My Blue Birds are History now too

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Matt@atx
Posts: 728
Joined: Tue Apr 08, 2008 7:13 am
Location: Buda, TX, south of Austin

With the arrival of the wonderful sub adults, my 1.5 month battle for some of the unoccupied gourds with Sparrows ended over last weekend because the feisty sub adults kicked their a55es and sent them packing so the Sparrows turned their attention to The BB houses.

We have 3 up but only 1 occupied with a BB pair and 4 1.5 week old babies.( I posted a pic when they hatched on Doug's BB thread) Last I physically checked the BB house was this Monday,04/08 and they were fine with both parents bringing food at intervals.
Filled their feeder with mealworms and so forth trying to get them to see and eat them.
I came back last night and checked on them to find the babies gone and female dead in the nest. The male cannot be found.
From examining the body and face/head wound condition. I think the attack took place on Tuesday(04/09) sometime in the am. She has been dead for a little over 2 days atleast and bugs were on her.
I will assume the babies were killed and thrown from the house.( Just under 3 days is plenty of time for fire ants or other feeders to make short work and leave no body traces. )
Whether the mother was attacked before or after is speculation but it looks like she took fatal punctures and lacerations to the right side lower head behind the right eye and below toward the beak. tissue(skin) may have been ripped back toward the neck. The position of the body and head in the nest when discovered indicates (to me) that death was not immediate.

Also, when I first arrived and walked out to check the box which was almost direct front of me, a sparrow/BB/ tit mouse size bird flew from my right to left and almost beamed my forehead and flew into a leafy oak behind me. I tried to ID it but could not. I thought this was weird.
No sparrow on this property will come within 50 yards from me ever. The only birds that ever flew through my vision level close by were BBs.

I wonder if this was the male?
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Last edited by Matt@atx on Fri Apr 12, 2013 4:28 pm, edited 1 time in total.
2008~(1st yr) 4 pairs, 11 to 12 fledged
2009~(2nd yr) 9 pairs, 41 fledged
2010~(3rd year) 11 pairs. 50 fledged
2011~(4th year) 20 pairs, 23 out of 23 gourds Martin occupied, 3 fledged, the rest died in the drought. (1 new Blue Bird, 3 BB fledged.)
2012~ 26 pairs, approx. 100-110 fledged
trisha
Posts: 428
Joined: Fri May 27, 2005 1:12 pm
Location: Texas/Burleson, south of Fort Worth

How sad..... poor bluebirds.... I HATE SPARROWS! and people who think they are cute little birds should be shown things like this.

Have you ever used a sparrow spooker after the BB's lay their eggs? It sure guarded my one and only time BB's laid and successfully fledged babies in my yard.

sorry for your loss.
Trisha


PMCA member
2019, 36 pair
Don & Danielle
Posts: 111
Joined: Fri Nov 14, 2003 6:55 pm
Location: Dardenne Prairie, MO (suburb of St. Louis)

HOSP seem to be extra nasty on Bluebirds. I had a similar incident in my BB box a few years ago.

I've installed a 'sparrow spooker' the past few years, after the BBs start laying eggs. I haven't lost any BBs to sparrows since then. Not to say it's guaranteed to work, but it's worked for me.

Check the sialis website for sparrow spooker details. They're pretty easy to make and install.

Sorry this happened. I hate to see BBs get killed by sparrows. Another reason I wish I could just shoot them. But the spooker does its job even while I'm at work, so maybe it's better.
Robbo
Posts: 623
Joined: Tue Jun 09, 2009 2:53 pm
Location: Leduc, Alberta, Canada.

I dismissed 4 today!
2009. 98 eggs, 66 hatch, 61 fledged.
2010. 114 eggs, 89 hatch,70 fledged.
2011. 96 eggs. 80 hatch,68 fledged.Heavy Merlin preditation.
2012. 89 eggs. 56 hatch, good fledge. Guards installed. Merlin not sighted at houses.
2013. First Egg May 24, first Baby June 13.
2014. successful.
2015. successful.
2016. Martin's population decline, suspect new housing in the neighborhood. Merlin eating well also!
2017.Population explosion :grin: . first egg May 25 in a BO-11
2018. Population stable.
MamaBruff
Posts: 1466
Joined: Wed Mar 06, 2013 12:21 pm
Location: SW Missouri
Martin Colony History: 2013-2016 Unsuccessful at starting a PM colony. Health problems.
Rehomed all my PM stuff. Good Luck and Best Wishes to All.

I have observed this "hostile HOSP takeover" behavior this spring as well! It seems that no matter how many OTHER open nest spots there are, the HOSPs want to take over the ones that are occupied! Dirty Rats!. Yes I have a personal vendetta against them! Especially now while the BBs and Chickadees have eggs and I am waiting for Martins! Today has been a fruitful day with 3 ES and 2 HOSP terminated. I am ordering my sparrow spookers today!
~Mary B~

Lifelong PM Admirer and Nature Enthusiast.
Ruthless trapper of S&S year round.
2013-2016 Unsuccessful at starting a PM colony. Health problems.
Rehomed all my PM stuff. Good Luck and Best Wishes to All.
Matt@atx
Posts: 728
Joined: Tue Apr 08, 2008 7:13 am
Location: Buda, TX, south of Austin

Here is the worst part of the story.... I took this photo last night of the object that was lying on a table on the patio so I could take my rightful place in this unnecessary tragedy.
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Useless with a Dummy
Useless with a Dummy
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2008~(1st yr) 4 pairs, 11 to 12 fledged
2009~(2nd yr) 9 pairs, 41 fledged
2010~(3rd year) 11 pairs. 50 fledged
2011~(4th year) 20 pairs, 23 out of 23 gourds Martin occupied, 3 fledged, the rest died in the drought. (1 new Blue Bird, 3 BB fledged.)
2012~ 26 pairs, approx. 100-110 fledged
Matt@atx
Posts: 728
Joined: Tue Apr 08, 2008 7:13 am
Location: Buda, TX, south of Austin

Thanks you guys.
I did not just buy a spooker, but a very good one 2 years ago for the 1st pair we got in 2011. I put it up and my mom took it down when I would leave the site ( I live in Austin) because she wanted to watch them on the box since this BB box is next to the porch and can be seen through the dining room window. I was angered by that but nothing happened that year and 3 fledged without incident.

The occupied box location this year was different and closer to the Martin Colony. I watched this box and the Sparrows had no interest. This was not the same BB pair as 2011 and these guys were more skiddish of us so since most birds did not like the spooker, I thought while knowing that BB paternal instincts override the spooker presence

"..........hmmmmmm.... Do I need to present extra stress to this already skiddish pair of new BB's when things look pretty cool right now?.... Let me wait a little while "

So last night she laid dead beside my spooker on the patio table while I dug a grave for her cussing under my breath in my mom's flower bed instead of under it protected with her babies sleeping. MyASSumption was wrong and in fact was not subject to preferences at all but a necessity for life for this guys.
I should have known better
when bad decisions are made, something not named Matt brutally dies for it and it is worthy of scorn. This is a huge mistake I will never make again.
2008~(1st yr) 4 pairs, 11 to 12 fledged
2009~(2nd yr) 9 pairs, 41 fledged
2010~(3rd year) 11 pairs. 50 fledged
2011~(4th year) 20 pairs, 23 out of 23 gourds Martin occupied, 3 fledged, the rest died in the drought. (1 new Blue Bird, 3 BB fledged.)
2012~ 26 pairs, approx. 100-110 fledged
trisha
Posts: 428
Joined: Fri May 27, 2005 1:12 pm
Location: Texas/Burleson, south of Fort Worth

Matt, take it easy on yourself. We all learn....and do better next time. It's ok.
Trisha


PMCA member
2019, 36 pair
Leandortree
Posts: 130
Joined: Tue Jan 11, 2011 4:10 pm
Location: Saskatchewan/Grenfell

Matt,
I agree with Trisha, go easy on yourself. I feel very, very, sad for your loss! You will have better days ahead.
We see very few Blue Birds here is Saskatchewan; Thanks to the English House Sparrow
Good luck with all you birds this year.
Saskatchewan "The land of living skies"
Leandortree colony
2012-46 pair 200+ Fledged
TS Wilson
Posts: 6
Joined: Fri Jun 08, 2012 1:52 pm
Location: LA / Natchitoches

A few weeks ago I saw a sparrow follow my male BB into his box. The female was going nuts and I knew what was happening. I ran out to box and placed a plastic bag over the hole and yes, both birds flew in. I carefully let the BB escape. You know the rest of the story. One .22 round saved!

The sparrow doesn't always win.
Terry
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