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Protecting Eastern phoebe's babies?

15 years ago

I'm new to this forum and apologize if this kind of question has been asked before...

For the second year, we have an Eastern Phoebe building a nest on the ledge/trim above our front door. It is a great site for her in many respects because the door is set back in a little alcove and the whole thing set back because the house is a Dutch Colonial with a deep overhang in front. HOWEVER... there is a wide bluestone stoop at the door. Last year, I believe virtually all her little ones fell out and died when they struck the bluestone step. I don't know if they crawled over the edge of the nest, or if they tried to fly, but I picked up four little carcasses over several days. We meant to put up a row of pebbles (which were there when we bought the house, I guess for this purpose?) on the ledge this year to discourage her, but didn't get to it before she started building.

So my question is this: is there something I can put on the bluestone beneath the nest to "catch" or otherwise soften the fall for fledgling Phoebes? I would really hate to see her lose another brood -- except for the bluestone (and the fact that we don't want to turn the outside lights on at night!) we enjoy having her around. She seems a very attentive mother (just not so good at picking housing sites). I don't want to intervene with nature too much, but imagine in the wild, there would be something soft underneath her nest, not an expanse of stone. What can (or should) I do to help her out, if anything?

Many thanks for your help!

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