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Bluebirds/Mystery re. dead baby bluebirds


A pair of bluebirds built a nest in our bluebird house and raised a brood of babies earlier this spring and then began building another nest, taking insects, etc. to the a second brood just recently.   I haven't seen the pair going in and out of the nestbox for several days.  I assumed that the nestlings had become fledglings and flown away.  Yesterday, however, I found two baby bluebirds, still with eyes closed and very few feathers, dead in a small bird feeder (shaped like a ladies straw hat) hanging in a small tree.  They were placed side by side.  They both had skin torn at their necks.  Did the parents remove these two baby birds from the nest and place them there or did another bird, such as a horse sparrow, kill them, take them from their nest, and place them there?  I know that there's no way of knowing, for sure, but do you have any theories?

Hi Fran. Unfortunately things happen that we never understand. If you have a standard Bluebird house with a 1 and 1/2 inch opening this was not done by a bigger bird but probably a house sparrow or a House Wren.

You need to open the box weekly after a Bluebird nest is built so that you know what is happening, success or problems. 12 to 14 days to hatch after the female starts incubating and about 19 days to fledging (leaving the box)after hatching. Don't open the box after the babies are 12 days old. Get the nest out as soon as the babies leave-they never go back. Just scrape the box out well with a putty knife.

If you will send your mailing address to me at I will send you my free Bluebird book that wil make you an expert. See page 19 for why you should have more than one box. Good luck! Bluebird Bob Walshaw.


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Bluebird Bob Walshaw


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 for a free 20 page Bluebird book.


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