Bluebirds/Blue Bird clutch all died
QUESTION: Bob..I'm so upset...I had a pair of bluebirds successfully roost and the babies were just about to leave the nest within the week and today I find them all dead in the nesting box. They were just feeding and chirping 2 days ago. It appears that there were 5 fledglings in the box..wow! I'm concerned about remaining bacteria, etc in the box after removing the remains of birds and nesting material with strong blast from the hose...should I be concerned? suggestions?
ANSWER: This is not unusual which is why we recommend having at least 3 or 4 boxes as you will usually lose some.(100 yards apart as they are very territorial.) (If you don't have room contact me again and I will tell you how to stretch your yard. The condition of the dead young would have told you what happened. Were their heads pecked as in a killer house sparrow attack? Or were they just shriveled or dried up as if they starved when the parents were killed by predators? And there is no danger to you from the dead babies. Usually all that is required is to scrape a box out well with a putty knife. The only danger in the field from nest dust is from the hantavirus which can come from Deer Mice nesting in a box. If you will send your mailing address to me at firstname.lastname@example.org I will send you my free Bluebird book which will make you an expert. Happy birding! Bluebird Bob Walshaw.
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QUESTION: Thanks Bob. The babies all appeared just fine. I think it was an issue of not enough space and once one suffocated it just took them all. Will a mating pair occupy more than one box? I have room for another box, but would love your info. I will send you my email. Thank you.
They never suffocate. I have had as many as 8 fledge successfully from a 4 inch by 4 inch box. And a female will never use two boxes at the same time, although sometimes a male will pair with two females. And stretching your yard - !. Put one box in front of your home and one in back so they can't see each other. 2. Use neighbor's property - no one has ever told me no. 3. Along the roads to your home, even high speed ones. Cars stir up and knock down insects and there are fewer predators. Most of my line is along roads. Good luck! PS - I need your mailing address for the book to email@example.com.