How do I prevent other birds from stealing my bluebird eggs? I have a pair that nested here last year and raised a brood of four. This year they laid 5 eggs, and I noticed the bluebirds are not sitting, so I checked the nest and no trace at all of their 5 eggs. I feel horrible, is there something I can do to prevent this from happening again? I was planning on adding houses this year and don't want to provide a place for them if I am doing something to encourage predators. Any input would be much appreciated. If I feel the loss, I can't imagine how Mom and Dad feel about their 5 eggs.
Answer This is a normal part of nature, and they will nest again and lay more eggs, probably somewhere else. When eggs are missing and the nest has not been disturbed it is usually a snake attack, or sometimes it can be a killer house sparrow or a House Wren. A raccoon will ususlly disturb the nest. You need to do two things: 1 Put up more boxes as you will always lose some. (100 yards apart) - if you have a small yard you can cheat on this a bit by putting one box in front and one in back of your home so they can't see each other. Or use neighbor's property or along the road to your home, even if it is high speed. Cars stir up and knock down insects and there are fewer predators. Most of my line is along highways. If you will send your mailing address to me at email@example.com I will send you my free Bluebird book which will make you an expert. Good luck! Bluebird Bob Walshaw.
PS - To make you feel better about predators, remember that one pair of Bluebirds can raise 15 or more young in a season. 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. It is nature's way.
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Thank you so much for not only answering my question but for helping ease my sad heart. My pair were back in the nest box this afternoon. So maybe they haven't given up. Do snakes attack at night? I never see snakes in our lawn area, they have plenty of coverage for hunting in the wooded and brush areas further from the house (5.25 acres. I am aware raccoons are for sure nocturnal, but we tend to stay pretty clear of them too. We have a ton of birds so I would be more inclined to think another bird especial since we have many house sparrows.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org for a free 20 page Bluebird book.
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.