Baby bluebird out of nest on ground

katiedidcottage

I hope I've done the right thing.

We were cooking out and I was going around to go check on one of our bluebird houses, when I was divebombed twice by the male bluebird. I ran back to the patio where he left me along. Both parent bluebirds were just around there. I attempted to go back to that area again and was almost divebombed again. After a while the parent bluebirds were gone, so I walked over to the area and saw the tiny bluebird sitting on the ground. This area is not safe for long on the ground because of snakes and cats, so I had read somewhere to get a pillowcase and try to catch it gently with that so I enlisted the help of my husband and we succeeded in running him out of the fenced yard (even more dangerous) and starting down a steep hill (70 degrees angle) to the neighbors. So then I went around the hill and down to the neighbors and started slowly climbing up the hill and waved the pillowcase and got him going back up hill at which point I was able to gentle lift him with the pillowcase and put him back in the wooden bluebird house. I had to gently nudge his little wings so that he would fit through the hole, but he was safely in. I have seen the bluebird father again around there so I have avoided the area now and hope that if all the other birds are gone that they will return to find this little one. I'm not sure and I was afraid to look in the nest because I've heard that baby birds at this age may fly out prematurely if you open the door to look. So I have no idea if the others are in there or not. At this point, I feel like I did the best I could do because even though the parents may have eventually gotten him to jump up in a tree, I wanted to make sure he had the best chance for survival. Any ideas?

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kendra2003

Since nobody else has answered yet, I will give it a try. Hopefully others much more experienced than me will chime in soon. I think you were in a tough predicament and did the best you could. Something had to have made that baby prematurely fledge (ants, mites, heat?), so he may jump out again. Hopefully you have a predator guard on the box and there is not a snake in there. At this point just keep a really close eye on the box. Do you know how old these babies are, and when they're due to fledge? This is tough because you really want to discover why he jumped too soon, but at the same time you don't want to risk all the others jumping if you open the box. Can you see anything like ants climbing the pole or mites all over the box? Are the parents still entering the box to feed?

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bandjzmom

Well Katie, you don't say how big the baby was or whether he was fully feathered already. It may have been time for him to fledge from the nest, and maybe he had come on out just like he was supposed to. The parents would be extra assertive when the babes have just fledged and don't have great wings under them yet. Sometimes, it is obvious that a baby should not yet be out of the nest, but you say that this baby was running from you guys. I think that you should go to the sialis site and look at the pictoral on baby Blues in the nest. Then maybe next time, you will be able to tell approximate age. Better yet, keep a frequent check on your Bluebird boxes and keep written records of what is occurring when. That way, you know for sure. If you returned a baby that had just fledged on time, then he will just come on out again. Check link below.~`Angie

Here is a link that might be useful: Sialis/Egg to Empty Nest

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lisa11310

Katie, you did do what most of us would have done with a fledgling that can not fly. The first thing is to watch to see if the parents can get the baby up to the trees, some will say the parents will guide the baby to a safe spot and continue feeding it till it can fly but in your case with snakes and cats you did the right thing. Second you can put a sock or something in the hole and crack the box slightly to peek and see what is going on in the box (no snakes etc). Leave the hole covered for a few minutes so any babies can calm back down.If it is a lone fledgling that is just not quite ready to go you can put a hole reducer on the box so the parents can feed it but it cant jump out again. The parents will hear the baby peeping and will find it. There is a great website with this and much more info www.sialis.org Let us know how it goes, that baby is nearly ready to take to the sky, thanks for helping it!

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lisa11310

OOPS Angie types faster than me! LOL

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katiedidcottage

Thanks all of you for your feedback. I think the baby had just fledged early and the parents are trying to get them to fledge. It has been very hot here this week, but the parents are in the nearby trees perching and calling to them now. They are not going to the birdhouse at all and just calling them in a gentle calling chirp. I have seen little house wrens fledge before many years ago but they went right out and made it to the nearby tree limbs. I think from what the bird looked like in the pictures provided by one of you, they are ready to fledge, I just thought it best not to be on the ground. We are staying away from the area as much as possible to give them a chance to get the babies going. Thanks again!

Well, I just got brave and went and looked at their nest holding a straw hat underneath just in case and it was empty. Mom and Dad are still calling so I looked back where he was when I first found him and the baby is at the same place again, sort of under our lean-to shed sitting on a bag of dirt just looking at me. I am hearing small bird chattering a little ways away and I think the other babies must have already fledged and this is the runt or last one. I'm going to leave him alone though it breaks my heart. I haven't seen a cat around lately and no snakes for a couple of years. I don't own a cat because of how much I love the birds, but I do have a little dog who won't be allowed to run free in the small fenced back yard we have until I'm sure they are all up in the trees. I wish I could help the little guy, but maybe his parents know best how to do it.

I am keeping up better the next time. I know that when I left last Friday there were 3 eggs in the other nest in the front and when I got back Sunday, May 30, there were 5 with 1 chickadee egg which I removed. So I have read that the birds usually start incubating them whwen they have laid all they are going to lay, so I think they were probably incubated since around 5/30 - 5/31.

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katiedidcottage

A footnote to the story. These bluebirds "took over" the nest of a chickadee who fought hard one afternoon to keep her nest. She later went to another house in the back yard and almost has a group of babies ready to fledge. But I said when the birds fledged I wanted to see if there were chickadee eggs under the bluebird nest in the other beautiful green mossy nest the chickadee built and I just checked and there were 7 eggs in there from the chickadee. Its a hard life for birds.

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katiedidcottage

I'm just horrified that this baby is still standing there at the same place after a couple of hours. Its beginning to get dark here and I'm concerned about him being outside by himself even though I've read on the sialis site about birds surviving this. He is a brave little one. :-(

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lisa11310

I would have put him back in the nest with a reducer for the night. God willing it will make it out there.

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katiedidcottage

After looking, I found and followed the advice on the Sialis website:

"A feathered bird with short wings and a short tail found on the ground is probably a fledgling. Parents will continue to care for them, so unless there are obvious injuries, leave the bird alone." Since his parents were very definitely trying to care for him, my judgement was to let them care for him because of that advice.

Last year, in my neighborhood bluebirds were nesting in the little newspaper holes of several of my neighbors' brick mailboxes about 1 foot off the ground and pulled out by a cat. I have tried to improve on their nesting conditions as much as possible.

I have had bluebirds in my yard before when I had a big flat back yard, but now I live on a bluff and its impossible to scramble through the brambles and bushes of a cliff when it gets that dark trying to catch him. I was going to stay up all night and watch him as long as he stayed there in the back yard, but when his mama and papa came back again, fed him, and then left, he tried his best to take off after them by going under the privacy fence.

I have checked this box often and watched for them to fledge, but just didn't realize that there could be one of them not quite ready to fly when the others were. This is the 3rd box of bluebirds I've had the pleasure of watching in my yard and all have survived but not without problems. I hope this little one makes it.

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katiedidcottage

I'm sorry if I'm annoying anyone, but I thought someone might be interested. I'm extrememly happy to report that the little bird is alive and well and is back in our back yard where he is relatively safe for now. Both of his parents have been coming back to him and he is sitting back on the same little bag that he was yesterday before he ran away. My husband and I may try to put him in a tree today if we can find a place where we can reach to put him that looks safe. As I said, we are on a bluff. I am totally amazed!

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bandjzmom

Katie, You will NEVER annoy me with bird talk. It just is not possible! :o) It does my heart so much good to spend time with others who have the same concern and admiration for wildlife that I do. I LOVE the fact that you are carefully watching over the babies. It's too bad that the little Chickadees got bumped out of their box. Next time, keep a watch out and you can place a hole reducer on the box to ensure that won't happen again. I am really a big advocate of monitoring the boxes. You cannot help if you don't know. The more time you spend in the yard and around the boxes, the less the birds will percieve you to be a threat. I very rarely get divebombed by any of my yard birds. Haven't been bombed by a Bluebird in eons. Seems like the Robins want to bomb me sometimes tho!! If you are uncomfortable, take someone out with you to do nest checks, and take an umbrella along. The key is to get in and get out as quickly and quietly as possible. Open the box, take a look, close it, and slowly move away from the area. No drama. I also talk to them as I work. Yep, I am a crazy old bird lady!! :o)

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lisa11310

Katie, so glad to hear the little guy is still there. Maybe he will be able to get some air today. It is possible that he hatched a day later than the rest and just needs a little more time. Saying prayers!

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katiedidcottage

Thank you Lisa. I said prayers last night and couldn't sleep at all. He did very well today until about 11:45 at which time he retreated to the back of the lean-to shed on the cool earth and the mother has still been feeding him but not able to coax him out again. He even jumped and climbed up some boards we have on our wheelbarrow which creates a perfect taking off place for him, but when he tried to jump and fly, he only got to the bottom horizontal board and quickly retreated. Then it got hot. I'm hoping he will come out and try again as it is getting shady where he is. Even if I rescued him and put him in a tree, I have my doubts he would stay there. And if he jumps down outside of our fence he is a lot less safe than he is right where he is now. We can still hear him respond to his mother when she feeds him, but we haven't seen him since about 11:45. We have a perfect view of his area from our screened-in and elevated deck.

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seafire1

Katie,

Sometimes this happens. One egg doesn't hatch at the same time as the others of one nestling doesn't mature as fast, maybe he wasn't aggressive enough to get the same amount of food. The parents usually won't desert the baby, unless it goes on for a few days. If you notice the parents have moved on and left him, than you should intervene. He may not have developed wings and may need a rehabber to intervene. Keep us updated.

Hi, Lisa!! Took your advise and migrated back here!!

Pam

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katiedidcottage

Thank you, Pam. I'm concerned because it is so late in the day and he is still hiding on the ground. I hate for him to have to try to survive another night by hiding behind our garbage can. I think he must have hatched at least 2 days after the other ones or like you said, wasn't aggressive enough to get enough food. Both parents are still very attentive all day today. I don't know what they do at night.

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katiedidcottage

I just talked to a wildlife rehabber in my area and she told me not to intervene. She said that it was a crucial time for him right now and that the parents wouldn't abandon him. She is the closest rehabber and she is probably 70 miles away.

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seafire1

Katie,

Quote "Both parents are still very attentive all day today"

That is good that they are still coming to him. Sounds like the shed is offering him some protection at night. As long as the parents are taking care of him, you do not need to intervene. Glad you got some advise and someone to call, just in case!

Pam

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seafire1

Katie,

Whats happening with the grounded fledgling?

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katiedidcottage

Hi Pam and anyone else interested,

After my last posting, we had a very high wind come up for about an hour. It blew some branches and clumps of leaves down all around our area, but no rain. It also blew down a large piece of wood that may have frightened the baby, but for whatever reason, the little bird went back under the fence to outside of our yard, and the parents seemed to keep him there this time. In fact, he quite moved on from being squenched up next to the fence, and I could not see him any more with a quick check, but I did hear him answering his mother, and the parents kept coming back and were in different trees to watch after him. They were actually in the trees they perched in to watch their original bluebird home, about 10 feet closer to the front of the house than they had been through this ordeal in our fenced back yard.

This morning when I got up, the bluebird parents were not there nor was he. The parents did come back a couple of times when I was outside and did not seem distressed. They did not seem to be calling to him at all. I didn't hear them sing or call any at all. The trees they were sitting in as I mentioned before were closer to the front of my yard and I cannot see the birds from my back deck with binoculars like I could when they were looking after him in the shed. I didn't want to stay too close to see and frighten him into running again, so I missed seeing if they were going down and feeding him, if they had encouraged him to fly and if he did, or anything at all.

All I know is that by about 10:00 a.m. when I went around to sit on my little concrete bench which is about 15 feet from the bluebird house, the mom and dad sat in the tree there where they always looked after their home like they were communing with me. Lol. I did hear what I know was some kind of baby bird high in the trees in my neighbor's yard right next to this area. Since I have not heard a baby bird calling from that area throughout this weekend, I'm just going to believe that it was him and that he was able to fly and get up there with his parents calling him at some time that I didn't see. He could almost fly the day before, so I'm hoping that they get him moved down the block to the little field where they moved and where his siblings are. I hope they bring all their babies back to see me some day the way another bluebird family did a couple of years ago. I'll try to let you know if I see all 5 of the babies some time, but there are lots of bluebirds around here, so it may be hard to tell. Last week, there was a whole family of about 7 bluebirds on my roof for about 30 minutes.

Karen

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parkernicole01

Hi- I didn't know where to go or who to ask, but saw that you had experience with Bluebirds (live in AL). This is my 1st group & they finally fledged on day 19/20. However, 2 of them are hopping around in my court yard & Mommy/Daddy are very stressed. We have major thunderstorms coming within hours & they will continue through the night, tomorrow, & off & on for several days afterwards. Should I intervene by trying to put them back in the nest, or just leave them alone? It's currently 8:18 pm & am worried about predators & major storms. Again, they are in my gated courtyard hopping around on brown bard mulch (not even any grass, but also, scared to let them out in front yard because that exposes them to predators more). If there is someone else you think I should ask? Please let me know. Please advise!


Nicole Parker

(404) 915-7558

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HU-337131

Yesterday I found 2 of my baby bluebirds that hatched 2 days earlier on the ground ( still alive ) and 2 eggs that were partially hatched. The mom flew out of the nest before I got there and when I saw babies and eggs I put them all back in the nest. Today it looks like all the eggs are hatched and the babies were moving around. I have never experienced this before with bluebirds. Could another bird have pulled them all out, was it maybe the bluebird mom or pop, or what? I am quite perplexed!!

Gwen

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lisa11310

sounds like House Wrens or House Sparrows.....

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lisa11310

If house wrens the babies will be fine after they are about 8-9 days old....if house sparrows not only the babies but also the adult birds are in danger......please go to www.sialis.org to read more.......good luck! You can put up sparow spookers...also wern guards but the wren will already know the hole is there....if you have any other nestboxes filed with sticks you have a werns. This year I had a sneaky one that visited the BB house before any eggs were laid so I put a soft cushion under the box...thank God the wern has left.


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HU-337131

Yes the sparrows have won for years until I put a new box up far away. They are some pesky lil critters aren't they? I will have to watch mom and babies very carefully. Thanks for your feedback.

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