Why did these baby birds disappeaer?

deanna in ME Barely zone 6a, more like 5b

We found a nest yesterday with three extremely young baby birds. Seven people looked at it, but never touched anything, and less than 24 hours later the next is COMPLETELY EMPTY. Would the parents actually build a new nest and move all the chicks, or was it a predator? The nest is in perfect shape, and when I discovered them missing early this morning I looked all around for signs of trauma. No little feather or anything. I'd love to have some ideas, and I sure hope they didn't get eaten.

SaveComment92Like1
Comments (92)
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
catherinet

I've heard that you should never walk up to a nest very often because your scent is left for predators. Maybe all those people looking at it left too much scent?
I don't think the parent birds moved them, unfortunately.
Sorry!
I've seen red squirrels steal baby birds. :(

Save    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Konrad___far_north

Yes, getting close is not a good thing, observing with a binocular
in a distance would be better.

Save    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
birding_nut

Unfortunately, nest success rates for open-cup nesting songbirds are extremely low, ranging from about 15-40% depending on the species and location. Cavity nesting birds do much better, with success rates routinely between 70-90%. A variety of things prey on eggs and nestlings including snakes, raccoons, squirrels, chipmunks, jays, crows, ravens, shrikes, kestrels, etc. The list is daunting and hence the reason why so many open-cup nesting birds try to raise 2-3 broods a year. Thus, the nestlings here were undoubtedly predated. The poor nesting success of open-cup nesting songbirds is low, regardless if you looked in on the nest or not. Although, to be cautious, next time observe from a distance if possible. As a biologist who studies the breeding ecology of birds, I have read many studies published in peer-reviewed scientific journals that fail to show any strong correlation between human scent and predators following it to nests, even for birds that nest on the ground. Predators cue in on the scent of the nestlings, sound of the nestlings, or the increased activity of adult birds bringing food to the nest.

BN

4 Likes Save    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
catherinet

Thanks for that info BN.

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

Looks like a Robin's nest to me. Bless them. BN gives good info. Most of them don't make it for one reason or another. Some predator got the babies. It happens like that. Eggs and babies disappear from their nests all the time. We hate to see it happen, but it is a part of the big picture and the "circle of life" so to speak. I don't think that you caused them to be taken by looking at them, although once you have discovered a nest, it is then best to watch from afar with bincos if you can.~~Angie

Save    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
tommysmommy

The same thing happened at a robin's nest at my house. She built it in plain view at the edge of a blue spruce's branches, right next to the driveway as I would walk to my mailbox. Those babies were sitting ducks and one by one, they disappeared. I removed the nest to discourage another bird from using it.

Save    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
catherinet

Exact same thing happened to me this morning. It was a robin's nest she built at the top of a trellis next to my shed. The 3 little ones were almost ready to fledge. I even took a pic of them a couple days ago (with a telephoto lens). They were so cute. And mama Robin would get so mad at me whenever I'd walk by.
This morning I looked over at the nest and it was disturbed. Then I saw a dead baby on the ground and the other 2 were missing. Mama Robin was yelling.
I know its the circle of life, but I don't have to like it!
I fear it was probably a stray cat I've seen around here, or a coon.
I feel so bad for them. I know I'm anthropomorphizing, but I feel so bad for the torture the little ones must have gone through, and what the parent birds must be feeling now.
Dangit.
Maybe I should get rid of that trellis, because birds always are fooled into thinking the top of it is a good spot for a nest.
I'm sad. :(

3 Likes Save    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
lisa11310

Last year I had a Robin nest in a small ornamental cherry tree. I was amazed that all 3 babies made it to what I figured would be fledge time. I saw them all peeking out and moving closer to the edge of the nest on a Friday night. Saturday morning I got up and they were gone however I found a pile of baby feathers under the tree. I was able to find Mom and was so pleased to see that 2 of the babies made it out of the nest. I am sure they fear fledged or were called out by Mom. She must have considered it a successful nesting because she is back in the same place with eggs now. I am praying for them! Tons of Squirrels this year including the pesky little red ones. So cute but so destructive.

Save    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
catherinet

Gosh, that would be great if 2 of the 3 here fledged ("fear fledged, as you put it!). I'll keep my eye out for little ones.
You're right.....those red squirrels are cute, but destructive. One year, I saw one running off with a baby bird in its mouth, and the parents squawking after it.

Do you think chipmunks would steal bigger baby birds? I saw one eating a big juicy earth worm the other day. I had no idea they were "meat eaters".
I love bird watching, but it doesn't always turn out well.

Save    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
deanna in ME Barely zone 6a, more like 5b

Thanks for all the info, as terrible as it is! You all were really helpful. It ain't a Disney world, is it?! I think I may remove the nest. It is in a lone pine tree in the yard, and would be very obvious to anything on the ground or in the air. Should I remove it to keep another nest from being built, or should I leave it there and let them choose whether to use it again? It's in absolutely perfect shape.

Poor little birds. i wish we could have found one to raise.

About that bird on the ground, chaterinet, it's possible that it fell out while trying to learn to fly and was ambushed there. Does that sound likely?

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

Hi deanna,
Its hard to say. It didn't really have any wounds on it. But the nest was disheveled, which made me think there was a struggle in the nest. I sure hope the other 2 flew off safely!

Save    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
troutwind

Back in the mid 80's I was in the Navy and attending a Navy School in San Diego. I had noticed a seemingly high incidence of one legged birds on the lawn beside our outdoor break area. About a month after I started the school I discovered the reason. The Ground Squirrels had their burrows under the shrubs and plantings around the lawn. I happened to be looking in the right direction to see one of them dart out of its hiding place, grab a bird by the leg and drag it out of sight down its burrow.

Save    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
bandjzmom

It really is true Deanna. It ain't Disney out there. I don't like it either Catherine, but I have come to accept it over the years. I find that the more habitat friendly I strive to make my yard, the more creatures come in to use it. Therefore, I get to joyfully experience more of their successes and am consequently exposed to more of their failures too. They are very resilient and so willing to "try...try...again."~`Angie

Save    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
catherinet

Angie.....I was just thinking that very thought yesterday!

We moved to this 33 acres about 30 years ago and the guy who owned it before us mowed much of it. We just let it all grow up and its a real forest now (except for all that danged bush honeysuckle). Every year, more and more wildlife show up.
So its exactly like you said.....we get to experience more of their successes and their failures too.

Its pretty easy for us humans to try to see things as "Disney", but its not that way at all. I guess because we're at the top of the food chain, and can insulate ourselves from alot of the ways of nature, we are somewhat aghast when we see the "downside", or the reality.
I'm rambling. :)
I did have a phoebe nest over the light on our front porch and I believe I'm seeing her little ones around the yard now. Oh....and there's a hummer sitting on her miniature nest in a pine close to the house, so hopefully we'll see her little ones fly around soon.
Lots to be grateful for.

Save    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
lisa11310

Cathernet, It may very well be that the other 2 made it out. I knew at least one of mine did because Mom was protecting an area on the ground. I assumed it was just not quite ready to fly. A few days later Mom had both of them with her near the pond. Keep an eye out for Mom she may have them stashed somewhere. A cat or a coon can only eat one at a time so if the others were close to fledging I bet they got away.

Save    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
bandjzmom

That is true Lisa. They may not all have perished. I was mowing my back yard the other day. The grass had gotten a little too high. I have a large line of Giant Arborvitae back there, and there's a lot of nesting going on in them. It's mostly Robins, Cardinals, and Mourning Doves. Anyway, something ran across the grass right in front of my push mower. I stopped the mower to investigate, and it was a baby Mourning Dove. It had feathers but wasn't quite ready to be out of the nest. I spotted the nest on the ground a few feet away, and then I also spotted its deceased sibling. I secured the live baby and planned to bury the other when I finished mowing. Mama Dove did come back to tend to her young. :o)
Then, I got to the other side of the yard, and underneath Arborvitae there, I found 2 deceased Robin nestlings. Man, this was turning out to be some kind of mowing drama. Lo and behold, I saw movement near to the dead Robins, and a third baby had made it. I went to my garage and got an old Robin's nest that I had found awhile ago on the ground, and proceeded to secure it into the tree that the live baby was under. The baby was absolutely not ready to be out of the nest, but had some size on him, and was in good condition. So, I knew he was being fed. I picked up baby Robin in order to tuck him into the nest. He screamed, he pooped, and then the aerial assault began!!! LOL Oddly, there were 4 or 5 adult Robins who came out of the blue and descended upon me. I quickly and gently placed baby onto the ground and then cleared the way for them. Baby ran into a thicket of Cotoneaster, and the adults settled down. So, all's well that ends well. I buried the 2 Robins and the Mourning Dove, and then continued to finish my mowing. The circle of life continues...~~Angie

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

Speaking of nest fatalities, I am studying the breeding biology of two woodpecker species. I am conducting detailed feeding rate observations to see what sexes bring food, who sanitizes the nest, and what types of food they bring the nestlings. I sit in full camo with a spotting scope and monitor the nest for a two hour period. Today, I went to monitor one of my Hairy Woodpecker nests and noticed an adult looking out the cavity. I quietly set up all my stuff and trained my scope on the cavity entrance and noticed the bird "looking out the cavity" was actually dead. Its head had been attacked probably as it was trying to defend its nest cavity from whatever predator it was. Blood was even dried running down the snag from the cavity. I felt so bad for the male and his three young that also perished in the cavity. It was so sad to see him just hanging there. But, there was nothing I could do but wish it hadn't happened. It is different when the young or eggs disappear, but when an adult gets killed it really is hard to take.

BN

Save    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
bandjzmom

Wow BN...Very sad indeed. It is true that the more aware we are, the more informed we are. It's hard to witness the grizzly side of nature. My sister told me that she had been watching the Decorah Eagles on line, and that some people expressed outrage because the parent brought a still breathing bunny to the nest for the eaglets.

Save    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
catherinet

Oh birding nut....what a bummer. What do you think killed it? Another bird, or an animal?
Nature can be so wonderful, but sometimes its just hard to take!

Save    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
creeper

There is now reason to be getting this close to any nest to a point where you can see eggs or chicks in it. Birds are known to abandon nests when disturbed. If they stay you can cause premature fledging of the chicks, which usually results in their demise. Also getting close to nesting area alerts predators. Maybe a Blue Jay alerted by your presence made a meal out of these chicks. This happens so please don�t get this close to any nests. Watch it from a considerable distance. This is a third post I am reading on this forum about disappearing birds and in all three posts people are getting way to close, possible causing the problem

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

BTW, looking at your pictures I can�t believe anybody would get this close to a nest. You were so close your camera couldn�t even focus.
2nd picture looks high off the ground. Please don�t tell me you actually climbed a tree? No wonder your birds were eaten:-( Why are you on top of the nest????

Save    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
deanna in ME Barely zone 6a, more like 5b

Yes, we certainly did get that close to the nest, myself and 5 children. Baby birds are pretty exciting, and it was going to be an on-going project to watch and chart their growth. Would have been quite an experience! Now we've found a woodpecker's nest, but we can't get close to that one!

Save    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
birding_nut

I am not sure what killed the adult Hairy Woodpecker. A few years ago I found a dead male Williamson's Sapsucker in a cavity in this same aspen stand where the Hairy Woodpecker was nesting. Northern Pygmy Owls have nested in this stand as well (in an abandoned woodpecker cavity) so that could have been the culprit. They can be quite aggressive and will take on birds larger than themselves. Mammals, if they depredate a nest, usually remove the birds they have killed...this instance and the evidence makes me think it was an avian predator.

BN

Save    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
creeper

Deanna,
There is always a bright side to every story. Here the woodpecker's chicks are safe for now.
There isn't much one can do to fight ignorance. There are laws on the books against disturbance of native bird�s nesting areas but who cares about a couple of chicks here and there to satisfy someone�s shallow curiosity? After all "Baby birds are pretty exciting" so why not sacrifice a couple of them every year.
The sad part about all this is that you are teaching your kids the way of destruction and they will never even realize how harmful is that kind of behavior. I teach my kids to love and protect nature, you show them how to destroy it. Please don't take my word for it. Google the subject and see what experts have to say about it. Having you and five kids claming to get this close to a nest killed these birds. If you like to give your kids a really good lesson in life, make them realize what happen, make them realize that you made a mistake and explain to them the very harsh consequences.
We all make mistakes because we lack necessary information to make correct decisions. That'ss not excusable but sometimes unavoidable and understandable. However, armed with knowledge only self-centered ignorant people continue on the wrong path. I am sure you are not one of them.

2 Likes Save    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
deanna in ME Barely zone 6a, more like 5b

We can both be grateful now! I have done some internet searching and haven't found any information like what you said. I could be using bad search terms, so please send me some sites. I searched with terms that amounted to abandoning baby chicks, disturbing nests, etc. I did find one site that actually encourage "nest checks" and said it resulted in higher chance of surviving. It specifically said disturbing a nest doesn't cause problems and is an old wives tale. It was a site on raising martins, I believe:

"Why are so many martin landlords reluctant and/or afraid to lower their martin houses during the breeding season to conduct weekly nests checks? I think it's because, as children, we were told by our parents that touching or disturbing a bird's nest would cause the parents to abandon their young. We now know that such assertions are false and amount to nothing more than 'old wive's tales.' Birds will not abandon their nests or young when touched by humans - they have far too much "parental investment" accumulated in them by that stage to be so wasteful of their reproductive effort. In fact, anyone who has tried to discourage English House Sparrows or European Starlings from nesting in their martin houses by repeatedly tearing out their nests, knows how nearly impossible it can be to cause a bird to abandon its breeding site. It's the same with Purple Martins - humans can lower their housing, touch their nestlings, and even replace their wet nests, as often as necessary. None of these activities will cause martins to abandon their nests, young, or colony sites. Martins are incredibly tolerant of human disturbance, which is good, because conducting weekly nests checks is unquestionably the most beneficial activity a landlord can do to help their martins. Leaving them undisturbed, on the other hand, can, and usually does, lead to lower reproductive success. Ironically, you are far more likely to have your martins abandon your site by not doing nest checks than by doing them. If you want to do what is best for the martins under your care, get out there and do weekly nest checks!"

We are going to learn about the world around us, but we are going to do it the right way. Can you send me some info like what you were talking about? We didn't touch the nest at all, so please send dependable info on observing the nest close-up.

Thank you!

Save    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
deanna in ME Barely zone 6a, more like 5b

Here's another from an intro to a research article (see below)

"Predation has exerted a strong influence on the evolution of habitat selection and life his- tory traits for many avian species (Martin 1993b). Research on a broad array of ecolog- ical topics requires estimates of avian fecun- dity. Because nest predation is the major cause of nest failure in passerines (Ricklefs 1969; Martin 1992, 1993a, b), researchers have fre- quently expressed concerns that monitoring might artificially increase predation rates (Mayfield 1975, Major 1990, Gotmark 1992).
Predators might be attracted to nests by vi- sual cues, such as the presence of researchers, trampling of vegetation, increased activity of parent birds, and by olfactory cues. Mamma- lian predators are thought to follow tracks in the vegetation and to respond to human scent along the trails or at the nests (Creighton 1971, Wilson 1976, No1 and Brooks 1982, Gotmark 1992, Whelan et al. 1994). In a re- view paper on investigator bias, Gotmark (1992) concluded there was little or no evi- dence that researcher disturbance increased mammalian predation rates. "

I really am trying to do this right. Any accurate info you have would help.

Here is a link that might be useful: article

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

Nest boxes are usually for species very tolerant to human presence. Most birds are not so tolerant.

I am working right now so Ill not be searching but here is one site I posted previously

US Army Corps of Engineering site

http://www.mvs.usace.army.mil/Shelbyville/birdnestandeggs06.htm

current danger to nesting birds, and one to which even the most well-meaning bird enthusiast may subject them, is unintended disturbance. The bird is a creature that normally evades its enemies by flying or running away. When incubating eggs or brooding young, the parent birds are tied to the nest. If a predator of some kind does attack, then it is better that the parent bird should survive and nest again; therefore, the bird generally leaves the nest to the attacker. Under natural conditions the predator that finds the nest will destroy it, and probably search the nest site again at a later time; therefore, it is safer if the bird does not return to the same nesting site. Unfortunately, the bird cannot discriminate between a harmful predator and an inquisitive human, so a clumsy inspection of a nest when a bird is sitting might cause the bird to desert the nest and its contents completely.
Birds are likely to desert in the early stages of laying and incubation. When the young songbirds are growing feathers but still within a few days of being ready to leave the nest, they may leave prematurely if the nest is touched. In addition to this, the slightest disturbance of twigs, leaves or grass, necessary to see into a nest, may be sufficient to indicate, to a sharp-eyed predator, the presence of a previously hidden nest. Lastly, lingering near a nest may prevent the birds from returning and cause eggs and young to become fatally chilled.

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

There is a shrub right outside my kitchen window that grows up against the back of the house. I want to chop this shrub down (too close to the house) but it seems to be a favored site for bird nesting, plus I can watch the progress while washing the dishes!

Two years in a row, Chipping Sparrows have nested there successfully. This year, a Robin is nesting. I have to do stuff in the vicinity of the shrub - like use the hose, clean out the gutters (Silver maple wings), etc. However, I am careful not to disturb the shrub itself, and don't even open the window on that side. One year, I got too close and wiggled the shrub accidentally which caused Chipping Sparrow nestlings to jump out of the nest (they were pretty much ready and okay, Momma was feeding them). I theorized that they felt the movement, and interpreted that as a predator climbing the shrub.

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

I couldn�t help it, I had to get back to this

Here are results of a very quick search:

1.Code of Birding Ethics from the American Birding Association
http://www.libirding.com/BirdEthics.html

Keep well back from nests and nesting colonies, roosts, display areas, and important feeding sites. In such sensitive areas, if there is a need for extended observation, photography, filming or recording, try to use a blind or hide, and take advantage of natural cover.


2. Sibley�s Guide to Birds
Page 14, Ethics: "Avoid making a disturbance, especially at roosting and nesting sites."

3. Audubon Society. Birding Etiquette
http://web4.audubon.org/bird/at_home/bird_watching/basics_etiquette.shtml

Take extra care when in a potential or active nesting area. It is hard enough for birds to compete with each other for mates and space; human interference causes additional stress.

4. Birding/Wild birds
http://birding.about.com/od/birdingbasics/a/ethics.htm

Stay on marked trails and avoid entering restricted areas, no matter how tempting it may be to venture closer to a bird. Disturbing a bird�s feeding area or nesting sites can cause unhealthy stress and fear that may drive the bird away, not only out of range of the birder�s observations but permanently forcing the bird to find a safer, less disturbed habitat where it will not be able to be observed.

Save    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
creeper

Terrene, you have the best way to do the dishes:-)!! Enjoy the view, you are doing just fine and very responsible.

2 Likes Save    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
deanna in ME Barely zone 6a, more like 5b

Thanks for the info!

Save    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
MytFine

These do look like robins. We've had some use a nest in our holly bush year after year. The first time, the babies were getting ready to fledge and then were gone! I read about robins online and found out the babies often leave the nest and actually live on the ground with the mom under shrubs and bushes for a few days just as they are getting ready to fly off. This year I found the nest tipped and 3 dead babies on the ground. Very sad. House cats alone kill 1.75 BILLION birds a year in the U.S. Unbelievable! It may be the nature of the beast, but it is sad for our feathered friends. Jams in CT.

2 Likes Save    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Elly_NJ

Those who wish to pet and baby wildlife love them, but those who respect their natures and wish to let them live their natural lives, love them more. ~ Edwin Way
Teale

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

Deanna, please don't listen to the comments such as "Having you and five kids claming to get this close to a nest killed these birds." Quotes, provided by Creeper had nothing to do with it - these babies were to small to "fledge prematurely" and defiantly was not abandoned by parents. Predators, following human scent searching for prey - it is ridiculous . Wildlife avoid humans and do not following their tracks (unless they prey on humans themselves). Don't you know that hunters do their best to mask their scent if they want to catch an animal? This is all just empty excuses to keep curious kids from the nests. I have done everything possible with nests - including completely remodeling nests and even moving them a couple of feet from their original place. I kept babies that fell to the ground and almost died from the cold inside house all night and returned them back to the nest the next morning. Nothing stopped the parents from coming back and look after their babies.
Theres are only two bad things that can be done from what I know - some spooked birds can abandon their nest with eggs (but not with babies) and if babies are to close to fledge (those, that almost all covered in feathers), they can leave the nest a little early. But this is NOT what happened in your case.

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

Untrue, what is above.

Calling attention to a nest by visiting it repeatedly - and the key word is repeatedly, not just once to return a chick - is dangerous to the nestlings. If you love birds, leave the nests alone.

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

Predators watch from trees all the time. You may not see them, but they are there. I don't know if Deanna and her kids caused the predator to take notice of the nest, but it does happen.

When robins built a nest on our porch, I quickly googled and found plenty of information, including warnings to not draw attention to the nest. When my kids were babies, I wouldn't have appreciated large mammals peeking in at them as they slept, so I wouldn't do that to another mom. =)

I don't think it's fair to blame Deanna, as no one knows what really happened. But I do think it's fair to warn anyone reading this thread to stay away from nests.

Save    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

Trying to tread lightly here, but there's also a human factor. Kids are excited about seeing the baby birds and they tell their friends what they saw and where. No harm meant, but the friends may go climb the tree without adult supervision. A lot of possible scenarios here, from scaring the birds to bringing the babies home with them to keep as pets.

Claire

Save    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

Oops - I didn't mean to say that this scenario actually happened in this case, just that it's the kind of thing that can happen with the best of intentions. Humans are also predators, sometimes unwittingly.

Claire

Save    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
coastal_modern_love

We have a menagerie of song birds nesting in our yard's surrounding landscape. We also have as many predatory birds, chipmunks and too many red squirrels. This morning I noticed a big crow flying around my patio really low and a mom robin chasing it off. I know she had a nest nearby but have not pinpointed where until this afternoon. My son was cleaning up around a planting circle and discovered a peeping baby under the weeping cherry. He called me out so I looked around for the nest and wouldn't you know it was right where the robin was chasing away the crow. There was a broken half eaten egg/hatchling that he found a bit further on the walkway. I put the baby back in the nest. It had definitely just hatched, either yesterday or this morning, as it was hairless and eyes closed. My son stood watch from inside for a couple of hours to see if the mom would return. Then the severe thunderstorms watch started on TV. At around 6 pm the sky turned black and the thunderstorm hit. I was concerned about the baby so brought it inside. I know this wrong to do, but it surely would have died in the storm (heavy pelting rain). I placed it in a nest we had in the shed, lined with some tissue. The baby's skin was very cool so I put a little heated water bag under the tissue to keep it warm until the storm passed. I was able to round up some inch worms/meal worms and a feeding tweezer (we have a baby lizard) and fed him about 3 worms at 30 min intervals. I usually have baby bird meal on hand but we are not breeding this season (my husband and FIL raise euro-finches and american canaries, both are currently unreachable).

The storm has since passed, but still no sign of mom. Would she have abandoned this nest after it was raided? I know I can't put him back tonight because there is still no sign of mom. I know a *bit* about feeding hatchlings, but don't want to take on a wild baby. I also know the difficult job of taking care of this bird until it is big enough but hope someone here will tell me the mom will return tomorrow! Wishful thinking?What should I do? Please no criticism, I know it was not the best idea to bring it in, but this was a very bad storm that took some trees in surrounding areas in it's fury. There is another robin nest with four (3 day old) hatchlings in the front yard. Would that mom take on a foster if it just showed up in the nest, or would it recognize the intruder? I know some species will do this, not sure of robins. Any suggestions would be appreciated! Otherwise I will have to call wildlife svs. tomorrow.

Save    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
creeper

CoastalMD, despite the nest being already predated I still believe the best thing you could do is put the chick back in the nest and hope for the best. If mom came back during the nigh or early in the morning and there was no chicks she is for sure gone. As a side note it is against federal law to poses a native bird, even in your case while trying to save its life, unless you are in process of taking it to licensed rehab center. Consequently, you have two choices: put the bird back to the nest and stay away from it so you don�t stress even more its parents that may return or take the chick to a rehab center.
As to your question: "Would she have abandoned this nest after it was raided?: Yes she would and here is why � this is a quote from a government site: "The bird is a creature that normally evades its enemies by flying or running away. When incubating eggs or brooding young, the parent birds are tied to the nest. If a predator of some kind does attack, then it is better that the parent bird should survive and nest again; therefore, the bird generally leaves the nest to the attacker. Under natural conditions the predator that finds the nest will destroy it, and probably search the nest site again at a later time; therefore, it is safer if the bird does not return to the same nesting site."

Don�t take my post as a criticism. Everybody has good intention and what we are doing here is exchanging information.

Save    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
creeper

Starlinka, your post is completely irresponsible. What you are describing in your post, (I have done everything possible with nests - including completely remodeling nests and even moving them a couple of feet from their original place. I kept babies that fell to the ground and almost died from the cold inside house all nigh) is not only against all guidelines provided by expert in this field but also completely illegal. You are breaking federal law and you should not be posting on Internet your very irresponsible comments that it is OK to do so.

Contrary to your statement human activity will definitely bring predators to the nest. Human scent has nothing to do with it and will not bring or scare away any avian predators since birds can�t smell. It is the activity in and around the nests the alerts naturally curious predators. A hawk can see a mouse from thousand feet away because of the superior eye site and its ability to detect even the smallest of movements. If the predator is in the area your movement definitely brings his attention to it and then even the slightest disturbance of twigs, leaves or grass, necessary to see into a nest, may be sufficient to indicate, to a sharp-eyed predator, the location of the nest.

Your statement: "Nothing stopped the parents from coming back and look after their babies. " is also extremely irresponsible. Your knowledge is very limited and its based on a specific area with very limited number of species and here you are implying that it is ok to do what you are doing. There are species of birds, which will absolutely positively not tolerate any disturbance of the nest and will definitely abandon it. For you, with your limited knowledge to go against all expert opinions make this broad statement extremely disturbing.
Everybody needs to make their own decisions based on available information. I for one would not take any thing said here by anyone, including myself, as a bible because we are not experts and our knowledge is extremely limited. However,I will definitely pay attention to the Code of Birding Ethics from the American Birding Association widely adopted by experts in this field which unequivocally states: " Keep well back from nests and nesting colonies, roosts, display areas, and important feeding sites. In such sensitive areas, if there is a need for extended observation, photography, filming or recording, try to use a blind or hide, and take advantage of natural cover."
If for some reason expert�s opinion does not do it for you, there are federal laws protecting our native birds with stiff penalties for each disturbance. I assure you that remodeling, moving of the nest as well as keeping birds in your house is punishable by fines of up to $15,000 each.

1 Like Save    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
deanna in ME Barely zone 6a, more like 5b

Yes, the Migratory Bird Treaty Act makes it illegal, even if the birds have nested in the vents of your house and the feces and accompanying insect infestations prove to be a health hazard to your family, to disturb an active nest unless it is a sparrow, pigeon, or starling. If an abandoned nest with old eggs is found and used in a classroom, that teacher is even in violation of federal law and pays a price larger than many serious federal offenses. Birds that are not even migratory are protected. Once again, trying to research a topic leads me to far-overreaching legislation that is poorly thought through and heavy-handed, but that does not surprise me anymore. Fortunately looking at a nest is not disturbing that, but there is probably already a movement underway to make that illegal, too. (Ironically, isn't that book about kids having "nature deficit disorder" very popular now?)

Creeper, I would like to point out the difference between (1) your posting of the US Army Corps of Engineering site, which agreed completely with starlinka when it stated, "Birds are likely to desert in the early stages of laying and incubation. When the young songbirds are growing feathers but still within a few days of being ready to leave the nest, they may leave prematurely if the nest is touched," and (2) your posting of what is only an ethics statement, with what I posted, which is a research article from a peer-reviewed scientific journal that says your statements about human involvement are incorrect, but rather "concluded there was little or no evi- dence that researcher disturbance increased mammalian predation rates."

We all desire to do learn about nature, protect it, and enjoy it, and information does nothing but make us wiser.

At least I know I can do extensive landscaping around a nesting site without danger, and also with your approval.

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

I did call my local wildlife rehabber who deals with birds. Her suggestion was to keep the bird in a mock nest made in a shoebox with tissues and a warm water bottle for the night (the baby was very cool to the touch) because it was so stormy. I was keeping an eye all along to see if the mother returned during the storm. On her recommendation I set my alarm for 4:30 to return the bird to the nest as most likely the mother would return. Well still no sign of mother and I am afraid to check up on the baby knowing what I will find. At this point nature has run it's course with that guy.

My question now- should I remove the hopefully empty nest so that the mother will not return to lay more eggs there? I would hate for the same thing to happen again, it is in a high traffic area adjacent to our patio very open to the back field where hawks, crows and turkey vultures all hang around. not to mention this is a favorite tree for chipmunks and red squirrels like to hang out. I think they eat the cherries (and baby birds!)

Save    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
starlinka

Creeper, you are welcome to the Bluebirding Forum and their guide site Sialis.org with your lectures about "federal laws that protecting our native birds with stiff penalties for each disturbance" :)
Also, please, ask forum moderators to delete "Emergency Care For Birds and FAQs" :)

"Provide Warmth: If returning the bird to the nest is NOT possible, it is imperative that you provide warmth for the baby bird. Young birds are vulnerable to chill and pneumonia. When you hold the baby bird in your hand, it should feel warmer than your hand. Warmth can be provided with a hot water bottle or heating pad turned on to low. Snuggle the bird in facial tissue directly against the source of warmth, but be sure it is not too hot!!!. If you�ve rescued an injured bird, place it in a well-ventilated box, over a heating pad on low (or hot water bottle) in a dark, quiet place, away from household pets and noise. Sometimes, just allowing a few hours rest and recuperation is all that is required.
Housing: Make an artificial nest from a plastic berry box and use facial tissue for nest material. Do not use cloth, shredded paper, cotton or grass as these may result in injury. The legs of the baby are not strong enough to support it, so rest the baby bird in a semi-upright position so that the edges provide support for the body and head. Do not let the bird sprawl on the bottom of the nest. (If you know the location the bird was found, it is best to place it back in the same area so the parents will find it�they�ve been searching! Contrary to popular belief, parents will not reject the baby because you�ve touched it. You can use string or rope to secure the berry box to the limb of a tree or deep bush (a hidden location). Use only enough rope necessary, do not leave any extra string dangling. Watch the nest constantly for at least two hours from as far away as possible to allow the parents to safely reconnect with the baby. The parents will show up for just a few seconds, feed it and take off until the next feeding. If you do not see this happening, continue to care for the bird until you find help."

Here is a link that might be useful: Emergency Care For Birds and FAQs

Save    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
coastal_modern_love

Actually, the advice on Emergency care here is what I followed. I was not sure if I should return the bird the next day to an empty nest (knowing in my heart the mother was gone and the baby would die). This is why I called the rehabber. So if the baby didn't make it it would fall on the expert's guilt not mine! Yes the baby is still in the empty nest not doing good. I don't want to know, but my daughter who is also a realist and curious keeps checking (through binoculars and the LR window). She tells me not to worry because it is the "circle of life".

Save    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
starlinka

Here is quote from Emergency Care For Birds and FAQs:

"The parents will show up for just a few seconds, feed it and take off until the next feeding. If you do not see this happening, continue to care for the bird until you find help."

Again, don't pay any mind to what Creeper wrote, just feed poor thing!

Here is a link that might be useful: How to make Emergency Baby Bird Food

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

As I said everybody will make their own decisions and it looks like most of you here on this forum, which is very surprising to me, will continue on playing with wild life, despite clear message for the experts and federal law not to do it. It is almost impossible to convince someone not to get close to any nesting area, which should be and it is the rule as well as the law, when he/she actually climes trees to take a pics of nest with chicks in it, remodels nests, moves nests and takes chicks inside their homes for the night.
This is my last post on this subject but I assure you that my message was not designed to be a personal attack on any of you because I know nobody here would cause any harm to wildlife intentionally.

Save    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Lixina

Regarding impact of human disturbance on nest success, we must look at actual research studies, *not* policy statements. Policy statements only reflect the beliefs of the policy makers, which could potentially be outdated or actually wrong.

Here is a set of studies looking at impact of human disturbance on robins and similar birds:
http://tinyurl.com/7bgp3yn
http://elibrary.unm.edu/sora/Wilson/v111n03/p0415-p0420.pdf
http://tinyurl.com/6wey3eg
http://tinyurl.com/87nzm26

The last link is especially significant because it's a meta-analysis (it combines the results of many studies). They found no general effect of human interference on nest predation, but interestingly the impact varied by kind of bird. Charadriiformes (gulls and shorebirds) showed little or no effect, whereas Passeriformes (most small birds, including robins) actually *benefitted* from human interference. They suggested that this effect depends on what proportion of the nest predators are mammals, since wild mammals are often more timid around humans than birds are. As a result, birds whose nests are often preyed on by mammals benefit from human presence, because this scares away their predators.

Save    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Pieridae.60

I agree with Lixina, most of the city birds not scared of human around them. Like the robin couple had their nest on my plum tree infront of my house. I walked by everyday say hello to them. I can recognize the male and the female. But unfortunately, when the baby was 14 days old on this May 23 morning it was disappeared. I checked around the tree and bushes couldn't see a sign of the baby. Terrible thing must happen last night. I saw Mrs. robin standing on the front lawn of my neighbour. I asked her where is the baby but she flew to the top of the garage light and push her head to the wall. I felt very sorry for her.
I have a question if anyone can help me. There is still one egg in the nest but the parents seem not attending the nest anymore. This morning I went up with a ladder and found the egg is tidyly surrounded with grass and the center is covered with a leaf. Is this the way that the birds burried its egg? Can I take the nest down? Because I want to burry the egg and the nest. For the last 30 days I watch them everyday, I do love them.

Save    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

It may be a cowbird egg, not a robin egg. Cowbirds lay eggs in other birds' nests and count on the other birds to raise them. Some birds recognize the strange egg and cover it and either abandon the nest or build another nest over it.

Claire

Save    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
natureluvver

This is quite an old thread but I have to say - "creeper" is an appropriate name for creeper. The condescending, insulting manner with which you speak is the exact opposite way to speak about something if you really want someone to listen. you come across as a big jerk.

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

Every year I end up with a nest in my wreath on my front door. Usually house finches. Sometimes they live long enough to fly, sometimes I end up with a cowbird egg in there and then the finches end up dying and the cowbird usually lives. As per usual, I have a nest again. 5 eggs, 5 freshly hatched little birdies. I took a photo of the new babies this morning, and this afternoon the nest is empty. I just can't figure out what happened to them on my door...it just makes me sad. Would another bird take them?

Save    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
sbullerdick

I'm heartbroken my babie Red finch also disappeared over night. 6 of them all gone


1 Like Save    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Mimi Y

This happened to me today! We live in an apartment and the nest is in our balcony box. There are no predators (we live in Italy) that I know of, maybe other birds? They disappeared in an afternoon with no signs of struggle. This is the second brood of blackbirds we've had this season. The first family grew up and flew away the second only lasted a day. So sad, I'm sorry for your loss! The first pic is of the ones we lost, the second is of the happy ones that survived



Save    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
ctlady_gw

We have phoebes nesting over our front door (very protected site in terms of predators like snakes or raccoons -- would be impossible) and four eggs hatched over the last several days. The first two newborn chicks disappeared mid-morning and she sat on the remaining two eggs another day. They hatched yesterday and today, and this afternoon, they, too, are gone. Just vanished into thin air. No blood or sign of damage to the nest, no one on the ground beneath it. I can hear the phoebes out there now, calling to each other. I'm heartbroken -- what bird or animal could get to a nest tucked under the porch overhang, sitting on top of the door frame, to neatly and without mess or trace, remove these newborn chicks?? I'm stumped. These chick thefts have happened in broad daylight.

Save    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
hilaryslater

We set up a motion detector camera in our porch roof when we saw our robins had returned this spring., We got great photos and didn't disturb the nest at all!.. There was no light or noise to the birds, so it was totally unintrusive!..

Now the birds have fledged their first 3 and are starting the new nest for the next batch.. Suddenly last night a motion detected at 3am.. and the camera was too dark to see what it was.. something raided the nest last night.. I've tried lightening the video to check the creature.. it might be a bat? it looks wet, with a long claw.. It was there for over 30 seconds since our video is a 10 second timing and there were 3 videos..

It looks like a creature out of jurassic park with the bad lighting!.. Wish I could see what the nocturnal creature was that raided !.. Fortunately there were no eggs or babies yet :))

Save    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
hilaryslater

Our robins that I photographed with a motion detector camera in our porch.. Two days before fledging

Save    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Mac Attack

We have several bird houses perched on the Pergola and hanging in our trees. The past two springs, we have been finding dead House Finch baby birds in the yard. There is no trauma signs and they don't even have any feathers yet. Any ideas why this is happening?

Save    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Catlett Dog Inn

I had a nest of wrens in one of the plants on my porch. My little dog just found and ate them and destroyed the nest - they were just about to fledge, and this is the 2nd year at least the wren has nested in that plant spot. I feel horrible, but I want to do the best I can for the mother - she wasn't in the nest. Should I try to put the nest back together and leave it on the plant, or should I remove all the nest material so she finds nothing?

Save    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
reneeroszel

Today, when my fledglings had not seemingly flown (thought I'd missed the big event since at noon the were still in the nest) I opened the birdhouse to find 2 dead babies. The same thing happened to the last nesting. They were active and bobbing their heads out, then suddenly dead. I must assume a disease or something because there didn't seem to be a sign of predators. We have two baffles on the pole. But it is heartbreaking, and I am not sure I want to keep the birdhouse ready if the pair of parents decide to try again. They have lost two nestings. Not sure about the first one, since it was very rainy and cleaning it out were two 'lumps' of unformed babies, but since there had been at least one they were feeding, it apparently was a successful flight. I did ask one neighbor about pesticides, but not herbicides. If we spray weeds in the spring, would it still be able to kill babies in June July and Aug? I don't want to put the parents through another brood only to have them die. We had successful ones last year. It is a birdhouse made for bluebirds, but some form of plastic construction. Not wood. And the nests have been very 'muddy' like. I'm a total novice, and just wanted to help increase the bluebird population with a birdhouse. But to watch the parents work so hard and to see the babies pop their little heads out, only to have tragedy strike, might be to. much for me to be able to go on with this. The birdhouse is cleaned out and open to dry. I almost fear closing it since within an hour last time, the parents were back to building a nest. I don't know what to do.

Save    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
deanna in ME Barely zone 6a, more like 5b

it is quite confusing when there is no sign of a predator. We had three eggs in a nest, didn't get a good glimpse at the parents, but based on internet searching of the nest design and egg color/size matches it was the same as or similar to a red-eye vireo. The nest was on a low-hanging branch less than a foot above my head over a narrow driveway where four employees' cars drive every day. Not sure why they chose that branch. Really a beautiful nest! All three eggs were gone, no sign of being broken or anything. No egg shells, no yolk mess, no nothing. Not sure what happened. Very sad!

Save    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
randifeilich

I have a beautiful mourning dove nest next to my dining room window. The mama bird has been sitting on this nest except will fly away ( and immediately return) when the gardener mows the lawn. The nest had 2 newborns. Yesterday afternoon, a cooper hawk came by and chased the mama bird away in an attempt to eat the newborns. I banged on the window and scared it away and the mama came back to sit atop her babies. I left for 5 minutes and noticed the mama bird was gone. I took a look into the nest and the babies were gone. The hawk had returned. The mama bird came back looking for her babies and crying. Heartache!


Save     Thanked by deanna in ME Barely zone 6a, more like 5b
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
deanna in ME Barely zone 6a, more like 5b

Oh, I'm so sorry for you and her! Nature is truly tough. So very hard to see if play out. She truly is a mourning dove now.

Save    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Elizabeth Haver

So sad. We had a nest with 4 baby cardinals. I was so excited to watch them grow I saw them 2 days ago. Eyes were still closed and now they are gone it is so sad. I had no idea that the squirrels would eat them. I bet that is what happened. We have a robins nest with eggs about 6 feet away in a rhododendron tree. The mom built the nest way out on the end of the branches in plain view, we have had many robin nests in that tree over the years and most of the time the babies make it to the fledgling stage and leave the nest. I am worried about the location that this one chose though. I think it is probably the same family that comes back each year. I love it because we can see them through the window without disturbing them :) Nature's precious gift to us <3 Praying the baby Robins will be safe and sound.

1 Like Save     Thanked by deanna in ME Barely zone 6a, more like 5b
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
2dogs2horses

For people saying not to approach the nest, what are you supposed to do when the birds make nests in hanging plants? I mean, if the plant isn't watered, it will die, and then any protection provided by the plant is gone.... I had a pair of house finches successfully raise two sets of babies in one plant. Then a pair made a nest in a different plant. Five eggs hatched. One day there were just four babies. A couple days later there were only two, and one had an injury on the back of its head. :( The next day that one was deceased but the one remaining one was alive (with its eyes open). The next day, that one was gone and just the body of the other one was there. :( The nest never looked disturbed at all. I don't know why I had two sets of babies survive and fly away from the nest in one plant, but the I had no survivors from the other plant. The only thing I can think of is that the unsuccessful nest was in a plant hanging on the front corner of my house which has a crepe myrtle over it. The successful nest is at the front of the house next to the steps to the front door. Maybe something was the using the crepe myrtle to get to the unsuccessful nest....? (I pulled the "nest of death" as I called it out of the plant and buried it with the body of the dead baby in it. I hope the parents don't try to build a new nest there.)


Save     Thanked by deanna in ME Barely zone 6a, more like 5b
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
deanna in ME Barely zone 6a, more like 5b

Remember, those people who said not to approach the nest didn't have evidence on their side. Creeper's unhelpful and...so many adjectives I could use here but I won't...comments should be disregarded. All she could state were "ethics" statements from organizations, while the experience of others on the forum as well as scientific studies in peer-reviewed journals showed no correlation between human involvement and chick survival. If her posts had not been full of scorn and judgement it is possible she could have taught us something, but it is clear her goal was not to be helpful, but antagonistic. If a bird builds a nest in a hanging plant, your options are limited. One person did say in a different post that it is Mother Nature's way of weeding out the gene pool of birds who don't understand enough to make a nest in a safer spot. That explanation makes sense, even though it does make things hard.

Save    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
2dogs2horses

Thanks, deannatoby. I just wish I knew why the first two nests in one hanging plant were fine (4 out of 4 eggs hatched and babies flew away from the first brood, and second brood, 4 out of 5 eggs hatched, and they all lived and flew away). But this nest a mere 15-20 feet away didn't have any survivors. :(


1 Like Save     Thanked by deanna in ME Barely zone 6a, more like 5b
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
deanna in ME Barely zone 6a, more like 5b

Who knows. I'm absolutely NO expert, and not even a novice, but I imagine there are so many factors. I would imagine even a neighbor getting a new dog would affect bird behavior at a house. More predators? Die off of other food sources? I know in 2004 there was big die off in New England of skunks due to distemper, so all predators that ate skunks had to find other food. Nature is hard to predict. I hope you get blessed by another nest and babies that fledge!

Save    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Elizabeth Haver

Our robins nest fell out of the tree about 10 days after I posted this and the three eggs broke It was such a sad morning when I saw this and the sane day I found 2 tiny dead burds on my driveway I looked up in the bush abd saw a tiny nest on the edge the bush, not sure what is wrong with our birds here??? Broke my heart. I love all animals. A third baby was dead on the leaves of the bush but did not look injured it was so strange. I pulled the nest and buried the babies. Now I see a robin is working on a nest in our lilac bush. I hope and pray these sweet babies make it.


2 Likes Save     Thanked by deanna in ME Barely zone 6a, more like 5b
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
2dogs2horses

Nearly 4 weeks ago I got a couple feral cats to be barn cats, and I released them from confinement last Tuesday. I would be heartbroken if they did it, but if they did, I would think the plant or nest would have been disturbed. (The one that had the head injury looked like it had been pecked, so I am thinking blue jays or crows. Or (hopefully not) their own parents. :( Well that nest and the one who died in the nest are buried under some flowers, and I hope if there are any more, they all survive. Sweet little baby birds.

Save     Thanked by deanna in ME Barely zone 6a, more like 5b
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Amber Harmon


This forum is old, but since there are some recent comments I thought I would contribute. Our bird situation is a unique one! My husband and I bought an abandoned house on 36 acres, and found a bird nest in the microwave (the door of the microwave is gone) anyways, I figured mama bird would notice all of the action inside the house and abandon the nest. I still didn’t want to disturb the nest though and then one day we found 5 baby birds in the nest! We did not touch the nest but did take pics. One day we went to check on them and the nest was completely empty. No sign or trace of the babies. I don’t really suspect a predator inside our house (but who knows). We are at the house about everyday in our spare time working on what we can...I think that there is someway these mamas move their babies...I researched it and could not find anything conclusive, but that’s the most logical conclusion I can determine. Especially after reading some other comments on here of baby birds vanishing without a trace.

3 Likes Save    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Elizabeth Haver

That is a very interesting theory and I hope that is what happened. They are just so vulnerable and I have been reading a lot, mice, rats, sqirrels snakes and other birds all prey on these sweet defenseless babies.

1 Like Save    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
deanna in ME Barely zone 6a, more like 5b

That's wonderfully encouraging! Thank you!

1 Like Save    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
deanna in ME Barely zone 6a, more like 5b

Here's an article from Scientific American that helps clarify these issues we've been talking about, including the if and when human disturbance can do harm, as well as birds relocating.

2 Likes Save    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Amber Harmon

Thank you Deannatoby! I found this paragraph in that article and I do believe that this mama bird moved her babies after we were disturbing her and the babies so much! (Though we never touched the nest or babies)

“In other words, birds, like economists, make cost-benefit decisions. If a bird has invested a lot of time and energy in hatching and rearing its young, that bird is more likely to, if possible, relocate its offspring to a new nesting site, rather than abandon them altogether when a potential predator has discovered the babies.”

Save    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Cindy Chapman

I love this thread is active again. I need help! Birds built a nest on my 2nd story deck. The nest is on top of a 6x6 corner post just under the edge of the deck roof. This is not a big area.

6 days ago, the nest and 3 babies fell/were blown from their place. They were def. no more than 2 days old. The nest and one of the babies landed on the deck (a 10 foot drop), one landed on the deck railing (6 foot drop) and a third fell all the way to the grass. Thankfully, they were all 3 still moving and looked OK so I gently scooped them up and put them back in the nest and put the nest back up on the post. The parents were back within the hour and I was quite thrilled.

The next morning I was sad to find one of the babies down in the grass again and not alive. Fast forward to this morning (Saturday) we woke up to 60mph winds that knocked the nest down again. I found one of the babies on my deck (he has been maturing well). And found the nest 50 feet away with the other sibling who sadly, was dead. We put the live baby and nest back up in the original spot again. Within 20 minutes, the parents were back at the nest. I was elated!

Update: Sunday - a parent has been feeding the baby all day.

Note: No wind blowing for now - but I am sure it will get windy in a day or two.

So my question is:

How can we make sure the nest doesn't blow down again? I can't take any more bird tragedy.

1 Like Save    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Leslie Connor

Glad I found this thread too. I I also have the issue with disappearing Cardinal babies. We had three beautiful babies hatch and were only three days old when “poof” gone one morning with no disturbance of nest, no fuzz or feathers left behind and totally undisturbed pyracanthas still up against the garage door wall. Im Praying the momma moved them also as there is a lot of traffic near our front porch..So much that our Ring battery has to be recharged every two to three weeks. I’ve googled trying to find any information on Cardinal babies disappearing but can’t find anything.

2 Likes Save    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Yuliya K

I found this thread this morning, and although some comments are old, I see some new ones and thought I would share and ask opinions.

A pair of House Finches built a nest next to our front patio in the bushes. We use patio all the time, always sit there, so apparently this did not bother little mom and dad. I didn't even know we had a nest until we started trimming those bushes down and we heard her chirping. So we left that alone. Saturday (2 days ago) we had a horrible storm, with very strong winds that were bending those bushes and all our new trees to the ground. I decided to check on the nest right after the storm and found the nest blown off, mama bird sitting on the branch and 2 baby birds blown out of the nest, but alive. One fell on his back onto the ground (about a 5 feet drop) and another one got stuck in the branches, belly up as well. I am no expert but I read once that you can try to make a nest out of a box and put it back for mama bird to take care of her young. So, I got a Styrofoam faucet cover, put some old towel on the bottom and put the original nest on top of it. I was wearing gloves (although I have read so many times that human scent won't scare mama bird, I didn't want to hurt the babies even more), gently picked the babies up. They were still too young, with eyes closed, not even making sounds, just opening little beaks up. Now, mind this - it was raining for over an hour, just a downpour, spring in Texas can bring very violent storms! Anyways, I put the make-belief nest back into the bush, making sure it is wedged very well in there. I watched it from inside of the house and mama bird was back to take care of them right away! I was thrilled! I did check on the babies later on (feeling this weird responsibility for them). I made a quick video on my phone once mama bird left (the nest is high up enough in the bush that I could not see in) and saw they are both dry and breathing. I kept checking from the window (very discrete) and mama bird kept coming back, feeding them. I checked with the phone again in the morning, babies were good. I saw from inside the house mama bird coming back several times. Sunday night I wanted to give final check and leave baby birds alone. And what I saw made me (a grown woman) cry and lose sleep. One baby was missing completely, the other one laying there without a head. I know, I got too involved in this course of nature. Reading these posts, I am not sure still what happened. Mama bird kept jumping on the branches even on Monday morning, but the baby is gone. My husband said, I should not have interfered, that is Mother Nature. I could not have left them hanging there to die, when I saw them fallen out. But can't stop blaming myself - did I cause the nest to be raided?
No way for me to know, we do not have owls here, nor have I seen hawks. In fact, I was in the backyard resting when this happened, and I did not see any unusual birds out. I have a ring doorbell and can not see any animals on it. Squirrel or bird?
I am sorry for this rant, but if anyone knows what could just snatch the babies like that up and bite one head off clean, I would appreciate the knowledge share. And do mam birds really move the babies? If so, why wouldn't she move them when they fell out, but only sat there looking at them?

So sad!

1 Like Save     Thanked by deanna in ME Barely zone 6a, more like 5b
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
deanna in ME Barely zone 6a, more like 5b

I wouldn't think you did anything wrong. I have talked to very experienced birders who have tried next rehabilitation themselves with success. What you did was help. What happened afterwards was mother nature, and I don't think related to your actions. Generally we are truly insulated from all of this activity and have no idea how often birds die in the nest. We had chickens a few years ago and came home to find a hen dragged into the woods with only one single "hole" in her throat. It was completely weird and confusing. What predator would take a chicken, kill it, but them leave practically the entire carcass? Things are not always straightforward. I would imagine you have predators with some climbing skills that could have gotten to the nest.


One of my posts above is now "hidden" unless you click on a link to expand the threads. Here is the original post:


"Here's another from an intro to a research article (see below)

"Predation has exerted a strong influence on the evolution of habitat selection and life his- tory traits for many avian species (Martin 1993b). Research on a broad array of ecolog- ical topics requires estimates of avian fecun- dity. Because nest predation is the major cause of nest failure in passerines (Ricklefs 1969; Martin 1992, 1993a, b), researchers have fre- quently expressed concerns that monitoring might artificially increase predation rates (Mayfield 1975, Major 1990, Gotmark 1992).
Predators might be attracted to nests by vi- sual cues, such as the presence of researchers, trampling of vegetation, increased activity of parent birds, and by olfactory cues. Mamma- lian predators are thought to follow tracks in the vegetation and to respond to human scent along the trails or at the nests (Creighton 1971, Wilson 1976, No1 and Brooks 1982, Gotmark 1992, Whelan et al. 1994). In a re- view paper on investigator bias, Gotmark (1992) concluded there was little or no evi- dence that researcher disturbance increased mammalian predation rates. "

I really am trying to do this right. Any accurate info you have would help.

Here is a link that might be useful: article"


Note that the article in the link was a peer reviewed journal in a scientific publication (if the link still works), whereas all the "leave it alone" people could post were codes of conduct type websites, etc.


I hope you continue to help in the future! WE don't want to disturb natural nests, but I think the mother was glad you helped the babies.

1 Like Save    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Yuliya K

Thank you for your kind words, deanna Maine 5b6a! I am that person, I will continue to help. I did learn a lesson to not get to invested in this, as if they were my kids. You are so right, we really do not see how tough life is for wild animals. I grew up in a city and was never an observant person. So now that I am in my 40-s I am learning all these things as I moved to a suburb/country area. I would never touch them unless I absolutely had to.

Last year mockingbirds had babies near our back porch, now I understand why they are so aggressive! So much danger out there! Just because I don't have cats/dogs, doesn't mean they are safe. One of the babies got caught in plastic mesh we put around the tomatoes, and mama bird went crazy, she was flying up to us, screaming chirping! Did that for about 15 minutes until I realized her baby is in trouble. I went to that part of our garden, and freed the baby bird. He was fine, mad at me for putting that mesh up though :)

This thread has been so helpful. So many people have many good advise and I now know I am not the only one that gets invested in these little creatures.

I agree Creeper was a bit aggressive, but they (he/she) probably just didn't want people to treat wild animals as if they are in a petting Zoo. Good intentions but going about it the wrong way.

Thank you again for starting this thread and educating people! I love nature, but Nature knows best.

1 Like Save    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Eva Robinson

A bird made a nest on my windowsill. The eggs hatched 3 days ago. Now they are all gone. I'm feeling sad. Also wondering if something bad happened to them. Do birds relocate their babies to another nest?

1 Like Save     Thanked by deanna in ME Barely zone 6a, more like 5b
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
mike

I had 2 baby robins hatch last Tuesday. On Monday the parents moved the baby’s about 20 yards to another tree in my backyard. I thought my cat r another predator had gotten them becomes they where gone from the original nest. I was SO UPSET. My small dog went under the tree a lot and so did my cat. I was also putting food on the fence for the parents. There’s was a lot of things disturbing the area. I thought for sure something got them but the parents kept forging for food in my back yard and sure enough I heard the baby’s crying for food the next day. Today when the cat went out and got under the tree they moved them too they started dive combing him. I finally spotted them in a old nest in the other tree. It’s a lot higher than the other one was ( about 7 feet off the ground). Anyway all the post I read said they would never move them and if they where gone a predator must have got them. NOT TRUE. THEY GOT MOVED TO ANOTHER TREE CLOSE BY. I hope they make it from there.

1 Like Save     Thanked by deanna in ME Barely zone 6a, more like 5b
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
mike

2 Likes Save     Thanked by deanna in ME Barely zone 6a, more like 5b
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
mike

Pics of the babies when I first discovered them. Now they’ve been moved to another nest about 20 yards away. CARDINALS WILL MOVE THERE BABIES. I’m praying they make it from there new nest.

1 Like Save     Thanked by deanna in ME Barely zone 6a, more like 5b
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Yuliya K

Thank you for sharing this comment, HU-719464966! I am glad to know that. Not sure how they would do it, but I guess nature is resilient, and a tiny bird can carry her baby to save it. That is awesome! I wonder if one of my baby birds got saved after the nest got raided and another got decapitated.

1 Like Save     Thanked by deanna in ME Barely zone 6a, more like 5b
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
mike

I sure hope 1 of yours got saved. I was so happy ( and in shock ) that the babies got moved after reading all the comments that Cardinals don't/cant move there babies. I just wanted people to know that in fact Cardinal can and will move there babies. I leave broken PECANS under the bushes where they forge for food and they Love them, The babies must be enjoying them too, anyway they should be leaving the Nest early next week. Im praying that thy make. I will keep u posted on there success if u want me too ?

1 Like Save     Thanked by deanna in ME Barely zone 6a, more like 5b
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Yuliya K

That'd be great! I'd appreciate that very much! I'm just glad to know that I'm not the only one that watches these little creatures and worries about them :)

1 Like Save     Thanked by deanna in ME Barely zone 6a, more like 5b
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
deanna in ME Barely zone 6a, more like 5b

What an encouraging story, mike! So glad to hear they are high and safe. It seems quite a bit of modern research is uncovering a new point: "dumb" creatures are smarter than we think they are! The photo is very sweet. Keep us updated!

Eva, I'm sorry I didn't respond earlier. Did you find your birds anywhere? Looks like you had a beautiful view for a while.

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

Just a little update on the baby Robins. So far they seem to be doing great, a lot of chirping going on, theyve been in the same tree for a few days now ( its rite next to the one they got moved to ) seems like they should be learning to fly by now to me ? i guess theyll stay up there till the parents decide to let em test there wings. At least theyre safe and they have plenty to eat, plus i keep leaving pecans out for the parents, not sure if the parents are feeding them pecans yet. I know for sure my cat will be happy when they finally fly away so he can have his back yard back.

1 Like Save    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Yuliya K

Well they will be on a ground for a while after they hop out of the nest. So watch your cat :) thank you for an update!

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

Theyve benn in the same tree ( a huge ligustrum ) for about 3 days now, im guessing there about 16- 17 days old, anyway do you know how long theyll stay in the same tree like that ? Both the parents are still protecting them, one of them is always in the tree with the babies.

Save    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Tia Ransom


After they leave the next, they follow their parents to a new nest. The parents teach them how to find food, but their father will still continue to feed them until they're almost his size. They still look pretty tiny and young when they leave their 1st nest. Ours have moved into the bushes on the edge of our yard. I see the parents, mostly the dad flying back and forth in the yard throughout the day.

Save    
Browse Gardening and Landscaping Stories on Houzz See all Stories
Edible Gardens Houzz Call: What Did You Grow This Summer?
Let’s celebrate the homegrown fruits and vegetables of the season. Post your pictures and tell us about your harvest
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
Gardening for Butterflies A Quick-Start Guide to Bird-Watching for Fun and Learning
Set out some seed and grab your field guide. Bird-watching is an easy, entertaining and educational activity for the whole family
Full Story