilitators are correct. It's not legal to rob an active nest.

Abandoned chicks in nest
by: Rosanna

This is not about bluebirds but I have no where else to turn.

While walking to down my driveway to my mailbox I heard chicks chirping like crazy as if in distress.

Walked towards the sound and found a nest in the tree with two chicks that I was unable to identify but could possibly be mockingbird chicks.

They look to be about a week old fully feather, still has fuzz on top of their heads.

I set up my camcorder near another tree to monitor the nest to see what they were and come to find, that no parent came to the nest at all the entire time I had the camera running.

It is now 5pm just checked the footage again (in fast forward mode) and the chicks have not been feed in those 7-hrs that I have been filming.

I don't know how long they were without food prior to 10am this morning, but they have been chirping all day long and seem very active.

Called my DNR asked if they could recommend a rehabilator and they said it was not allowed and I had to just let nature take its course and let them die if parents don't come back.

I have been upset about this all day and don't know what to do as I can't get up in the tree and my husband left for fishing all weekend.

Raccoons or snakes
by: DVR

If you have raccoons in your area, they will feast on baby birds---as will some types of snakes.

I put a 3 in nail on each side of my 4X4. Then cut a square of 1/4 in wire and attach it to the 4 nails to keep out snakes.

Then I use a 2 ft piece of stove pipe-----crimp the top edges and place it over the 4X4 post and let it down until the crimped edges stop at the nails and wire.

Snakes cannot get thru the wire while the stove pipe will discourage the raccoons, especially if you spray it with oil.

A 1 inch thick guard on the hole also helps to discourage the raccoon.
Good luck-----DVR, Mineral, VA

Update from Virginia- Another family!
by: Anonymous

Thanks to everyone who shares in the agony and excitement of our backyard bluebird drama.

What we thought was just our bluebird family taking shelter from the heat, turned out to be ANOTHER set of babies!

We got suspicious the other day after seeing Momma taking grubs into the nest. Hubby's curiosity finally got the better of him and he got the ladder out to check.

Sure enough, he heard tiny chirps and saw 5 tiny, distinctive balls of fluff!

We are amazed and thrilled! Now that we know they are there, the watching begins again!

Great Bluebird Success
by: Gene

Great to hear you finally had a successful brood and fledging. And thanks to all who offer help to anyone who is having problems with bluebird predators.

by: Anonymous

It's been a few weeks, but I wanted to thank this group for all their support! After all our raccoon tragedies, we finally had 5 babies fledge successfully!

We watched 3 leave the nest and fly across the yard one evening and the last 2 totter, then fly strong in the same direction the next morning.

Hubby was laughing at me as I got eaten to bits by mosquitoes but would not leave my post until I was sure everyone was safe.

I promptly cleaned the box, and while it's probably too late for another nest, the entire family is still around and apparently taking refuge from the heat in the same box!

I couldn't be more excited!

Bluebird tragedy
by: Anonymous

Hi I am the same thing here they were there then they weren't there the next day. Then we had a new family move in of bluebirds.

I watch them and we had a happy out come. The only thing that was strange to me was the bird house was open one day. Nothing was wrong.

I am glad to say we had 4 babies.

I got to see all of them leave. Beautiful babies. I took pictures of them I will send later. They're not on my iPhone. Can’t wait till we see more.

nail strips
by: Anonymous

Hi, So I would say in my opinion that something doesn't seem to mind going going past the nail strips, and if its a snake I guess there are different net baffles to keep them from getting through.

I live in Maine and so far no problems with snakes.

I have a 30 inch baffle on a 10 foot metal pole.

I have had 5 babies the first round and they have fledged and 6 babies with another round due to fledge next Thursday, saying a prayer of course.

I hope you can figure out another baffle, I always search the blue bird website called it's amazing and has saved the lives of bluebirds several times for me. Good luck ...

Re: Baby birds taken from the nest Jun 11, 2020
by: Steve

Probably a snake. Likely a rat snake or a black snake. I highly recommend this set up. I have a 2 1/2 - 3 ft baffle on my extended pole.

Baby birds taken from the nest
by: Anonymous

June 11, 2020 I am very perplexed about our four baby bluebirds
disappearing from the nest! Full hatching eight days ago.

And the plastic pole has nail strips encircling it.
Last year this also happened.

I have been hosting bluebird nests for twenty years. and this is something I cannot figure out.

Working father
by: Anonymous

We had 5 babies leave the nest although the last one sat halfway out for an hour thinking about it. Now, Papa is working his tail feathers off feeding 2 of them in the white ash tree near the box.

He gets the mealworms I put out and feeds each. It's a joy to watch.

We think Mama has taken the girls to the spa. The box is clean and ready.

by: John

Last year I had 2 broods eaten by black snake despite having the tube and the cage on the bird house.

This year I put netting under the house in addition to the other things and it's worked great to keep out the snake.

We had one brood already, 5 and I've seen 4/5 around frequently, their feathers haven't fully changed yet but they frequent the feeder.

Now we have a second batch, 5 eggs, hatched 16 days ago so they should be flying out soon.

The issue happened last night I went out to check on the netting and the dad bluebird was caught in the netting on the ground.

I freaked, got scissors and cut him out the best I could, he was really stressed, and now he won't come near the nest, mom is double timing it, and I've seen him in the tree across the street so hopefully he will re-engage.

I'm afraid part of the netting is on one of his claws but he can fly so I'm praying he's ok.. I never realized how emotionally trying this can be.. john

My bluebirds are gone
by: Shelley

I've never had western bluebirds here but this year I have a pair. I think they were attracted to the humming bird feeder.

The male is very solicitous for food, water and bird bath and very sweet.

He waits for me to get up in the morning open the living room window so he can hang there as I have coffee.

I have no idea where their nest is or was.

A few days ago he was not at my window in the morning. The next day, he flew up and sat on the fence briefly but didn't stay.

I haven't seen him or his little gal for 2 days now something is wrong. After reading these posts, apparently much can happen. I miss them.

I bought a bluebird house but it's not up yet. Is it too late to put it up for them, it's almost June 1st?

Raccoon Deterrent
by: Rosanna

Ron, my last post about this didn't appear here so I will repeat.

I came across a blog where someone suggested using peppery spice around the pole to deter raccoons as they don't like that smell.

I went a little further by slathering automotive grease 3/4 way up the metal pole that my box is on, then dusting the grease with old bay seasoning or similar.

I re-apply as needed if weather wears it off.

Have been doing this for past 2-weeks, so far so good.

Others recommend using a baffle, but my only concern about the baffle method is what if the baffle clangs on the pole, thereby distressing the female sitting on eggs/chicks overnight, causing her to flee in the darkness and then not make her way back, then the eggs/chicks would perish anyway, no?

by: Ron

This morning my blue bird nest was open and the nest was on the ground with all six little ones gone. I am just sick over it.

I believe it was a raccoon! Plan on putting a wire around the door. Any thoughts?

Nasty Raccoons back again!
by: Anonymous

Thought we had fixed the raccoon problem...woke up this morning to our bluebird nest not only ransacked but knocked COMPLETELY off it's perch! I'm so mad I could scream!

To make matters worse, they were up on top of the tin looking very bereft. My heart is breaking this morning. Back to Lowes we go to try and solve the problem again!

Eastern Bluebird Nest Deaths
by: Jim Miller

Been raising this fascinating species for 25 years, This year 2 boxes fairly close neighbor to neighbor oh 400 feet apart, my 5 hatched raised and left nest.

The other was 6 eggs about a week behind mine, babies hatched and raised I would say 2 days from leaving nest when all 6 discovered dead, no trauma from intruders, one on top of other 5 suspect suffocation, too crowded?

Nest very dirty? bad air? any comments? (

Raccoon problem
by: Kamikake

So we got up this morning and the bluebirds were back and active in BOTH boxes again! Is it too late to mount them a bit different and put baffles on them? Leaving them in the same spot just out on posts a bit so they can be better protected.

Raccoon issue
by: Anonymous

Well, they are nesting both boxes! Is it too late to add a baffle of some sort to try to protect them?

Female BB removes egg she just laid??
by: Rosanna

As I've mentioned on previous posts on this forum, every season I have a camcorder set up all day long, monitoring my nest boxes.

Yesterday, I saw the female BB go inside and within a few minutes came out with the egg she had just laid the day before.

I don't know why she would do that and this is the first time I had ever seen this. Could this be one of the reasons eggs go missing - does she know if the egg is flawed somehow? Has anyone else witnessed this before?

by: Gene

Fence Charger

Raccoon proble
by: Anonymous

A fence charger? That sounds cool!

by: Gene

If you can figure out how to attach a baffle you can. Raccoons can climb and walk along the top of the fence. I suggest using a fence charger if you can.

Raccoon problem
by: Kamikake

We have 2 bluebird houses mounted on our back fence. Both had nests and one had 4 eggs. We noticed yesterday morning that the nest with the eggs was disturbed and Mommy and Daddy were checking it out but not going in.

This morning we got up and the empty nest was pulled out even more. Mommy and Daddy have disappeared entirely.

We cleaned out the nests but hate to move the boxes entirely. Can we out a baffle or tin square behind the boxes to deter raccoons?

snakes and bluebirds
by: cynthia

Two years ago I went to my blue bird nest to check on the babies and when I opened the box there was a large snake in the box who had just eaten the babies.

I was so upset I started researching the problem. What I found was using baffle and then tacking bird netting to the pole, around the baffle to the bottom of the nesting box.

Since that time I have caught many snakes in the netting. They get tangled in the netting and can't get out, also if you find your babies gone and the nest undisturbed in all probability it was a snake.

From Adminstrator: This is an example of bird netting around a pole to prevent snakes climbing up. This just happens to be on a purple martin pole but you can adapt it to your situation.

snake netting to keep snakes away from bird houses

Bird Netting Around Purple Martin Pole to Trap Snakes

Re: 25 years with the same bluebird house.
by: Steve Klein

I've not been doing this 25 years. Maybe 5 or 6 or 7 years. Many tragedies. Then I was admonished to put a wobbling baffle on a 3/4 inch galvanized pole. I watched the following excellent video:

I extended my pole to approx. 12 feet using a coupling and Liquid Nails daubed around the coupling for strength. Now I have two baffles on my pole; so many snakes out here, big snakes.

I am on my third brood with the baffle assembly. No snakes yet to my knowledge. I think the baffle (a long one) is the best way to go at this point.

25 years with the same bluebird house.
by: Anonymous

I have a bluebird house attached to the front of a utility shed, facing south. At least two broods each year.

During a cold winter wind the adult birds pile into the house for the night. One spring I found six feather covered skeletons in the house.

They all froze during an exceptionally cold, windy night. Another year found a big black snake curled up inside, with several large round balls in his stomach.

Most of the time the parents are successful in raising babies.

by: Gene

Hello Cynthia. There is one solution and that is to get rid of the House Sparrow. There are traps made to go inside the house and houses with traps.

Search online. The Bluebird Society and the Purple Martin Conservation Association highly encourage trapping and where legal (rural areas) shooting House Sparrows. This invasive species harms many of our native protected species.

Take a look at this website for a ton of information.


House Sparrow Killer
by: Cynthia

After my Tree Swallows were nesting in my bluebird house, a house sparrow, who was hanging around the house, must have killed the female swallow and got rid of the eggs. I'm so disappointed.

My bluebirds are still feeding on mealworms there but I'm afraid, if they use this house for another clutch, the sparrow will get to them. Any thoughts???

Re: Elizabeth Vick
by: Steve Klein

These are some great ideas. Carpet tack strips affixed to the pole with zip-ties and the other post, "Protect the bluebirds from sun!" So true. It's got to be hot in there late spring through summer.

Re: Nest but no eggs????
by: Anonymous

I have had bluebirds build a nest but wait a few days before laying eggs. It's almost like they are scouting it out to make sure it is safe.

Sometimes I wonder if they put a nest there to stake a claim to the box but are rearing young in another nest nearby.

Mother bluebird is not constantly sitting on the eggs depending on the temperature in the box, which why I cover my boxes with heavy cardboard (in a V-shape) to shield it from the intense heat.

I believe bluebirds can also be spooked or frightened if they see a snake in the area. I have my box on a tall pole now with (not one) but two baffles, mostly for snakes.


Nest but no eggs????
by: kaysyrena

The bluebirds found the house and built the nest. We watched for a few days and they were there constantly building.

The nest was done but the bluebirds disappeared and haven't come back. No eggs and we haven't seen them since. Why?

Some ideas
by: Elizabeth Vick

I bought carpet tack strips, spray painted them black to match my pole, and then placed them all around the pole and under the baffle. They are held on by zip ties.

No snakes or raccoons touch my pole. I also placed a second roof with spacers on top of the wood one to absorb the heat (my temporary first roof was Styrofoam).

I painted (not spray paint) the outside of the birdhouse off-White to cut down on heat absorption.

Just make sure your birdhouse isn’t in the heat during the hottest time of the day.

eggs on ground
by: Anonymous

I found two bluebird eggs on the ground away from trees and wonder how they got there. They were undamaged. Any ideas?

Tree Swallows
by: Cynthia

My bluebirds have fledged - and now tree swallows have made a nest and laid eggs.

I'm thrilled to have them but worry about what the bluebirds will do for their second clutch.

We put another house about 15 feet from the original bluebird house in hopes they will use that one. Any ideas?

Check Baffle Opening
by: Cynthia

I had that happen last year but we intervened before there was a tragedy. Make sure there is NO opening between the baffle and the post. A small black snake got thru ours.

Protect the bluebirds from sun!
by: Anonymous

I wish I could post a picture of my bluebird nesting box... first of all its on a pole and wooden,

I have a 30 inch baffle on pole half way up..Also, a sparrow spooked up since she had laid her first egg..

It was getting really hot last summer so I put a second roof on which was just a cut board and put a round piece of wood under it so it slanted a bit which took the full sun with air going under it and secured it it with duck tape around the box...

I didn't think that was quite enough so I bought a blue cheap umbrella opened it and secured it to the back of the house where the sparrow spooked was also secured!

The bluebird took a few minutes to get use to it BUT they soon did and I had 5 healthy babies fledge from this nesting box!

To: At Here We Go
by: Anonymous

Thank you for your hard work with the bluebirds. I hope you have success with this brood. Our 5 babies fledged yesterday after 2 unsuccessful attempts. It was a great feeling!

We are keeping the mealworms out and saw daddy bb this morning out for a visit at the feeder and the birdbath. Maybe he will bring the little ones by for a visit as well.

Here we go!
by: Anonymous

Have swallows in bluebird trail nesting box 1, tufted titmouse family in number 4 and bluebirds in number 3, have taken nests out 4 times with house wrens and eggs in them ... they are STILL around.

I have a pole and large 30 inch baffle for bluebirds and she has laid 4 blue eggs as of Tues. and I check yesterday (Thurs) and still 4 eggs so she will have 4 babies ...

Sparrow Spoker is up after the first egg was laid and I started monitoring and counting days until babies fledge.. live mealworms out twice a day, here we go!

To: Rachel
by: Diacrum

Most likely your baby bluebirds got too hot in the metal house. Always use a wood box, never metal. Good luck next time. Sorry for your loss!

Baffle: cannot recommend it enough
by: Steve Klein

I have had so many Bluebird tragedies over the years, snakes, racoons, etc., I almost gave up until experts kept lecturing me to make a baffle and put my box on a 3/4" pole, so I Googled it.


'Bluebird predator guards - protect your Bluebird nest'

I am NOT a mechanic or a handyman. I went to Home Depot and bought a 60 inch piece of galvanized "stove pipe" and a galvanized cap to secure at the top.

I cut it in half with wire snippers, leaving me a 30" long piece (this video recommends 24 inches so mine is 6" longer but only 6" in diameter not the 8" he recommends).

Once you fold over the stove pipe, you need a small drill bit and some small screws to secure both sides at the seam and to secure the cap at the top.

I used the drill bit to make tiny holes in the cap so I could cut out a little larger than 3/4" hole to fit over my 3/4" galvanized pipe I hammered into the ground.

Anyway all this is discussed in the video.

I am on my second nest and thus far to my knowledge no predator has tried to surmount the baffle which wobbles.

I saw (it had to be) a 6 foot black snake near the nest one morning but he did not try to climb the baffle.

I also secured a piece of wire mesh onto the top of the baffle (it has sharp edges) for extra protection but that is another matter.

Re: Bluebird tragedy
by: Anonymous

Most people leave bluebird boxes out in the full sun. I don't get it.

I only had to see a box full of nearly fledged babies burn alive (mid-day) one time to begin covering my bluebird box with a heavy piece of cardboard affixed above it.

I have these wax-coated trays wholesale nurseries use to pack potted plants in. I am sure most nurseries have stacks of them, as well as nursery chain stores.

Other kinds of hard cardboard would work little doubt.

I fold my cardboard in a v-shape which slopes down below both sides of the box. Right now the bluebird box opening is facing south.

Not only does it protect the birds from the heat of the sun (and hard rain) but it also makes it more difficult for flying predators, owls, hawks, etc., to see and have access to the box.

I highly recommend doing this for the comfort of the baby birds.

by: Gene

I'm guessing raccoons or snakes. Predator guards, snake netting, ect. Otherwise you're providing a banquet for predators.

by: Anonymous

I put up a bird house and the next day, a pair of bluebirds were building their nest in it. I was so excited.

A few weeks later, there were 4 eggs and 12 days later, 4 babies. They were very diligent, both bringing food to the box for the babes.

The 2nd day, I got home from work and the house was moved; everything in the area in disarray.

I waited and waited but neither adult showed back up. By the end of the 3rd day, all 4 babies had died. It was heart breaking.

I cleaned out the box and now the male is back but stays on the phone pole; he just sings this sad call but won't fly down. I feel so helpless. 😢

Bluebird tragedy
by: Rachel

A Bluebird made a nest & laid 5 eggs in a decorative metal birdhouse in our flowerbed.

All the eggs hatched between 5/19/19 and 5/21/19. The chicks were fine yesterday but this evening when I checked the chicks were all dead.

Our weather was in the high 80’s & the birdhouse is in the sun most of the day. This is our first experience with this...could the heat have caused this? Should I remove the chicks?

I saw dad in the trees but he never came to birdhouse...that’s why I checked them.

Advice to Rosanna
by: Diacrum

Although maybe too late, here is some advice for the woodpecker problem. We have the red-bellied as well.

We keep them very happy with suet food and well away from the bb box. Maybe next time you can try this. Good luck!

Where are the Bluebirds?
by: Anonymous

Each year I have had at least one pair of nesting bluebirds and great success with the babies .... This winter I brought 7 bluebirds through the winter buying live mealworms etc.

I had a male and female couple which were with me through April but something must have happened to the male because she came back to the feeders but he never did.

I think a hawk might have gotten him. She stayed for 5 days and kept leaving as if to go find him and would come back by herself, it was so SAD.

Then on the 6th day she left and I haven't seen her OR any bluebirds, some neighbors up the road haven't seen their bluebirds either, are they moving around or maybe they all died?

No one seems to know. I live in Southern Maine, any ideas? Missing the bluebirds.

deep bird houses
by: Gene

They all build nest differently,consider adding more protection by adding an entrance guard like the one on this page. look on the right side of the page.

Predator guards

Re: How deep are your birdhouses?
by: Steve Klein

I notice in one of my smaller boxes (not deep at all) they build a modest nest. The other box I bought from Lowes is fairly deep and they build a substantial nest, tall enough so mom can be sitting on her eggs and peering out the hole at the same time.

Unhatched eggs
by: Steve Klein

Yes, please do NOT remove the eggs unless you are absolutely certain they've given up. And then wait another day or two.

I did that once to my great sorrow. My last batch of eggs (not all hatched) 2 or 3 did hatch days after the designated 14 days. As another reader wrote, mom will know.

unhatched eggs
by: Gene

They will decide when the eggs are no longer viable. The female won't incubate forever.

Rogue Woodpecker
by: Rosanna

Like I said the other day, I have never seen a Woodpecker attempt to interfere with my bird boxes ever in the last 5-years, and now today, I have on video probably the same Woodpecker attempting to get at the eggs inside my Tree Swallow box.

The female was still inside and tried to fend him off, but he grabbed her by the beak and yanked her out of the box. The male swallow flew into him and knocked him off.

I think it is the same Woodpecker because I carefully compared his coloring/markings to see if it was a different one, but I believe he is the same one. For some reason this Woodpecker has gone rogue.

Unhatched eggs
by: Anonymous

We currently have a nest with 4 eggs. They were due to hatch about 4-6 days ago. We are in Houston so cold weather is not a factor. The parents are still coming to the nest. I’m guessing the eggs are infertile.

How do I know when to remove the nest. Will the parents stay as long as the eggs are still in the nest even if they are not going to hatch?

cold weather
by: Gene

It's possible there wasn't enough food available for the adults to feed or a predator captured the female.

Can cold weather, rain, wind kill baby bluebirds?
by: Anonymous

Need to know if cold weather can kill baby bluebirds. All 4 were alive and active on Saturday, 5/11/19. Then we had rain, cold and wind the next three days.

When I checked them at lunch today all 4 had died. Their bodies are there and I'll clean the nest box.

Does anyone know what might have happened to them? I don't have a camera on the box. Thanks for your help.

Woodpeckers, etc.
by: Anonymous

I don't know if this helps or not. I cover my nesting box with a large piece of heavy cardboard in sort of a V shape.

Above my cardboard I secured one of these solar motion detector lights for predators such as owls that might attack the house at night.

Anyway, the cardboard serves a couple of purposes. It helps to hide the box and the opening from view and more importantly it keeps the chicks cooler from the heat of the mid-day and afternoon sun.

I once had babies literally burn alive in the heat of the day in a small bluebird box that was not protected from the sun.

by: Gene

How deep are your birdhouses. Usually bb's don't fill up birdhouses and it would make it difficult for the woodpecker to reach. Also try an entrance guard like the ones on this page.

Building Bird Houses

Woodpecker stole Bluebird Chick
by: Rosanna

Well, my worst fear just happened. Just checked video footage from earlier this evening, & right before sunset, the BBs were back & forth feeding the chicks before settling down for the night, & in the split second they were both gone from the nest, the Woodpecker returned, this time yanking out a chick.

A few seconds later the Male BB returned, went in the box, & then left, but I couldn't tell if he was even aware a chick was missing because he did not act distressed. The female eventually returned & went in the box for the night, just before it got too dark.

I am so bummed about this because just when I thought I would have no worries because I hadn't seen any Sparrows or Wrens bothering my BBs, I find I now have to contend with a new predator.

A few days ago I did see a Woodpecker land on my Swallow box, but I didn't think anything of it at the time.

The Swallows do aggressively guard their box (more than the BBs), because there is always one of them at the box at all times, never left unattended.

Woodpecker Predators?
by: Rosanna

Just reviewed video footage recorded from earlier today, & a red-bellied woodpecker perched himself in front of my bluebird box & started sticking his head inside yanking out nesting material.

Fortunately the female BB was inside & knocked him off & flew off after him. A few minutes later he tried again, & fortunately she had returned to the box by then & once again, she knocked him off & took off after him.

This is the first time I have witnessed this in the 5-years I have been videotaping my birds.

Searched Google & found that these woodpeckers' diet does includes eggs of small birds. Has anyone else seen this happen?

It now makes me wonder if other incidents of lost eggs/chicks could have been result of woodpeckers as well.

I would like to be able to upload the footage, which is only a few seconds; is that possible on this forum?

@ Jeff V
by: Gene

Sounds like a raccoon, they decapitate their prey. Get a baffle to prevent climbing predators. Or you can use a fence charger.

Bb killed
by: Jeff V

Created a new front panel on my bb house this spring with 1-1/2" hole as last year I had birds, but then saw a red squirrel sticking his head out one day and that was it for the bb’s.

Had bb’s this year the very next day! Have seen them on the house periodically and quite a bit the last week.

Woke up this morning and the male was dead on top of the house-head mostly gone. Quite a few feathers stuck on the hole so I suspect whatever got him pulled him out of the house. Any ideas?

I suspect the red squirrels again, but thought I’d ask if anyone else has had the same experience and can advise.

Bluebird Chicks Just Hatched
by: Anonymous

My Bluebird chicks must have just hatched late this afternoon, as female has now started going back & forth from box every few minutes. And to have them hatch on Mother's Day make it even sweeter.

Another thought...
by: Anonymous

Not only will the sparrows take them out of the nest but also raccoons ... this happened to me too... I was told by bird specialists to make sure the thickness around the entrance hole was 2 inches!

That way a raccoon can not bend its arm to get them... if you have a metal baffle that will do the trick to protect them... if snakes I guess you need a netting baffle too.. I live in Maine... Good luck....

Setting Bluebird Houses out Later
by: Gene

To Anonymous to Rosanna, Congratulations on not having predators this year. I think what you did is a good idea and your analysis is probably correct.

Keep in mind though, Wrens and House Sparrows have multiple clutches and will want new sites for these clutches. Wrens generally look for second nesting sites and House Sparrows will kill what they perceive as competition.

Keep watching and good luck.

Snakes are by far the biggest problem, raccoons too.
by: Anonymous

After losing so many Bluebird babies to snakes and raccoons (mostly snakes) I finally installed a baffle on a 3/4" galvanized pole having watched the following video:

So far, so good. I bought the galvanized stove pipe at Home Depot. It is 6" in diameter, not 8" he recommends.

Also, on top of the baffle I secured what this man calls a 'Noel Guard' which is wire mesh having sharp points that a snake will have to cross.

I prefer it on my baffle than around the hole in the box. My baffle is 30 inches (not the 24 inches he recommends) and it wobbles.

In response to Anonymous
by: Rosanna

I don't know if this makes a difference or not, but this year I was late getting my nest boxes put up. Right now, I have BBs ready to hatch any day & Tree Swallows have just starting to incubate their eggs.

I always used to set them out much earlier & when checking my "journal" notes from previous years, it seems earlier in the spring is when there may be more activity from Sparrows, & Wrens, as all the birds are busy competing for nesting sites.

This year, I have not had ANY problems, not even a "visit" by any of them, so maybe the Sparrows & Wrens had already settled elsewhere & been too preoccupied with their own nests, that they are leaving mine alone??

(I have camcorders running all day monitoring the boxes & watch the footage at night).

I can't think of any other reason I have not had any Sparrows or Wrens bothering my birds this year.

Now, I have noticed my birds this year are not leaving their nests for any length of time like previous years, but still, I have not witnessed on my videos, any predator visits at all - so far !

by: Gene

Never heard of Bluejays raiding birdhouses. They can't fit in an inch and a half opening.

Blue birds
by: Anonymous

I have watched the blue birds check out and except the nesting box. The baby’s hatched yesterday and blue jays came Trying to get in the box I kept chasing them away but they may have gotten the baby’s.

I had no idea they ate other birds so upset they worked so hard.

Sparrows raided the house!
by: Anonymous

Noticed sparrows going in and out of the bb house. Went out to check as Mom & Dad bb was sitting on top. I found 4 babies outside on the ground and 1 still in the nest.

I left the one in the nest and noticed 2 on the ground barely hanging on.

I put them in the nest.

Will Mom & Dad come back or should I clean out the box and chaulk it up to 5 dead babies?

Dead mama bb
by: Diacrum

I’m not sure if dad will continue to care for young. Can you tell us if he has?

Baby bluebirds
by: Anonymous

We found our mama bluebird dead this morning will the male continue to care for them?

snakes and bluebirds
by: Gene

Always place houses on poles and use a predator baffle and bunched up bird netting under the house to protect against raccoons and snakes. Sorry to hear about the loss.

Rat snake
by: Anonymous

I just now found a rat snake inside one of my bluebird boxes. It got one baby but three left. I hope the parents come back! I have never seen this before.

by: Gene

I'm not a huge fan of House Wrens but they are a protected species and a natural part of the process. Although you could argue that process is out of balance due to habitat changes.

I've had issues with the wrens damaging the eggs of the Purple Martin colony I have in my yard. You are right though, they don't kill the adults.

Watch out for Wrens too
by: Rosanna

Last year I had a camcorder set up to monitor my Chickadee nest box and when reviewing the footage later, a wren had removed all the eggs, so they are just as bad as House Sparrows, although I don't think wrens would kill the adults like sparrows would.

Second Hole on top of Birdhouse
by: Gene

Rgall shared the idea regarding the second hole. I think if I were to try the second hole idea, I would find a way to cover it if a strong storm were predicted. May not matter but that's just me.

House sparrows
by: Anonymous

Our 4 eggs were taken out and destroyed by a house sparrow I’m assuming. They were lying on the ground below the box.

Mom and dad bb built another nest in another box on the opposite side of the house. She laid her first egg last Saturday. We put up a sparrow spooker that afternoon and she laid another egg on Sunday. No egg today, however.

I’m sorry you lost the babies to whatever. Clean out the nest box and hopefully they will try again. I’ll keep you posted and you do the same. Also, thanks Gene for the info on the second hole.

by: Gene

Sounds like House Sparrows. They will kill the young and even the adults if they are in the house at the time. Check out

Baby Blue birds dead in nest
by: Anonymous

I am so upset I just checked my nest because I had not seen the parents in days and all the babies were dead. Did you get any answers about this I can't find anything to help me know what happened.

by: Gene

Thanks for replying. Worth a try.
No idea what to do about house wrens.

No more sparrows.
by: Rgall

The second hole goes on top of the box with screen over it to keep predators from reaching in. And yes rain can get in but the bluebirds don't mind it.

The way I got the idea was that I seen a bluebird pair nest in a 5 ft. Pipe sticking out of the ground with a satellite dish bolted through it near the top.

They were successful but very vulnerable. So I drilled a hole in the top and blocked it with heavy screen. No more sparrows in 20 years.

Sparrows and house wrens
by: Anonymous

Yes, I would be interested to know about the second hole. Also, any suggestions for house wren invasions? Does anyone have pictures to show ways to keep wrens out of boxes? We just had 4 eggs taken out of the nest and destroyed by house wrens. Thanks!

Bluebird House
by: Gene

What about rain getting in? Or are you talking about a second hole on the front?

Problem soved.
by: Rgall

I learned about twenty years ago to drill a second hole in the top of the bb box the same size as the entrance hole and tack screen over it so that it is on the inside of the box, sparrows don't like that but bluebirds don't mind it at all.

Every spring sparrows will check it out and move on.

I have had two broods per year ever since with 100 percent success, problem solved.

Of course, I also have a stove pipe baffle with screen at the top to keep snakes out.

do your research first
by: Anonymous

Please do your research before considering a bluebird house. The website sialis is a great source. Houses need to be away from trees and bushes where predators can climb up and get in. It is also not a good idea to put the houses on fence posts or wooden posts.

Use a metal pole and predator guard. If you have snakes in your area put up a snake guard too. You also need to monitor the boxes daily until,the babies get close to fledging.

I have learned so much but it is not as simple as just putting up a bluebird house. It is a commitment but well worth it to watch these beautiful birds.

by: Anonymous

House wrens. Last summer they murdered at least two baby bluebirds by dragging one out of the nest and dumping it a few feet away. The 2nd one was hanging out of the house opening.

The smell was horrible. I had unknowingly placed the house in harm's way by posting it at the edge of woodlands. I have also witnessed them piercing my Robins eggs on 2 separate nests this summer here in southwestern Ohio.

My fault for attracting them to my yard last year by putting up wren houses. Wrens can build nests anywhere. They don't need help like the meek and gentle bluebirds.

New Bluebird gramma
by: Fosterliz

We put up our first bluebird house in Rhode Island in March. We had success attracting them and were so excited to see 5 bright blue eggs. Everyone thought they were Robin eggs they were so blue.

ALL 5 successfully fledged! I removed the nest but did not clean the box. Then a few weeks later I was surprised to see another nest which was definitely a bb nest and 5 more eggs. They were a much lighter blue. However Mom was very active.

We left for vacation and came back to find only 4 eggs in the nest and one of them looked half broken with a petrified baby inside. The other eggs were turning an odd color and had a slight ring around them.

They should have hatched by now. It's been extremely humid and in the 90's here in New England. I am a new birder and would appreciate any insight.

Blue birds
by: Anonymous

Our first set of hatched blue bird babies was eaten by grackles. We removed the perch outside the bird house and just watched our second set leave the nest!

by: Diacrum

Did you remove the first nest after successful fledging? My B.B.s laid 5 eggs the first time. They did not hatch. Mama B.B. then started building a nest on top of the old one with the eggs still in there.

I took out the old eggs. We had 3 babies fledge 2 days ago. I then cleaned it the box. If I were you, I would leave the nest, unless it,s soiled in there. Good luck! Sorry for your loss.

bluebird eggs
by: Gene

Sounds like predator attack, House Sparrows, House Wren, snakes ect.

5 eggs gone
by: Sue

We successfully had 4 bluebird eggs hatches for the first time. Then about 2 weeks later we had five more eggs in the box for a second round of babies.

Today I went to check the nest. All eggs gone.

I found the egg shells in a nearby bush with peck holes in it. What happened? How were they taken from the nest?

The male and female are still at the box coming and going, seem confused. still feeding last set of babies.

Will they lay eggs again? should I remove the nest. so sad! Don't know what to do!!!

by: Gene

I would prefer the torpedo type. Bottom of baffle should be 4 feet above ground. Bird/Deer netting should be used with baffle. Place netting above baffle.

Question about baffles
by: Anonymous

Amazon sells two kinds of baffles.

Woodlink NABAF18 Audubon Wrap Around Squirrel Baffle, 18-Inch

Then there is this one:

Woodlink Audubon Torpedo Steel Squirrel Baffle Model NATORPEDO

I believe they are both recommended for 1 inch, maybe 1 1/4 inch poles. Which one is the best to deter snakes or will they both work equally well? Or is there a better baffle on the market? Snakes are a big problem where I live.

by: Diacrum

I would replace the house. If there is any doubt that they would reuse the box, I’d rather spend the extra money for a box or materials to build a new one. They are such a joy to watch. I’m sorry you lost one of your babies!

Baffle Security
by: Anonymous

After successfully watching at least two clutches of bluebirds fledge each summer for 15 years, we had a tragedy last week.

It was close to fledge time and we noticed the parents were very agitated and taking turns trying to feed the babies. Upon further investigation, there was a small rat snake in the box.

When Freddie removed it, two babies fell out which he returned to the nest. I'm pretty sure the snake ate one baby. The remaining babies fledged the next day, probably a day or two early. Hope they all made it.

Upon further investigation, our baffle wasn't snug up against the 4x4 so the small snake could get through the opening. I hope the parents won't shun this nest for further broods. Should we put up another house?

Nest in Rose Bush
by: Gene

Yes, snakes can easily climb almost anything. Even greased poles.

Your nest sounds like a Robin nest. Bluebirds only nest in cavities.

Please see: Robins for more information.

Rose bush nest
by: Anonymous

We have a very large thorny rose bush in front of our house. While pruning the bush on Mother's Day, I came across a Blue Bird nest deep inside our bush.

We have loads of big trees in our neighborhood and everyone has feeders out. The nest had 4 tiny eggs.

I was thrilled, but honestly I had no idea what kind of bird was in the nest or anything about Blue Birds.

I researched and started putting out appreciate Blue Bird food to help support the mama bird. Over the next few days the mama bird became protective of the rose bush.

I was putting some more dry worms out for the mama bird and took a peek in the nest hoping to see baby birds and the nest was empty.

I have continued to check the last few days but the nest is empty. I don't think a cat could get up inside our thorny bush and keep the nest intact.

I worry now that I may have a snake living in my rose bush at the front of my house. Can a snake climb a thorny rose bush? What should I'd do if anything with the nest?

Babies are gone
by: Gerald

This morning I noticed the bluebird house was tilted a few inches on the wooden pole. When I got closer I noticed the nest was sticking out the little hole some. I did not hear the babies when I correct the wooden bluebird house back. Looks like something got them last night. so sad.

Blue bird nest
by: Anonymous

I have pretty good luck putting my blue bird box on a metal post. I also have an extended entrance so coons can’t reach in. I grease the metal post so snakes can’t crawl up.

We’ve been helping blue birds for over 40 yrs. My biggest problem are sparrows. One yr the sparrows wanted the nest area so bad, they built a nest right on top of the baby blue birds.

Usually older blue birds are able to fight them off.

Some ideas on deterring nest predators.
by: Dave

Wooden posts are easy to mount boxes on but easy for predators to climb.
Try 1 1/2" metal conduit pipe. It's for electrical wiring and comes in 10' lengths.

You may have to adapt your box to mount it. You can use ubolts, or drill holes through pipe and box, then bolt the box on.

You can treat the metal posts with a light coat of crisco, or motor oil to make it slippery. It will probably need to be reapplied depending on weather.

For the nest hole - cut a square that is about an inch bigger than the hole on all sides, so 1/1/2" hole, it should be about 3 1/2 to 4" square.

Drill a 1 1/2" hole in the center and glue, nail or screw it so that it doubles the thickness of the hole.

Lastly, when you go to check on your box do not walk out to it and back, stop at it, do your thing, than continue walking either to the next box or a different path home.

Don't lead predators to your box by walking out to it and directly back.

I saw that someone used a motion sensitive solar light. That is a great idea also, for owls, and flying squirrels.

You can still use a baffle but get or make one that sits like the musical symbols, not the tubular kind as those just give critters like a snake something to grip on and push against for support.

The symbol one needs to be very wide and slightly angled down. A snake can extend a little over a foot without support.

Another little tip is to sprinkle some diatomateous earth in the bottom of the empty box in the spring.

That will kill of insect parasites but not harm the birds.

I've also read but never tried, using mothballs to deter snakes and mice. Maybe just drop them around the base? Not too sure on that one.

Hope this helps. I'm just glad I no longer live where there are snakes to worry about! Good luck to all of you.

Re: deer netting
by: Anonymous

I just did this under my nest. It seems a rat snake will just work his way through this netting up to the nest. I could be wrong.

deer netting
by: Gene

Google bird/deer netting and using it to protect bird houses from snakes. Bunch it up under the house to catch snakes.

Eggs gone
by: Anonymous

Five eggs gone. Nest undisturbed. We have a baffle on a free standing metal pole. My son thinks it was a rat snake. I don’t know what to do.

2 years of no success
by: Anonymous

This is year #2 of what I believe is unsuccessful. I live in South Alabama. I have 3 bluebird boxes installed. 2 are on 8’ 2X4 pokes at 6’ heights and the 3rd is mounted on an 8’ privacy fence. This box is the 1 that has had B.B. activity for the last 2 years.

I can see the box from my window and have seen Mr B.B. visiting several times per day. I never open the box to view activity but as of yesterday morning I haven’t seen either Mom or Dad around. I opened the box today and saw 2 eggs remaining.

Plenty of waste was visible on the walls so I knew either Mom or babies were making it. Last year I had 1 remaining egg after Mom & Dad disappeared.
Wondering, did the babies fledge & disappear with Mom & Dad?

Ants, flying squirrels & owls
by: Anonymous

One thing I think is worth mentioning. Here in north Florida Bluebirds can nest late into the season and it gets hot and humid / rainy even now in late May.

One year after the eggs hatched I came out in the morning only to find the nest full of ants; they babies were dead.

So now I wrap my pole (my nests are situated on a telephone pole approx. 10 feet up) at the base with old cloth and I pour a solution of Sevin insecticide mixed in some water around the the base of the pole saturating the cloth. No more ant problem.

Sevin is inexpensive (hasn't much odor) and available at Home Depot, Walmart, etc. I am not suggesting everyone should do this depending on your circumstances but after that experience I am going with it.

One more thing. I have found two problems at night beyond snakes and raccoons; owls and flying squirrels will attack my nest at night.

After the eggs hatch and the mother is no longer in the nest at night I am covering the entry hole with fine wire mesh at night, taking it off in the morning.

I bought a "Litom Solar Outdoor, Wireless 24 LED Motion Sensor Solar, Wide Lighting Area, Waterproof Security Light" at Amazon.

I mounted it above my nest. I don't know about owls but flying squirrels hate bright lights and this thing is very bright.

It can detect motion at 180 degrees, 25 to 26 feet away. I think it helps.

Rat Snakes andbBluebirds
by: Barbara

When that happened to our Bluebirds we later found a rat snake near by. They can remove both eggs and hatchlings without disturbing the nest at all. Females usually won’t rebuild in the same nest when that happens. A baffle can prevent Snakes, squirles and raccoons from getting to the box.

What happened to my baby Bluebirds???
by: Karensq

This is my first year to have Bluebirds!!! I was so so excited! They had 4 babies about 1 1/2 week ago, than this morning I didn't see the mother or father so I checked on the box and all the babies were dead!!! What happened???

There are no marks on any of them, I did notice one was not as mature as the others. They had feathers and looked as if they were going to be ready to leave the nest in just a few days! Do I clean out the nest and hope they come back??

by: Faye

It’s my first time having Bluebirds the joy was so wonderful, but my 5 or 6 babies that were 10 day’s old was taken by a Oak snake, the snake was still in the nesting box! Dead snake now! I pray I get them back, I put a Predator guard up and I’m afraid that they don’t understand what that is.

by: Diane Crumbley

That’s great news about your fledglings! They sure are cute, aren’t they? We have a new egg in our nest after the previous 5 didn’t hatch. Maybe this time.....☺️

Blue birds fledged
by: Terri Powell

5-16-18, today our baby blue birds fledged, 4 little puffs. Every year we put up ceramic bird bottles and this year we have a family.

Mom and Dad have been amazing. We had two cats come into the yard but were fended off.

Babies are now hiding under the shrubs in the garden.

To the author of: To the bluebird watcher who had 4 hatch
by: Steve Klein

No. I check my Bluebird nests often. Parents might get a little protective but touching the boxes, making sure the box is secure, even touching the eggs is not a problem, not that you need to touch them. These birds are very attached to their young.

Also, I want to say this. I bought a "Wireless Home Security Driveway Alarm, Receiver and 2 Motion Sensor Detectors, Weatherproof Patrol Infrared Alert System Kit" at Amazon. It was $24.99, well worth the money for me and has given me a new window into the dangers the young face at night.

Twice my receiver in my bedroom went off at night only to discover 1) a flying squirrel killed two of the fledglings before I shooed her away; leaving 2 or 3 which the parents were very happy to have. 2) an owl landed on my nest at 5:00 AM the other morning before I shooed him away.

So I fastened a "Litom Solar Light Outdoor, Wireless 24 LED Motion Sensor Solar Lights with Wide Lighting Area" ($15.00 at Amazon) just above the nest.

I think that will help as it lights the entire area brightly should anything approach the box within twenty plus feet.

But also now, when the birds hatch and there is no mother in the box at night, I am wrapping fine wire mesh (1/4 inch) around the box in the evening and removing it in the morning.

The parents get a little protective (father dive bombed me; mom is more circumspect) but it definitely saves lives at night so I am going to continue doing it.

Study Up
by: Gene

You might want to visit Bluebirds to learn about monitoring bluebirds. Bluebirds, raptors, (eagles, hawks, ect.) Purple Martins and other species need to be monitored in order for the species to thrive. When done correctly, it's very helpful.

We can't band and study birds and bird behavior without checking nest.

Bluebird Fanatic
by: Liz

Hi there. We have bluebirds every year in our yard and have seen several broods. I believe a snake got yours...they were too young to fledge.

It is sad but happens. The bluebirds won't nest again where a snake has been.

Replace the house and put it in another location. We have ours on a free standing wood pole about 9 feet up... And out a long screw below the hole.

The parents sit on that screw and feed the babies. Don't clean the box until Fall when breeding season ends. They mate all summer.

If there has been a predator of any kind in the box, replace it. I would not remove any of the nest. If they build over unhatched eggs let them do it.

We have mealworms in a hanging oblong caged feeder...the bluebirds come to it all year long. Wild Bird Unlimited has the best squirrel proof feeder we have ever found.

It's their own brand model. Not cheap but worth investing. The baffle is a long cylinder squirrel has gotten to any seed or worms in three years!

by: Diacrum

Diane, I think your baby bluebirds fledged. Once they do, it’s not unusual for them to hide and you won’t see them. Last year, after our 5 fledged, we never saw them again. We did get to see them fledge, however. We even got pictures! It was so much fun!

New nest on top of old
by: Diacrum

The 5 eggs in the bluebird nest are quite overdue for hatching. Today, I noticed mama bb bringing in new nesting materials. Should I remove the old eggs so she doesn’t have to build a new one? Thanks for any help!

Bluebird Questions
by: Anonymous

Do I need to clean out my bluebird box after the babies leave the nest? Also, will putting a snake guard outside the hole scare the bluebirds away? can I entice them to a bluebird feeder? They won't come near it even though I put mealworms in it!

by: Cynthia

We had sparrows nesting in one of our bluebird houses and kept pulling the nests out (with eggs inside) and pitching them. This was several years ago and we haven't been bothered with them since.

I do get Tufted Titmice or Chickadees nesting in the spare houses but that's okay as, apparently, my three houses aren't far enough apart for two bluebird pairs to nest.

Safe Bluebird Houses
by: Cynthia

I'm on the Eastern Shore of Maryland and we have had bluebirds successfully fledge at least two clutches of babies each year for 10 years. The preferred bluebird house is in the open on a 2x2 with a baffle.

We have a perch a few feet away for the parents to land with their meals and we "plant" a dead tree nearby for the parents to observe from.

The one mistake we made on a second house was to surround it with chicken wire so our cat wouldn't jump to the top of the house - but a snake climbed it and ate the babies.

Blue birds and nesting behavior.
by: Judy

We have two blue bird boxes. Both had returning pairs of parents and they built nests with in 2 weeks of each other.

They do mind me peeking to check on them. Both boxes had 5 eggs. The other day I checked and in one box had no eggs but was completely undisturbed. Probably a snake!

When I checked the second box it appeared to only have 2 eggs! I was very sad - but upon further investigation the other 3 were covered with nesting material.

We went to the bird store and bought two additional boxes and snake guards to replace the ones that he have.

We have two with guards and they open on the side with a piece of plastic so we can check on the birds.

Do you think they are building another nest and will still try to hatch the original eggs?

by: Steve Klein

I live out in the county, pretty far from town. We do not see sparrows out here too often. If I am at home and hear sparrows, I would watch my nest.

I cover my nests with cardboard to protect them from the sun so it isn't easy to see them under the protective cardboard cover but at least during the day, the parents can try to protect their nest.

At night they are sleeping. Seems to me if your nest is sufficiently protected (raccoons sleep during the day) you should not have a problem with snakes.

Some people mount their nests on fence posts. I think that is too easy a target for snakes. It is the night time when we lose our young the most.

I started covering the front of the box with fine wire mesh in the late evening given mom is not sleeping in the nest.

That way I feel pretty certain nothing is going to get in there. I remove the mesh early in the morning.

by: Gene

What are you doing to keep House Sparrows, snakes and raccoons from attacking the young?

The baby bluebirds disappeared overnight!
by: DianeL

I was so excited this season to have the first nesting bluebirds in the birdhouse. The parents were so good, and I kept mealworms available to help the parents. This week I expected the babies to fledge, they were sticking their little heads out of the birdhouse.

I had so much joy watching this family of bluebirds, until yesterday morning, and when I went to add the mealworms to the feeder, no babies at all! The parents have come back and perched on top of the birdhouse several times and then leave.

I do not see any signs of distress around the opening to the birdhouse, no scratching, or marks of any type. This is so terrible. Very sad.

bluebirds and snakes
by: Gene

I'm so sorry Tammy. Do some research on pole baffles and snake netting to keep snakes from getting your birds.

Make sure to place housing on poles and provide netting (sold as deer netting in big box stores) to protect your bluebird houses.

Devastating day
by: Tammy

We had several bluebird houses on our property and have had two pairs so far. The first set of fledglings left a few weeks ago and I have been watching a new set that had recently laid 3 eggs.

I came home from running errands and noticed a couple of birds flying at the house, so picked up the binoculars to look out.

When I looked out there was a snake hanging out of the house! I ran out and jerked it out by the tail and threw it out but it had eaten the mom and all 3 new babies!

I am so devastated!

The way I know what he ate was because he threw it all up! Babies first and then mom. Does anyone have suggestions on how to keep this from happening again?

Our houses are on the 4 board fence around the pasture.

Aggressive male sparrow
by: Anonymous

My first batch of 5 bluebirds hatched and fledged successfully. We pulled the old nest and in a week or so adults began building a new nest. There are no eggs in the nest yet.

Over the past couple of days there is a male sparrow constantly sitting on top of the bluebird house.

The male and female bluebirds were sitting on the power line looking at him at one point when I went out to chase him away. I tried to shoot him with my bb gun but he flies away the second he spies me.

I ordered a sparrow trap but it is going to take about a week to get to arrive. I went online and found info on the magic halo to discourage sparrows.

I fashioned one out of some barbed wire and weights hanging on jewelry wire and attached it to the bird house.

It is not 30 inches in diameter, probably more like 18 inches in diameter so the weights hang fairly close to the house but it was what I could come up with close the end of the day.

I didn't see the male sparrow again but I had to leave shortly after I finished the halo.

Will this keep the bluebirds away too since they don't have eggs in the nest yet? Do I need to cut up a tomato cage to make a larger diameter halo?

Beautiful Bluebirds....
by: Anonymous

I wish everyone would say what STATE they were in... each area is different, some have mocking birds as predators, , some have snakes etc.. depending where you are...

I live in Maine and have finally figured out after many years of wishing for bluebirds that the first MOST important thing is the baffle around the pole, yes the pole! Not a tree and not a house and not a porch... predators are a dime a dozen!

A metal pole about 5 to 6 feet tall and a Blue bird house with a 1 and 1/4 hole with a 2 inch guard, yes 2 inches to protect against raccoons and their reach into the nest ... and a BAFFLE of at least 30 inches around at the half way point up the pole is a MUST!!!

My bluebird houses are made professionally! I have traveled on my vacation away from home and come back by boat from and island each day to feed live mealworms to my beloved bluebirds and they were feeding their babies!

They all lived even after the war against the sparrows! A sparrow Spooker is a MUST for sure! They still lived after the assault It takes A LOT of responsibility and LOVE to make a huge difference... when they all flew away, I said thank God to the most beautiful blue of blues I have ever set eyes on!

Magical and whimsical ... Here we go again with a new spring! xoxo

Bluebird tragedy
by: Anonymous

I had the same thing happened. I concluded grackles were the culprits. So I added an extension around the hole in the box to the tour of the grackles. Hopefully this year will be better

Cover your nest at night with wire mesh
by: Anonymous

I too have done everything I can to protect baby bluebirds year after year. I have my nest on a telephone pole (10 feet up) with barbed wire wrapped around it near the bottom. Just bought a couple of sensors I hung on the pole with the receiver in my bedroom.

I think it was (like you say) either snakes or raccoons that got the young in the past. A few days back for some reason my sensor went off. I rushed outside at night, nothing on the pole climbing up. So I shined my flashlight at the nesting hole and some little head kept popping in and out, then quickly it jumped out.

I am almost certain it was a flying squirrel. She was killing them one by one (she killed 2 of them) and I am sure she would have then ejected them from the box.

Often flying squirrels build nests in my bluebird houses in the fall. So I went to Lowes and bought some 1/4 inch wire mesh, doubled it over and I am wrapping it around the the front late in the evening. Mom and dad bluebirds divebomb me but after I climb down the ladder they are fine and I sleep better at night.

I get up early and take the mesh off so they can feed. So many predators out there at night. That is when we lose them, at night.

by: Joan Carter

I have had no problem for 30 years after hooking the Blue Bird House to my house as Rats, Cats etc can climb up poles and Fence.

Bluebird Eggs
by: Gene

Clutch size can be up to 7 eggs. Incubation will begin with the last or next to last egg.
Keep House Sparrows away and protect from snakes.

Bluebird eggs
by: Sheltie

As of Saturday we had five eggs in the bluebird box. Saw glimpses of female and male on Sunday, haven't seen them since. Doesn't look like the egss have been turned, 40s, 50s and low 60s here, eastern panhandle of WV. How long do I wait?

keeping watch
by: Ann

Thank you for your comments. Haven't seen any action around the house in two days. Want to get a dental mirror and see if I can see what is left inside.

Maybe I should go ahead and clean it out to see if another bluebird couple might consider it? On a happier note, my wood thrushes are back this year singing their beautiful songs in the wooded section behind me.

Saw one of them poking around some leaves looking for bugs. Love them!

Maybe House Sparrows
by: Gene

Could be House Sparrows. They are not interested in feeding on other birds, only eliminating them from their territory.

dead? birds
by: Ann

I thought something was amiss with my bluebird house when I noticed a bunch of 'stuff' around the entrance hole.

I went up to check it out closer since I hadn't noticed mama bird in over a day, and the 'stuff' were little downy feathers stuck on the entrance hole, on the pole, on the back of the house, with contour and wing feathers on the ground, and some dark bloody body matter on the ground; can't make it out at all, but it was once alive.

I think the adult bird must have been predated upon. I'm so upset. This is our 4th year to have bluebirds use this nesting box to have their family.

I hope another bluebird couple will use the box. What I can't figure out is why there is some kind of body stuff on the ground. Why didn't whatever killed it eat the meat?

Seems like there was a struggle in and around that entrance hole. Any ideas about what might have happened? We've also had unseasonably cold temps.

Tragedy indeed
by: Anonymous

Two sets of bluebirds built nests and laid eggs. In one day both were destroyed. A snake got one house and a racoon got the other in the night.

I put predator guards on the houses in, but I do not know if the guys will be back... I also suspect that the racoon got the female. The male and female were left after the snake got their nest.

Sad. Guess that is nature.

by: Gene

Mockingbirds do not use birdhouses. I suspect you've got House Sparrows. Mockingbirds would not fit inside a Bluebird house.

THE Mocking birds 😭
by: Anonymous

Last year my first experience with a bluebird nest box turned sour. The Mocking birds fought them tooth and nail. Blue birds remained resilient. Laid three eggs but gave up and didn't hatch. This year doing great so far, I got ahead of the mocking birds and let them build their nest then I took it out. Mocking birds are mean and they are not going to own my back yard. Blue birds are working very hard in morning and I'm watching for success this time.

Empty nest
by: Anonymous

I have a set of bluebirds that have built a nest in my house. I have not seen either one coming and going lately. Do you have any idea what is going on. Thanks. Brenda

Glad They're Back
by: Gene

I've done similar things with nesting birds. I'm more careful in early mornings and at dusk. Live and learn. Enjoy your bluebirds.

Adults were feeding young all day
by: Anonymous

Yes the adults were back feeding early this morning. Thanks very much for your reply. I think the female managed to get back into the nest before dark.

Bluebird Flushed From Nest
by: Gene

It's about midday in your area and I suspect the adults are back to feeding. Most are reluctant to abandon their young.

Accidentally flushed adult at dusk
by: Anonymous

I accidentally flushed an adult bluebird from the nest about dusk. It will be unseasonably cold here in the Texas Hill Country tonight (maybe 35) and the box is by my vegetable.

I went out to make sure the wind hadn't blown the covers off my vegetables about 15 minutes before dark and although I was very careful the adult flew out.

The hatchlings are about 10 days old we think. I hope the adult comes back. I am worried about the hatchlings will be okay tonight if she doesn't come back. Thoughts?

Predator Guard
by: Gene

Look for some type of predator guard that prevents animals climbing up to the nest.

Second, are you sure House Sparrows didn't attack the nest? These non-natives destroy eggs and even killing Bluebirds while incubating eggs.

See: for information on Bluebirds

Heartbroken over broken up bluebird nest
by: Anonymous

So sad...Last year a family of blue birds successfully raised babies in a bird house that I have hanging on my covered back deck.

Today I went home from work, to find the eggs all broken up outside of the bird house. I'm not certain, but feel pretty confident it was a raccoon that did this, as there is a raccoon that comes to my bird feeder to eat almost nightly.

What can I do so the birds and the raccoons can co-exist? This loss breaks my heart. I'm afraid the beautiful blue birds won't return.

Loss of chicks
by: Anonymous

You need to check your birdhouse. It is highly likely a predator got the chicks. I suggest a predator guard or a different house with such guard.

Replying to Angie
by: Rosanna

From my observation over the years in filming hours and hours of nesting bird activity in my backyard I noticed that once the birds have at least laid one egg, they appear to be more committed to staying with that nest.

So, possibly you may have set out the baffle too early, because if they hadn't yet laid an egg or even completed the nest, then they don't really have anything to protect and will try again elsewhere. Just my opinion.

Baffle Installed and Now Bluebirds Won’t Come Back
by: Angie

We had Bluebirds last year and a pair started coming to visit the birdhouse back in Feb. They began a nest, so we installed a baffle for protection. Now, they haven’t finished their nest and won’t come back. Sad......should we wait and give them more time or remove the baffle?

by: Cinette

After reading all of the comments I am extremely paranoid to install my six bird houses. Perhaps, I should just give them away. The responsibility to manage a bird house seems overwhelming. Maybe, I’ll stick to just feeding my birds.

Replying to Anonymous (Aug 6th) Posting
by: Rosanna

Sounds like you are describing a Blow Fly infestation. I had never experienced that myself in all the years I have been watching my nest boxes until this year, with my Tree Swallows.

Started out with 5-eggs, only three hatched, but only two fledged. I always set up a Camcorder with several SD cards with storage capacities that range from 2 to 10 hours of video capture.

I noticed during playback larvae coming out of the box, and one chick had some bare spots on its side. When the two fledged, upon cleaning out the box, found a carcass of the third one that hatched that had feathers but much smaller.

The larvae eggs are laid as soon as the nest is built, and start to feed on the chicks as soon as they hatch. The larvae only come out at night so parents cannot see them to remove them. It is then a fight for survival.

The third chick was so weak it couldn't compete with the others for food so it perished. I felt was so distraught thinking of that third chick being too week to reach the opening to be fed.

Without my camcorder recording what I saw I wouldn't have known what caused my third chick to die.

what happened to baby bluebirds
by: Gene

Please look at this site as I think it will be helpful to new landlords.


Why do fully grown bluebird babies suddenly die?
by: Anonymous

For the second time this year, my fledgling baby bluebirds, ready to fly away, suddenly die.

Today, I was expecting our babies to fly out of the bluebird house. They have been so active, I knew it had to be time.

I saw them at noon, parents feeding them. Then later parents came to feed and nothing, no response from the babies.

I finally checked, assuming the had flown. But inside there were two fully formed baby bluebirds. Dead. For the second time this year my heart is broken.

I do not think our immediate neighbors spray their lawns, so I don't know that it was that. And they were so active, but then I guess they became less and less so until today. But they were still alive.

They did look sort of dirty as I peeked at them when they were peeking out. Not sure that was any problem. I'm a total novice.

But when I did clean them out, the nest was pretty muddy looking and there were a couple of big dead flies in there with them.

Is there anything I can do to prevent these tragedies. I am so heartbroken after two tragedies this year, I am thinking of removing my birdhouse altogether.

I can't stand to watch the parents work so hard just to have their babies die.

In years past I have had total success with at least one brood, when I was able to watch three babies fly away. The joy of my life.

But what is making these babies die? I must know or give up the house (a prefab some sort of plastic, I guess) made specifically for bluebirds.

by: Anonymous

Last year we had a rat snake climb up a cylinder type baffle and eat the baby Bluebirds. The box is mounted on a post.

Replaced that baffle with the umbrella type that is about 36 inches and it seems to be working.

Have a brood of 4 babies in the box now. I spray ant repellent at the bottom of the post.

by: susie

Had a snake yesterday am. Removed it. Put nest back in. It was empty of course. Now the male is frantic again pecking on my window. Sitting on porch watching him. He looks inside and then flays around my head frantic chirping. Should I have left the nest outside?

by: Anonymous

We had house wrens and it was about a week until they hatched but then we realized the side of the house was wide open. That door is really hard to open so we checked our security cameras and we couldn't see anything the parents both came back stayed for a minute then left one of them has come back a few times but I haven't seen the other. Very sad if a person took them I lost my faith in humanity.

bluebirds and predators
by: Gene

If you have one snake you have hundreds. They can climb anything. House Sparrows, House Wrens, Raccoons and others will prey on Bluebirds. Monitoring houses and adding predator guards will help to ensure bluebirds have successful nesting.

Bluebirds Disappeared
by: Cab4612

Looking for some peace of mind that nothing tragic happened to our bluebird family.

After five years, we finally had bb's nesting in our yard again and despite reservations ( previous nests had been attacked by house wrens) we welcomed them!

The day the first egg was laid I heard a house wren and was terrified. The wren seemed to hang out in nearby woods but not trouble the bb's.

This pair was very protective of their nest and seemed very wary of any possible predators.

They would swoop and attack me if I got close to the box.

I fed mealworms and watched this box carefully. Eggs hatched and nestlings were doing well. On day 16 after hatching, I had to leave town ( it killed me as I knew they would fledge any day).

The next day, my daughter called me and said there were wrens on the box and no sign of bb's. After a couple hours with no bb sighting, I gave her permission to open the box.

There was nothing in it and nest and box had usual post-nesting look. It is one week later and still no sign of any bluies!

Does anyone have any ideas? I am so worried about them!

Bluebirds eggs (four) watching for two week
by: Anonymous

blue birds came and made a nest and there were
4 eggs. That was some 12 days ago. today after
seeing sparrow( quite a few) around the box and in
the tree I push them away. Today I looked into the
nest all the eggs were gone. I am so sad

Abandoned nests before babies born.
by: Judy S.

For two years now we've had our wonderful bluebirds come, build a nest and lay 5-6 eggs, and then tragically abandon the nest. Don't know why, nothing seems to be wrong.

It is now almost June and we have another pair seeming to build. Would hate to have this happen again. 3 years ago, we did discover a snake coming down the tree, and I was able to spray it with hornet spray and never saw it again.

Don't know if that could have anything to do with our present problem or not. Any ideas???

Waiting for Bluebirds!
by: Anonymous

Last year I had a family of bluebirds and they all made it and flew away ( I was happy but cried when they left) I had watched them and fed them live mealworms for weeks and even chased away a couple of hawks.

Two years ago I had a mom and dad bluebird that made a nest in one of my boxes and had eggs and I to came home from camp, gone 2 days and they were GONE! No birds!

I opened the box and the nest was still there untouched, all the eggs were gone and one was left but broken, so either a sparrow got them OR a raccoon.

I saw some hair on the box and decided it was a raccoon, I was told at the bird store that the guard (hole) has to be 2 inches thick!!!! My birdhouses were all 1 1/2 thick! If the guards are 2 inches thick a raccoon CAN'T bend his arm down so the birds and eggs are saved…

Also, we live in Maine and I have baffles, has never seen a snake, but the baffles must be working…I also wonder about the bluebirds taking out the nest material that someone wrote.

They do take out the babies waste. That started me at first but then researched it. It takes a commitment to bring these beautiful and magical birds along….

Babies died,but one
by: Anonymous

Took the female weeks to finish laying all her eggs. I've waited and finally, the parents become more attentive. not feeling comfortable about the time frame. I checked it today.

All babies died (3) but one. three eggs did not hatch. I put the baby back after cleaning out the eggs and babies that died. Don't know what to do. SO SAD!!! there was a mocking bird always hanging around, however. My little heart is broken :(

by: Leilani

We had a nest with 5 babies and I watch them constantly and take photos as I really enjoy watching the whole process. A couple years ago I put a bungee cord around the house because I lost a nest of babies to some sort of predator.

Something happened again this year. We went out of town for 3 days and soon as we came home I went to check them. From a distance everything looked fine....birdhouse looked fine and bungee cord still wrapped around. When I opened the house everything was gone.

No babies and not one piece of nest. What possibly happened. How do I prevent this? We get nests every year and I try so hard to help them survive....please help!!

Tragedy for us too
by: Joyce

All of a sudden our baby bluebirds disappeared. The male and female kept flying to the birdhouse and started taking out the nesting material. What do you think happened

by: Gene

One word of caution, you may want to add bird netting under the house for protection against snakes. Snakes can climb anything.

Please don't think there are no snakes, they're everywhere.



In response to Patricia Roberts
by: Rosanna

We had Raccoon problems twice last year removing eggs & chicks from Blue Bird Box, but after changing the way we mounted the box, we were able to witness a successful brood fledge a few weeks later.

We bought two narrow metal poles (hollow) one smaller than the other, pushed the larger dia. into the ground, drilled holes at the top of it, and put the smaller dia. rod inside to strengthen it, and drilled through the holes again into the inner pole and but bolts through both rods.

Then we made holes at the top of the smaller rod which extended further above the larger rod and drilled holes there and anchored the box to the holes. The rods are too skinny for raccoon to get a grip on and climb up.

We set this up nearby a tree for the birds to perch in safety to monitor their box, but NOT TOO CLOSE, so a raccoon cannot reach the box from the tree limbs.

I lost by bluebird eggs to a predator last night
by: Patricia Roberts

Today for me is your day. Tragedy. The chicks were to hatch today. I noticed a lot of commotion around the bird house this morning, which is a sign of possible trouble.

The nest was nil of bird eggs. I pulled the nest out and went through it and a tad bit of blood was in the nest. Papa bird was and is hanging around the nest, protecting it.

I believe a raccoon got into the box because we do have a raccoon that visits our yard. Also, 4 ft from the birdhouse is a huge pile of poop.

We have no animals on our property nor can they get into our backyard. I've heard cayenne pepper might work to put on the ground, as it might burn the feet of the raccoon enough for him to stay away. I'm devastated.

Should I pull the nest out now and clean the birdhouse?

Baby Bluebirds
by: Gene

First, replace the birdhouse with a recommended house with a predator guard that you can monitor easily. (next time)

Make sure that nothing is keeping the adults away and no blowflies or mites are hurting the young.

If the adults are around and predators are kept away, they should be okay. Good Luck!

Babies gone
by: Evelyn

I had my first blue bird box many years ago and learned the hard way to get a baffle. Since then have had no problems until this week.

Was so excited there were 5 eggs. Never had 5. the day after Easter 4 hatched and there was one egg. That was Monday. Tuesday all 4 babies were gone and one left, seriously injured.

Had an injury to the head and momma and papa were clearly upset. Today, Thursday, I checked and nothing was in the nest. Cleaned out the nest.

Mama and papa and interested in starting again. I'm worried. What did this???? I feed dried meal worms and have had a new bird visiting - blue jays - are they to blame??? Any comments would be appreciated.

Bluebird parents abandoned nest?
by: Debbie

We have a nest box with four six-day-old baby bluebirds in our yard.

Last night, I noticed the father wasn't around, and the mother wasn't feeding much and then stopped coming back to the nest way before dark.

Today, there has been no feeding of the babies, that we can tell and we've been watching very closely, for 6 hours.

My husband finally peeked in and saw at least one little baby head moving, so we decided to leave things alone for now. We have an ornamental bird house that does not open. Any ideas or suggestions?

We hosted another brood in the same house last Spring, with two fledging successfully out of the three. This is heartbreaking to watch.

Sparrow Spooker
by: CJ

I can't say enough about the Sparrow Spookers. I have security cameras mounted around my home and security lights.

One night the light went on in the backyard. My wife got up and saw a very large cat on the fence going toward the nest box which sets 4 ft out from the fence. She woke me up, I hurriedly got 1/2 dressed and ran to the back, by that time it was gone.

In the morning I checked the cameras which can record on a DVR and there it was trying to get to the nestbox.

It got out on the plastic pipe but when it got to the Sparrow Spooker it got afraid because the mylar strips kept hitting it.

It jumped down and was gone.I bought a live trap and trapped 2 very large mean snarling Feral Cats.

I called the County animal control and they came and picked them up also trapped an Opossum and released it in a Wildlife Preserve.

Sparrow Spookers work. I also put Vaseline on the plastic Pipes. I'm now watching 4 BB'S ready to fledge thanks to the Sparrow Spookers I have on my boxes and the trap to catch the Feral Cats.

Sparrows are evil...
by: Anonymous

Hi, I am so sorry about your beautiful bluebird, sparrows are horrible, they almost got my family of bluebirds last summer but I read about making a sparrow spooker and made one and put it up, it's the only thing that saved them other than me watching all the time and with binoculars…

If you don't have them, I definitely recommend them! I just googled sparrow spookers… good luck!

by: Anonymous

I have a number of bluebird houses on the property along with a multifamily birdhouse. Today saw some sparrows going in and out. I went to clean out their nest, and found a dead male bluebird inside.
I'm totally on the warpath now...

by: Gene

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

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😢

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?

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.

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:

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.

Blue bird reflection in window
by: Anonymous

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..

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.


House Sparrows
by: Gene

Please spend some time on

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


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 Shepard's 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.

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

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!

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.

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's not where I can see it directly, but can see the acthe tivity 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.

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.

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.

House Sparrows
by: Gene


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!!!

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

Is male bluebird abandoning female after eggs laid?
by: Anonymous


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!


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.

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.

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.

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

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!!!!!

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.

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.

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.

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.

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: 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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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 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!

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.

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.

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?

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.

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?

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.

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.

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….

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.

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!

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.

Hi Kelly thank you!
by: Anonymous

My email is Jdugas @ 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.

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 Really good information there.

Any other questions, I would be glad to help.

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:

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.

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.

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

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.

Removed both and cleaned house again.

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!!

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?


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 that is made of recycled materials and will last for years.

Bluebird House

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.


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.

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?

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 in the years before that the house sparrows either killed or chased them off.

From what you have said there 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.

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.

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! 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.

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.

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..

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.

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!

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.

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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