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Bluebirds/Babies dead, nest west/black w/beatles

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I'm crying and sick right now at what I found just a few mins ago in our blue bird house.  This is our 3rd spring and we always have a family in that house and they always survived and flew away!  After that, we would wash out house, air it out and then close it back up and the wonderful cycle would repeat itself!  Our other BB house in the back yard has also produced several families and up until today...no problems! We have predator guards on both but this is NOT what happened!

Last week I went past the BB house and heard the sounds of the babies as they chirped for more food!  We saw mom/dad going in and out with food and then a few days later...nothing.

I decided today I HAD to find out if they had done what the others had done before them...had grown up and flown the nest!

I went behind the box, taped softly on it and then unscrewed the screw and opened the front door.  The nest was very high/tall, so I reached in and pulled it out and let it fall to the ground.

That's when I made my sickening and horrific discovery.

The baby birds had been dead for at least a few days and there were these strange looking beetles all over the nest.  I had never seen them in my life before so I have no idea WHAT they are.  

Additionally, the nest was black, damp looking and extremely nasty and disgusting looking.

So, Mr. Walshaw...what do you think happened here?

Where these bugs the reason for the death of the baby birds and the nest or did they arrive after the baby birds dies like vultures or maggots do?  Those were also present...but that's natural, isn't it?

I must find out, Mr. Walshaw, so I can prevent this nightmare from happening again!  

How could we have 3 years of glowing success and then this nightmare - after the baby birds were born and were being fed constantly by both or at least 1 parent?  We have had no major weather issues other than a rather late spring, lots of rain and some rather cool temps...but nothing severe or that extreme!

I hope I've provided you with enough facts here so you may help us figure out what went so horribly wrong.  

You have no idea how heart-broken I am about this and how sad my husband will be to also learn of this.  

Please, sir, anything you can tell us to shed light on this would be very much appreciated.

I'm at a total loss as to how it all went from a flourishing, healthy nest to that black, bug-infested nightmare.

Do you know what the deal is with those small, round, beetle type bugs?  They are new to my 67-yr old eyes.  

Waiting in agony I remain,
Linda in Creedmoor, NC
5/13/13

Answer
Please don't feel bad about this. It is not unusual. What happens is that predators get the parents (they have many), the babies starve and waste away and nature eventually cleans things up. Bluebirders often have a problem with this as they are not monitoring the bok weekly to know what is going on. And predators are important. One Bluebird pair can raise 15 or more young in a season and if they all survived we would be up to our hips in Bluebirds and they would be running out of food. Predators get the sick, the slow and the dumb, thus keeping the species strong. I believe you said that you had my free book, but if not send your mailing address to me at walshaw1@cox.net - Good luck! Bluebird Bob Walshaw.

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Bluebird Bob Walshaw

Expertise

Questions about setting up and monitoring Eastern Bluebird houses. This includes where and how to put up houses, trouble shooting, fighting predators, especially the killer house sparrows and helping other small cavity nesters such as Chickadees, Titmice, Carolina Wrens, etc. Send mailing address to me at walshaw1@cox.net for a free 20 page Bluebird book.

Experience

20 years with a 100+ box Bluebird trail which has been accepted as part of the Transcontinental Bluebird Trail. Talks on Bluebirds to many organizations.

Organizations
North American Bluebird Society, Audubon Society local and national, Oklahoma Bluebird Society, OK Furbearers Alliance

Publications
Bluebird Magazine, Birds and Blooms, Oklahoma Today and many other publications.

Education/Credentials
BS, MBA, Cornell University Bird Biology course

Awards and Honors
Blue Cross Ageless Hero, Red Cross Everyday Hero, North American Bluebird Society Awards, Oklahoma Bluebird Society Lifetime Award.

Past/Present Clients
Many

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