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tclarkwood

Bluebird Nesting Spring 2019

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The pair on my property installed a fresh nest in the box over the weekend. They built the nest in 3 days or less because I looked in the box on Thursday and it was completely empty.  If you remember from my posts last year, this pair actually laid eggs in March.  Be interested to see if they do it 2 years in a row. Usually, Bluebirds start nesting in April or even May.  I'm assuming it is the same pair.  That may be a bad assumption so someone that knows more about Bluebirds may explain the chances of this being the same pair. They act the same... Ha ha! 

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May see a hatch by midweek next week. I did not get a final egg count but when I looked on March 23rd there were 2 eggs.  I will check this weekend. 

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3 of 5 eggs have hatched as of yesterday.  They should all be hatched by this point. Mom and Dad bluebird are already taking small worms to the box.  We have a had a ton of rain so there are earth worms on the ground everywhere.  Hopefully, we will see a fully successful fledge with this first brood.  Last year, Mr. Racoon wrecked my box with the second brood.  I never figured out how he got around the baffle unless he was able to jump 5 feet up into the air and grab the box on top of the baffle.  Have not seen any racoons any this year so far!   Let's hope for the best! 😂

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Well, we are about 7 days after hatch and the babies are working the parents to death.  We should see a fledge the week of April 29th.  Probably the same mating pair since they are showing the same tendencies of starting early in the season. 

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We have a Tufted Titmouse making a nest on 2 of our "Bluebird" houses. We think it is the same pair making 2 nests.  We don't know which one they will finally choose.  They are visiting both of them.  If we get eggs, I will share the live video stream.  🎥

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Titmouse video - ignore the noise.  I don't know what that is. 

 

Y_2019-04-17_13-16-25

 

 

 

Edited by Spyonabird
screwed up the video link...
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5 blue eggs in the box at my mother's house in North Alabama.  Have not seen the parents sitting on the eggs much this past weekend so I am a little concerned since it got down to 42 degrees Saturday morning.  They are good about sneaking in and out of that box without being noticed so there may be no reason for concern. 

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All 5 fledged successfully this past weekend!  I took the nest out of the box and washed it out.  The female was already inspecting the cleaned box before dark on Sunday. Would not be surprised if she starts adding pine straw for a new nest this week. 

So for a timeline on this brood..... Eggs laid on March 22nd, all hatched by April 9th, all fledged by May 4th. So about 44 days.  That is why it is hard to get 4 broods in a season.  3 is about the max but I have seen 4 before, although rare.  

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Question for you all.  I had BB's claim the box early, and start building a nest.  Saw a couple eggs.  Eggs disappeared.  I put back out the HOSP trap and the Sparrow Spooker.  The Bluebirds are still around, I see them regularly checking out the box.  But no new eggs.  Should I pull out the old nest?  Leave it?

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My neighbor a few houses down gets bluebirds in his bluebird house every year.  Even though I have a bluebird house, put out mealworms and have bird baths they never take to mine.  I was talking my neighbor two weeks ago and he told me he had 5 babies in the house but after a couple of days they were all dead and the bluebirds were no where around.  They tried going in my birdhouse but the sparrows kept kicking them out so they ended up going to another neighbors bird house.  The are very close to our backyard and are around the majority of the day.

I checked the box and there are some eggs!  The funniest thing is my neighbor put that box up 15 years ago and NOT one bird as ever lived in it.

Blue Bird Eggs.jpg

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I got 4 new bluebird eggs a few days ago for the second clutch of the year.  So between May 8th and May 19th, my female built a new nest (in 2 days) and they got a new clutch of eggs started. The weather is so warm that she is not sitting on the eggs so she has more time to eat suet at my suet feeder.  The mail is still training the babies from the first brood.  They are wearing him out!  With this pace, I may see 4 broods in one season which is a record for me.  Just hope  mr. raccoon doesn't figure out how to get past my baffle this year like last year! 

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My first nest fledged on May 1, and by the 12th I had a new nest (different box) and 3 eggs.  She ended up laying 5.  It’s already SO HOT here in Southern Alabama, don’t know how she does it.  I’m wondering if she’ll go for a third nest in these temps.  Guess only time will tell.

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Gah!  There were 4 eggs, I have a picture!  And now today its down to 1.  Found the 3 on the ground infront of the house, the damage looked very fresh.  Question, the only non-bluebird I've seen at the box today was some Tree Swallows, will THEY remove eggs?  I've not seen a HOSP near it for a while now, and while we have wrens I've not seen one at this house this year.

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On 5/26/2019 at 11:32 AM, ruthcatrin said:

Gah!  There were 4 eggs, I have a picture!  And now today its down to 1.  Found the 3 on the ground infront of the house, the damage looked very fresh.  Question, the only non-bluebird I've seen at the box today was some Tree Swallows, will THEY remove eggs?  I've not seen a HOSP near it for a while now, and while we have wrens I've not seen one at this house this year.

How do you have your bluebird box mounted?  Do you have a predator baffle to keep all things other than birds out?  Sounds like you have something other than a bird getting into the box.  A flying squirrel is notorious for entering bluebird boxes.   When I used to have my bluebird box mounted to a tree, I had the same problems and never successfully raised chicks.  Look at your design. 

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Picture of the box from a few years ago.  No baffle on the post.  The box and stand was put in place by the former owners of the property, and the only thing I've done was replace the rotting pine box with a cedar one.  I don't THINK we have flying squirrels here, though I did have a Red Squirrel chew the opening of one box (elsewhere in the yard) wider and nest in it.

IMGB0187.jpg

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I definitely have a HOSP problem, I have neighbors with boxes who don't care what nests in them.  Last summer, after trapping HOSP all winter, was my first successful Bluebird nesting in years, and even then they lost one baby to a HOSP when I didn't get the spooker up fast enough.

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To add:

When we bought this place the former owners told us they'd had Bluebirds nesting in that box for years and years.  So I spent a fair bit of time reading up on how to be a Bluebird landlord.  And our first summer here there was a successful BB nesting.  I was very dismayed to discover that every single other box on the property was stuffed with HOSP nests, but was reluctant to disturb the status quo.  But when the BB nesting our 2nd summer was attacked by HOSP I immediately removed every single HOSP nest I could find, only to discover that my neighbors didn't see the problem.  I have to wonder if the former owners here actually paid attention to the BB nestings beyond seeing them in and out of boxes.  I was to the point of seriously considering pulling down all of the boxes, because all I was doing was encouraging the BBs to nest in a dangerous place, but decided to give trapping with a repeating trap a try.  Last summer proved that it can be done.  So I'm quite frustrated this year.

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That design has nothing to prevent predators from invading the box at anytime.  So I would guess you have a predator that is disrupting your bluebird box and the eggs inside it.  I will send you a picture of my design that works pretty well.  It was invaded once last year and I still to this day do not know how it happened.  Other than the one episode, the box has successfully raised many bluebirds.  The design is very easy and cheap.   More to come. 

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I didn't see any movement, but oh gosh oh golly, please tell me that this means its hatching?! I feel like the proverbial mother cat with one kitten.....

KIMG0892.jpg

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On 6/1/2019 at 4:23 PM, ruthcatrin said:

Never mind.  There is nothing in the nest today.  No egg, no baby.  Nothing.  I guess I'm done for the season.

I'm sorry... I will make a point of sending you a photo of my set up that is more predator proof.  Something is getting into you box and destroying the eggs. Don't give up yet.  I keep forgetting to send you the photo of my set up that has worked well.   Chaseman has a very good set up too with three boxes so his bluebirds have the luxury of having a choice of which box they want.  Maybe he can post a photo the next time he is on here? 

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I have a question now that is outside my expertise about my situation.  I thought that all 4 eggs were going to hatch on my second brood but 2 eggs have hatched and 2 eggs have not hatched. It has been 4 days since the first 2 babies hatched so how long should I wait before removing the 2 eggs if they never hatch?  Anyone know the answer to this?  Thanks in advance. 

Edited by tclarkwood

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