Bluebirds have abandoned nest

maddie2407

I had a pair of bluebirds checking out my bluebird house for about two months. About two weeks ago they began building a nest. After about a week of staying around the nest full time, they suddenly left. After checking the box, there were four eggs. What happened?

SaveComment27Like
Comments (27)
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
bluebirdbabe

I could be that something happened to the female bluebird. It's so hard to say why they do the things they do...they always keep us guessing.

Check the box again and see if there is another egg, sometimes they sneak back in the box and we miss it. Someone suggested putting a blade of grass across the hole and that way you can tell if she went back in if the grass is gone.

Other than that...I don't have an answer. Hope they return.

Karen

Save    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
renee_2006

Just because your not seeing the female doesn't mean the nest has been abandon. I would check the box again in the afternoon, since females tend to lay their eggs in the mornings, and if there is more eggs you'll know she just wasn't finished laying yet. If there are not any new eggs try putting a blade of grass in the nestbox hole to see if it gets removed. I would wait several days before determining the nest was abandoned.

The blues tend to NOT stick around the nest very much during the egg laying stage. The female will enter the nest to lay her egg then usually not come back till the next day to lay the next egg and so on. Clutch size can vary between 4-7 but they usually lay 5 eggs. Incubation does not start until the next to last or last egg is layed.

Renee
Rural SW Indiana

Save    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Jason Ison

Our box keeps having the same issue... we have 3-4 eggs each time and then a month or two later they are still eggs... we had hatchlings not too long ago... they were being fed and sounded happy.... we left for the weekend and when we got back they were all dead. I cleaned out the box... no signs of bees/wasps/ants or any other predator.... once the box was empty the blue birds returned and built a nest and laid eggs... that are still in there.

Save    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
vamonos99

Praying yours do ok this time Jason! I really think it's a bad year for blues! Mine were on autopilot for years! Nest, eggs, babies, fledge! This has been one bad thing after another. Finally think we might have success Thursday with fledging but I've gotten my hopes up too many times!

Save    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Jason Ison

Awwwww thank you! Same to you.... we had an issue with another box across the property where they left the eggs so we moved it by the other one that is used often... they both are doing poorly now.... they are really old and kinda getting gross so I may get a few new ones and let you all know how that works out.

Save    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
parkernicole01

Hey Jason- I do hope things get better for you & your blues. If your houses are getting old & don't have much insulation, do you think heat could've gotten the nestlings? If they were unmarked, the only other thing I could think of is lawn pesticides, but the babies are usually a little bloated from that. Not sure where you're located & if box was in sun, but that could be it? Most of the newer bluebird boxes are much better insulated & have air vents in them. If that may have been the cause, vamonos99 (one who posted above) & I have insulated our boxes with styrofoam, spacers, & bungee cords. There are lots of pics online of examples. This time of year, lots of people are insulating their bird boxes. Apologize if I'm off base here. Just trying to help. Really hope it works out this time around!

Nicole

1 Like Save    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
parkernicole01

Oh, & Jason, if you do have problems in future with suspecting eggs to be abandoned, in addition to putting a blade of grass in the hole, you could mark the eggs with a tiny marker dot. That way, you'll be able to tell if they're being turned or moved at all. If you get to the point of desperation, you could candle the eggs before making any decisions to remove them. Please forgive me again if these are things you already know. Again, just trying to help! So sorry you lost your babies!

Nicole

2 Likes Save    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Jason Ison

Thank you! We will try a new box for sure... ours are old old old... and yes... kind of in the sun so maybe moving them is key as well. Thank you so much for the input!


Save    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
vamonos99

Jason, hoping and praying for your babies! After losing two nestings this year I have made myself an honorary amateur expert. Hoping for fledging thursday. The box my couple chose for their third try is in way too much sun. I've done a styrofoam roof and fed tons of mealworms and put up one insane of a snake guard.

All we can do is our best. Parkernicole has talked me through many a disappointment this year but i've got 4 healthy ones if we can make it two more days!

best of luck!


1 Like Save    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Jason Ison

Keep me updated!!! :D

1 Like Save    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
vamonos99

After 6 years of no problems I had snakes this year. It's been awful. One set of eggs and then 5 just a few days from fledging. I researched the hex out of things and thing, fingers crossed, we might make it! My peaceful relaxing hobby got terribly stressful this year though. LOL.

Save    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
vamonos99

I'm so worried about heat that once these fledge I think I am closing them for the year just in case they try again. It's 93 with 100% humidity in South Alabama and I was shocked that they tried this last time.

Save    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
parkernicole01

That's all I am is an amateur expert! Just have done a whole lot of research! Praying for you both!

Save    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
JimandCarla Povich

Hi everyone. This is my first year of having nesting boxes in my yard. Within a few days of putting the first one up I had a couple build a nest and within one week she laid four eggs...the last egg was laid on June 17 and up to this point I have only seen her once. In box two a nest was built on July 1 and within a couple days three eggs were laid and I actually just checked her nest and she was in the box (yay, going to get babies!), the boxes are placed on fence posts 15 feet away from one another however the fencing is for our dogs (lab and border collie). I monitor 17 boxes at a local state park so I am familiar with keeping them clean and safe from predators etc. What could have happened with the first box? It's been almost thirty days since the last egg was laid, should I remove the nest? And finally, if my dogs do not bother the other birds would they have bothered the first set? Is it possible that Momma would lay eggs and abandon them? Thanks!

Save    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
wildflower_kh77

I too have a question about abandonment. I was so excited to see the bluebirds nest and lay 4 eggs. I check on them periodically but haven't seen either parent in a couple days. I just went out to check and see if they were still alive and yes they were with open mouths waiting to be fed. I'm hoping that they come to feed these babies when I'm not looking. This is really stressful as I don't want these little babies to die.

There really is 4 in there, it's little head popped up after I snapped the picture. Do they not feed all the time like the sparrows in their bird houses?

Save    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
vamonos99

I a sure they are being fed! I worry as much as you do! But I don't they would be alive even after 24 hours of no food due to dehydration. They look very healthy!

Best of luck,

Lisa

PS sometimes I can sit outside for an hour or 2 and see no feeding. Yours look the same age as mine, 6 days old...

Save    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
wildflower_kh77

I guess you're right Lisa. This morning sitting and watching for over 2 hrs I finally seen the male go in and feed them. Thank god. I had them around last year too but they didn't nest so I felt privileged. I just love these Bluebirds. And yes they are about 6 days old. I peeked last Saturday and they were eggs, Sunday when I checked 3 babies, 1 egg, and Monday 4 babies. My neighbor isn't to fond of them as they like to peck at his mirrors on his truck so he has to cover them up. So sorry for that. Thanks for your input! Have a great day!


Save    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
vamonos99

Thanks! I'm glad to know there's another worrier out there!!! My neighbor two doors down is thrilled to see bluebirds and came to thank me! People are funny!

Save    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
wildflower_kh77

Oh no, it saddens me to say all babies are dead.. : ( I haven't seen the mother in days but I thought the mate was feeding them as I seen him go in a couple times yesterday. Apparently not. Then this morning I saw 2 males get in a squable above the box. That's when I went out to look and see whats going on. How sad... I removed the nest and hopefully one will come back and try again.

Save    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
vamonos99

Oh no! I am just heartsick for you. It broke my heart this year to bury my first little tiny helpless babies.

the only solace is that they keep trying. Nature is so cruel to our bluebirds. I am so sorry if I got your hopes up. Like Nicole once told me they are now in a wonderful place more perfect than we can imagine. It helped me through the awful sadness I felt.

Save    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
vamonos99

They really do keep trying which always helps ease my sadness.

Save    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
HU-238322469499

We have been watching our bluebird family and were thrilled when the babies started hopping up to look out of the box. Finally 2 of the babies left and we watched as mom and dad helped them learn to fly. There is still 1 baby left in the nest and he keeps looking out and I have seen one of the parents feed it. The feeding has not been as often and I haven't seen a parent yet this morning. Will the parents abandon this last baby or is he just not ready to leave and the parents know that he is not yet ready? I am getting concerned. He is so adorable.

Save    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
vamonos99

How long has it been? Sometimes one will fledge a day or two late. Meanwhile, plug up the hole and check to make sure his foot is not caught in something. Meanwhile, check out Bluebirdnutcafe.com as there is a lot more traffic. Good luck and best wishes to your baby~!

Save    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
HU-238322469499

Thanks. I am afraid that he/she didn't make it. It had been about a day and a half and neither of his parents had come to feed him or help him. Even with that, he was active. Yesterday he was at the opening and I would stand there and talk to him and encourage him, but later in the day I couldn't hear any activity in the birdhouse. Daddy bird showed up late yesterday afternoon and he had already died. I don't know if he starved or what. I don't know how long they can go without food or water. Sad day for us. He was so cute and animated when he would come to the opening.

Save    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
vamonos99

I am so sad for you. Maybe something was wrong developmentally. This forum has so many sad stories left by me. Last and this year much better so far.

Save    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
pal_tolpadi

I had a similar problem. Bluebird couple and made a nest in a birdhouse about a month ago I hung from a tree. It was all so cute. I saw a lot of feeding for about a week and then suddenly yesterday there was absolutely no activity. Today I went and checked, there was just an abandoned nest inside the birdhouse. Wonder what could have happened...:( I have cleaned the house and hung it on another tree..hoping they will try again..:(

Save    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Peggy Summitt

Hello, I have a problem with my beloved bluebirds I am hoping someone can help me with. We had a successful fledging a few weeks ago and then they came back and built another nest. Laid four eggs. I went out and one was destroyed and on the ground. The other three were in the very bottom of the nest making it hard for mama to even know they were there. A few days later she started building a nest on top of that nest. When I saw it, I pulled the other nest up on top of it so she could see the three eggs. Now she has laid two new eggs so far in with the old ones. And the nest is very high now and close to the hole. What will happen with old and new eggs in there? And should I try to squish the nest down from the hole more?


Save    
Browse Gardening and Landscaping Stories on Houzz See all Stories
Gardening Guides How to Bring the Joy of Bluebirds to Your Garden
Attract these beautiful songbirds with nesting habitat and food sources, including berry-producing trees and shrubs
Full Story
Gardening for Birds What to Know About Birds Nesting in Your Yard
Learn how to observe, record data and help ornithologists with NestWatch’s citizen science project understand bird trends
Full Story
Patios An Outdoor Dining Spot Creates Quiet Time in the Heart of San Francisco
See how this abandoned site became a big-city oasis with the help of a new lawn and a unique outdoor dining area
Full Story