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Bluebirds/Missing eggs

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Question
This is their box
This is their box  

Blue Bird Babies
Blue Bird Babies  
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 walshaw1@cox.net 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.  

Bluebirds

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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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