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Click to go to Audubon Society of Omaha Home Page Audubon Society of OmahaEastern Bluebird

Welcome to The Bluebird Box since 1995
Best of Bluebird Mailing Lists Classified

Is this Strange Bluebird Behavior? Or what? (Part 1)


Date: Sat, 12 Feb 2000 12:14:03 -0500
From: "asumner" asumner"at"gateway.net
To: BLUEBIRD-L"at"cornell.edu
Subject: Question-Why do the EABL hover/look into windows of house?

To All/Anyone who can answer,

This is really puzzling. About a month ago, some EABL appeared in the neighborhood, as they did last year(only earlier this year, or I just noticed them earlier). They came to my upper deck railing and stared at me, as I went out onto the deck.

One of my neighbors next door(am in a building of 4 townhouses that are all 3 stories high) said that, at the same time period I first saw the EABL, he noticed, only later in AM when temperature warmed up, that the bluebirds came to his 2nd story windows(bay type in kitchen) and stared in his house and pecked on the windows.

A couple weeks later, I went into the yard to talk with my neighbor.  We both saw the bluebirds flying up to 2nd story windows at 3 different homes/in 2 different buildings(all close). They either hovered or perched at the windows. They went from one house to another. This neighbor does not feed the birds, nor does he have any feeders, but he's right next door to me. Another neighbor, 2 doors down from me in same building, does feed the birds, but not the bluebirds; She has 2 bluebird boxes near her house. I have 3 bluebird boxes (1 in my yard and 2 down a hill/"at" edge of woods,but not next to each other).

Why do the EABL exhibit this behavior? Has anyone seen this before?  I haven't noticed anyone mentioning it, but I've only been on this list for 4-6 weeks(?)?

I'd appreciate some comments/answers to question if anyone has them.

Thanks, Arlene Sumner; Duluth, Georgia.

asumner"at"gateway.net20


Date: Sat, 12 Feb 2000 11:51:39 -0500
From: Dixie Dickinson yankeedixie"at"earthlink.net
To: asumner asumner"at"gateway.net
Cc: BLUEBIRD-L"at"cornell.edu
Subject: Re: Question-Why do the EABL hover/look into windows of house?

Many birds exhibit this behavior and it can be dangerous for them. I have had cardinals and a titmouse that was so persistent that I had to put Dutch Cleanser on the windows to stop them from doing it. The male sees a reflection of himself and thinks it is another male. He tries to drive the other male away and of course it doesn't work. Some birds have actually starved or injured themselves. I have also had them do this to the mirrors on my car as well as on the chrome. You can also put your screens in to eliminate the reflection. Dixie SE MA

...


--
Dixie Dickinson
A New England Yankee
Have Reverence For Life


Date: Sat, 12 Feb 2000 12:47:06 -0500
From: Bill Forrester wforres1"at"twcny.rr.com
To: asumner asumner"at"gateway.net
Cc: bluebird-l bluebird-l"at"cornell.edu
Subject: Re: Question-Why do the EABL hover/look into windows of house?

Hi Arlene and all - I have never seen bluebirds at windows so can only hazard a guess. Perhaps they were finding bugs, moths, or spiders to eat on the window frames and ledges?? I have seen catbirds and orioles do that. Last summer one of the catbirds came every day to my picture window to pick off the many spiders which are attracted to that window by my plant lights.

Dot (upstate NY in the snowbelt)


Date: Sat, 12 Feb 2000 14:14:39 -0500
From: "asumner" asumner"at"gateway.net
To: BLUEBIRD-L"at"cornell.edu
Subject: Bluebirds hovering/looking into windows

From: Arlene Sumner; Duluth, Georgia (about 20 miles from Atlanta).

To: Dixie Dickinson-re. response to my question

Thanks for your response to my question; Guess you're right, as last year I had a Cardinal running into my sliding glass door that opens onto my upper deck. I put lots of suncatchers on it/on the bay window in kitchen. Then I got a false "spider web" from Wild Birds Unlimited and put it on the sliding glass door. Haven't had a bird run into the window since.

Guess I'll have to tell all my neighbors to do something to their windows! Don't know if they will, however.


Date: Sat, 12 Feb 2000 15:22:33 -0500 (EST)
From: hubertrap"at"webtv.net (Joe Huber)
To: asumner"at"gateway.net (asumner), BLUEBIRD-L"at"cornell.edu
Subject: Re: Question-Why do the EABL hover/look into windows of house?

Hi Arlene, Many birds behave like the one you described. They are protecting the area from other birds of the same species. Many times Bluebirds will fly up to a window and make contact. The reflection looks like a competetor. Generally they will do this more at one particular window or car or truck mirror. They get over it when serious nesting starts. This could go on for 2 to 3 weeks in some cases. It may help to put something in that window to reduce reflection, but the

Bluebird may just move to another one. Good luck. Joe Huber Venice Fl.


Date: Sat, 12 Feb 2000 20:36:55 -0500
From: "asumner" asumner"at"gateway.net
To: BLUEBIRD-L"at"cornell.edu
Subject: Bluebirds in Ga. hovering/looking in windows=more info

From: Arlene Sumner, Duluth/Georgia(about 20 miles North of Atlanta)

To: Anyone who cares to comment

My neighbor (same one I talked about earlier) says that the bluebirds only come to the 2nd/3rd story windows and hover/look in when the temperatures are below freezing, not when temperatures are above freezing. Does anyone know why? I forgot to mention temperature when I posted the Message earlier, and several of you on the list thought that it was dangerous behavior/that the birds thought they saw a different bird in the window and were trying to protect their territory. Why would they not do this with temperatures above freezing?

Arlene Sumner (=3Dasumner"at"gateway.net)


Date: Tue, 29 Feb 2000 23:39:31 -0600
From: jwick"at"tds.net (Ann E S Wick)
To: BLUEBIRD-L"at"cornell.edu
Subject: Bluebird fluttering at his reflection in window
...


HI Chris!

Your male bluebird is most likely seeing his reflection in the windows and, thinking his reflection is another male bluebird, protecting his chosen nesting territory, attempting to drive the other male (his reflection) out of that territory. This is a behavior I have observed among many songbirds nesting in my yard. Robins, Cardinals and Bluebirds seem to be the birds I most often see exhibiting this behavior, although I did have a Black-capped Chickadee nesting in a Peterson box at the end of my driveway who continually attacked one of the rear-view mirrors on my truck (parked nearby) until I finally covered the mirror with a sock. 2 summers ago, a friend of mine was awakened every morning at the crack of dawn by a male bluebird bashing into her bedroom window. She was NOT very happy about this!! I suggested she attach a mylar balloon or strips of mylar that would move in a breeze to the outside of her second story window. Finally
she was allowed to "sleep" in the morning without being so rudely awakened!!!

Enjoy your bluebirds!!!

Ann Wick
Black Earth, WI
(20 miles west of Madison in the southern part of the state)


Date: Fri, 17 Mar 2000 16:37:52 -0800
From: "Julie Clark"
To: "Bluebird Discussion Group" , "Inland NW Birders"
Subject: Strange (or normal) bird behavior!

Julie Clark17 mi. south of Lewiston,
Idahojaclark"at"lewiston.com

The snow sure brought out the birds today! We had an afternoon snow storm, and apparently the birds thought they needed to "stock up." We had our American Goldfinches, Pine Siskins, Song Sparrows, Black-Capped Chickadees, and Oregon & Slate-Colored Juncos feeding and drinking like there was no tomorrow! The American Robins were chasing each other around, and a flock of 7 Cedar Waxwings landed in the top of our plum tree.

The strangest sight, though, was watching two pairs of Juncos fighting over a bluebird nestbox! I have never known Juncos to be cavity nesters, but they were sure trying to get into that box today! There was wing-waving going on, and the males were fighting each other. I never saw a successful entrance into the box, but they were trying! Very interesting! Has anybody else seen Juncos trying to get into a nestbox?


Date: Fri, 17 Mar 2000 20:39:36 -0500
From: "Vivian M. Pitzrick"
To: BLUEBIRD-L"at"CORNELL.EDU
Subject: Juncos at box

Vivian Pitzrick, Amity Lake, Belmont, NY, c. 90 miles se of Buffalo. Ice storm again last evening and 3 inches snow on the ground this morning with temp. at 16 dg F; high today 25 dg F.

This week while out cleaning, repairing and replacing nest boxes on my trail, I found bird droppings inside several of them where birds have been using them for shelter and/or roosting. Can it be that is what the juncos you mention around a box were looking for? There was a pair of Eastern Bluebirds in three different locations but I've covered only about half of the trail so far.


Date: Thu, 23 Mar 2000 16:49:27 -0600
From: "Tena Taylor" tenataylor"at"tycom.net
To: "BLUEBIRD-L" BLUEBIRD-L"at"cornell.edu
Subject: Bluebird SOS

From Tena Taylor, MISSISSIPPI BLUEBIRDS, Calhoun County, MS

HELP! Just had a call from a lady (in Aberdeen) who is having a problem with a bluebird pair that have been flying into her windows for 2 weeks! They have recently moved into a new house, and have put up a nest box, which they have accepted, but they are still banging. She says they are banging on first one window then the next, only 2 windows in the entire house that they don't hit. She's tried putting objects and cut-outs on the windows. I advised her to tack long streamers at the tops of the windows, and also told her about the person on the list who advised cutting branches from trees and attaching. That didn't appeal to her at all. But she says she just doesn't see what keeps them from knocking themselves out, cause they really hit hard. What else can advise her to do?

And thanks for all the scam responses! tt


Date: Fri, 24 Mar 2000 19:45:06 -0500
From: "asumner" asumner"at"gateway.net
To: BLUEBIRD-L"at"cornell.edu
Subject: Bluebird SOS

From: Arlene Sumner; Duluth, Ga. (North of Atlanta-20 miles);
asumner"at"gateway.net.

Tena: Re. birds banging into windows; I had a cardinal do this continually, so I put tons of suncatchers on the kitchen bay windows and windows on the double sliding-glass doors; The bird kept doing it. So, I ordered a "spider web" decal from Droll Yankees, and I put it on the window/sticks on inside; The birds think it's a real spider web/don't want to get tangled up in it, so they avoid it.

That worked for those windows; However, in Jan./Feb., my neighbor and I noticed the Male Bluebird pecking (not banging) on the windows of  the 2nd and 3rd stories of the townhouses we live in=3Donly when temperature was below freezing/not when it warmed up later in morning. So, don't know if this is the same thing/or something different from crashing into the windows.!? Can anyone explain this? Have a solution? I asked this question "at" the time it happened, but no one on the List responded with an answer. Maybe someone will now?

Help would be appreciated! Thanks,

Arlene Sumner


Date: Wed, 5 Apr 2000 14:35:18 -0400 (EDT)
From: "Elizabeth Nichols" birdlady"at"netstorm.net
To: Bluebird-L"at"Cornell.edu
Subject: Song Sparrow in Nestbox!!!

Betty Nichols, Middletown, MD 45 mi. NW Washington, D.C.- 50*Sunny,Windy.

Hello All!!!

This is HOT NEWS!!! For the last three weeks I have been watching a lovely Song Sparrow sing in a bush about 250 Yds. from Mrs. Earlybird's box. I wondered if Song Sparrow was attempting to build a nest in a NABS front-opening box - I saw long grasses, some fox-tails at first. Almost removed it as it appeared so loosely constructed w/some feathers --resembled an early House Sparrow nest. Decided to "wait & see" -- checked book "Field Guide to Birds' Nests, Peterson Series by Hal Harrison." Learned Song Sparrow builds nest well hidden ON GROUND (emphasis mine} under tuft of grass,bush, brush pile, or in low bush"...Harrison also states "Except for Yellow Warbler, most frequently reported host of brown-headed cowbird..."

This week Mrs. Song Sparrow began adding rabbit fur and soft down to nest, cupped neatly -- so I waited for egg-laying to begin to be sure.

Today I found one egg! The description matches that appearing in the above mentioned book -" greenish white, oval, heavily dotted, spotted  blotched with reddish brown..."

Now, tell me, folks, how am I going to include this nesting & possible fledging on my nest box report sent in annually?? I doubt anyone will really believe it.

Betty Nichols


Date: Wed, 05 Apr 2000 15:53:11 -0400
From: Haleya Priest/Thom Levy hpandtl"at"crocker.com
To: birdlady"at"netstorm.net, BLUEBIRD BLUEBIRD-L"at"cornell.edu
Subject: Re: Song Sparrow in Nestbox!!!

Haleya Priest, Amherst MA
Where the snow is falling and hopefully the eggs ain't a freezin'.

Why just this morning I was reading Scriven about HOSP, sparrows, etc. She said, "You will NEVER find a true sparrow nesting in a box". Good luck trying to convince everyone.... but, hey, you had the first eggs of the millennium, so goodness knows WHAT ELSE might happen down your way!  :-) H

...


Date: Wed, 5 Apr 2000 15:48:57 -0400
From: "Elizabeth Nichols" birdlady"at"netstorm.net
To: "Wright, Merlin C." mcwrigh"at"nppd.com
Cc: Bluebird-L"at"Cornell.edu
Subject: RE: Song Sparrow in Nestbox!!!

...


RE: Sparrow (Melospiza melodia)

Thank you, Mr. Wright -- Of course, it was your idea, so why don't you come see for yourself -- I just live about 1.5 hr. drive from BWI Airport - even shorter distance from Dulles Airport. Would enjoy meeting you!

Betty Nichols

...


Date: Wed, 5 Apr 2000 17:45:26 -0400
From: "Brenda Best" jabbest"at"dreamscape.com
To: birdlady"at"netstorm.net, Bluebird-L"at"cornell.edu
Subject: Re: Song Sparrow in Nestbox!!!

Betty,

The following is copied from the American Birding Association's website and is the Maryland information for their Rare Bird Alert. I recommend you call or e-mail them. I'm sure local birders will be interested. (Rare Bird Alerts are for more than just rare birds!)

Maryland
Statewide (301) 652-1088 or
email voice"at"capaccess.org
Baltimore (410) 467-0653

Brenda
--
Brenda Best
Durhamville, NY
(between Syracuse and Utica)
jabbest"at"dreamscape.com

The Nature Club of Central New York
http://natureclubofcny.8m.com/

...


Date: Fri, 14 Apr 2000 18:06:10 -0400
From: "birdlady" birdlady"at"netstorm.net
To: Bluebird-L"at"Cornell.edu
Subject: Song Sparrow Nest in Bluebird Box

Betty Nichols, Middletown, MD 45 mi. nw Wash. D.C.

Hi Y'All:

Mrs. Songsparrow began brooding on 3 eggs 4/10. Beautiful deep nest w/down & rabbit fur & grass. Prez. of Frederick Bird Club visited & took several photos of egg in my hand (quickly ret'd to box) and box & surrounding area. Photos will be shown at Maryland Ornithological Society Convention next month. Prez. was most impressed,said this was really "cool." This unusal nesting can only be attributed to lack of habitat - development surrounding the Park & trail. Mrs. Songsparrow is elusive, nothing like our Bluebirds.

On a lighter note -- the box displayed sign on the side indicating it was part of the Transcontinental Bluebird Trail--Laugh of the Day!

Betty


Date: Mon, 17 Apr 2000 22:02:27 -0700
From: Josi Jenneskens josijenn"at"earthlink.net
To: Bluebird Listserve BLUEBIRD-L"at"cornell.edu
Subject: Strange occurrance

Hello fellow Bluebirders!

My name is Josi, this is my second season subscribing to the List but the first time I have written. I am one of Dick Purvis' volunteers and have 19 boxes in lovely Irvine Regional Park in Orange, California. My season has started out with a bang! Nests, eggs and babies all over the place!

This past weekend, when my partner Spencer and I were making our rounds, I brought down a box and started to open it. I saw a male WEBL inside and quickly shut the door and covered the hole as I wanted Spencer to get a good look at it. When we opened the front again, we found to our dismay that he was dead, on his back and already had maggots all over. Spencer pulled him out and I saw to my surprise that the female was underneath him! I thought she must be dead too, but it looked like she was moving! I thought it must be the maggots! (yuck!). In the process of trying to figure out what to do, she moved again and we realized she was still alive! Now what? We decided to let nature take it's course, closed the box, put it back in the tree and sat down to watch it for a few minutes. Within seconds, she flew out. We took the box down again and counted 5 eggs. Back it went into the tree and we continued to watch for about 20 minutes but did not see her return. She must have been pretty hungry. Since there were zero eggs the previous week, we figured the longest the male could have been dead was 2 days.

So the big questions are:

1. Will she abandon this nest and the eggs?

2. Is it possible that she could get another male to help her raise the young? (All the work and none of the fun!)

3. Will she attempt to raise at least some of them on her own?

I look forward to your learned input.

Josi


Date: Tue, 18 Apr 2000 07:11:01 -0500
From: "Keith & Sandy Kridler" kridler"at"1starnet.com
To: "BLUEBIRD-L" BLUEBIRD-L"at"cornell.edu
Subject: Re; strange occurance/pellets

Keith Kridler Mt. Pleasant, Texas 207 confirmed cases of rabies so far this year in North Texas most in the three counties just north of Dallas, Be CAREFUL with wild animals encountered along the trail!!

Dead bluebird male:Be sure to remove this dead bird from the nest to allow the female to continue incubation! Watch for dead young birds while checking boxes especially in cold weather. Instead of being pink they will be a grayish yellow, remove any you find! If checking by car a thermos of hot water poured into a hot water bottle and placing young on this WARM and not HOT pad works very well at reviving the birds. Someone at a meeting mentioned using the baby bottle warmer that plugs into the cigarette lighter to warm a nest of young birds once. Wrapped in a handkerchief and placed against your stomach for 20 minutes will also revive them.

Pellets/CB .22:Be CAREFUL CB shorts and CB longs use a 30 grain bullet and travel at 720 feet per second at 50 yards they are still going 640 FPS and retain 27 foot pounds of energy! They are lethal! They are so quiet they seem harmless. A friend used a CB short to scare his neighbors dog away from his garbage and ended up buying a very expensive German Shepard. He had no idea that it would even hurt the dog let alone kill it. An air gun pellet is only about 7 grains and a flat nosed pellet will lose approximately 1/3 of its velocity every 100 feet but will still break windows and be lethal to animals at well over 100 yards from modern spring pistoned pellet guns. The pointed "field" pellets will lose approximately 1/6 of their velocity every 100 feet. Many pellet guns will shoot through 3/4" thick white pine boards! These are excellent tools to use but care and safety should be a major concern! If discharged in a car you maybe lucky to only lose a windshield! KK


Date: Tue, 18 Apr 2000 10:48:27 -0500
From: "Wright, Merlin C." mcwrigh"at"nppd.com
To: "'josij"at"pobox.com'" josij"at"pobox.com, "'bluebird-L"at"cornell.edu'" bluebird-L"at"cornell.edu
Subject: RE: Strange occurrance

Merlin Wright

So the big questions are:

1. Will she abandon this nest and the eggs?

Not necessarily, bluebirds are very adaptable.

2. Is it possible that she could get another male to help her raise the young? (All the work and none of the fun!)

Probably not but she might manage alone.

3. Will she attempt to raise at least some of them on her own?

Perhaps. You have quite an opportunity to learn something. Keep us informed.

I look forward to your learned input.

Josi


Date: Tue, 18 Apr 2000 18:26:44 -0700
From: Linda Violett lviolett"at"earthlink.net
To: "Bluebird-L"at"cornell.edu" Bluebird-L"at"cornell.edu
Subject: Re: Strange occurrance

Linda Violett
Yorba Linda, Calif

Josi, I'm right next door in Yorba Linda.

Seems to me that if the female is still determined to incubate those eggs in spite of having to manuever into incubating position under a dead maggot-infested male, she's not going to abandon when the stench is gone. Even though she can hatch all five, she'll have a tough time raising all five on her own (that would be similar to one pair raising a clutch of 10). Last year, I had two single moms trying to raise clutches. Like yours, one female lost the male during incubation. All six eggs hatched. I took two runts and fostered out (one survived). She only managed to fledge two of the remaining four. No substitute mate came to help.

Later in the season a female lost her mate when her four chicks were about a week old. I took mealworms to her when I could. She found a substitute mate just as the chicks were about to fledge. All fledged.

As long as you removed the dead male, that's all you should probably do until you see how the hatchlings/chicks make out. If you get runts (about day 4 or 5), I'd suggest fostering out 2 and see how she does with three.

...


Date: Wed, 19 Apr 2000 09:12:46 -0700
From: "Nicholas A. Zbiciak" nzbiciak"at"gfn.org
To: "'BLUEBIRD-L"at"cornell.edu'" BLUEBIRD-L"at"cornell.edu
Subject: Interesting Behaviour

I was watching a female Eastern on Saturday afternoon through my binoculars. I was about 30 yards from her and she was perched in a small oak tree. Then, she stretched out each of her wings and wrapped them around a small branch. She stayed "leaned back" for about 1/2 a minute and then flew away.

Was she strutting her stuff to her beau? Was she just taking in some sunshine? Has anyone ever seen this behaviour?

Nicholas
Holly, Michigan
42nd Parallel


Date: Wed, 19 Apr 2000 13:22:03 EDT
From: RRCRLEP"at"aol.com
To: BLUEBIRD-L"at"cornell.edu
Subject: Re: Interesting Behaviour

I have witnessed this behavior twice. The first time it was a male mountain bluebird. He was sitting on the crossboard of our fence with one wing stretched out. I thought he was hurt. The second time it was a fledgling. It was on the ground, in our wood chip area, with both wings stretched out. In a book I have, there are two pictures of a bluebird with its wings spread out. It says the bluebird is soaking up some sun.

REL
Hayden, Idaho


Date: Wed, 19 Apr 2000 17:01:33 -0400
From: "Bruce Burdett" blueburd"at"srnet.com
To: nzbiciak"at"gfn.org, BLUEBIRD-L"at"cornell.edu
Subject: Re: Interesting Behaviour

To: Nick, et al, - The oak tree (gen. Quercus) exudes an aphrodisiac, mildly soporific, emanation, 'Seductivus quercorum' which can cause the langorous "interesting behaviour" you have described. It is harmless to humans, but an organism the size of an Eastern Bluebird often responds to it by behaving in suggestive ways. You may have noticed that adult Bluebirds scold their young if they settle down in the tops of oak trees after fledging, and herd them into maples, hickories, beeches, etc..

Bruce Burdett, NH Bird-brain Brotherhood, Sunapee NH,
where it's still pretty chilly and damp, and where I still have observed no nesting in my 56 houses.
blueburd"at"srnet.com

...


Date: Sat, 22 Apr 2000 17:51:16 -0400
From: "birdlady" birdlady"at"netstorm.net
To: Bluebird-L"at"Cornell.edu
Cc: whershberg"at"aol.com

Subject: Song Sparrow nesting in Bluebird Box

Hi All:

Mrs. Secretive Song Sparrow is happy to report eggs have begun to hatch.

Will not check box again for several days due to elusive nature of this unusual ground nester. An Eastern Bluebird she is not! Mrs. Song Sparrow had nowhere else to build due to loss of habitat surrounding Park trail.

Will report developments later if there is interest on the ListServ.

Betty Nichols, Middletown, MD


Date: Wed, 26 Apr 2000 23:37:19 -0400
From: "birdlady" birdlady"at"netstorm.net
To: Bluebird-L"at"Cornell.edu
Subject: Song Sparrow Update

Hi All:

Song Sparrow nesting in Bluebird box proudly announces hatching of second nestling --one egg left to hatch should make a total of three. She laid the eggs with a 2 or 3 day spacing between each egg.

Mr. and Mrs. Song Sparrow seen with Mr. Song Sparrow singing from nearby bush.

Pretty cool!

Betty Nichols, Middletown, MD


Date: Thu, 27 Apr 2000 13:39:00 -0400
From: "birdlady" birdlady"at"netstorm.net
To: Bluebird-L"at"Cornell.edu
Subject: Songsparrow tragedy

Betty Nichols, Middletown, MD 45 mi. NW of Washington, D.C.

Hello All Bird People:

Just yesterday I posted that the second Song Sparrow had hatched in the Eastern Bluebird box & one egg left to hatch. Fawzi Emad also saw this which included a four day old nestling. Ordinarily I would not have ckd. box again today but something told me to do it - NOW THERE IS ONLY THE FIVE DAY OLD NESTLING LEFT -- the one hatched yesterday just the size of a dime & egg ready to hatch is gone!!! There was lock-out tape on the box. Nothing else was disturbed.....ground under box checked on hands & knees. No trace of missing hatchling or egg ready to hatch.

PLEASE CONSIDER MY 'EDUCATED GUESS': Could the nearby House Sparrow (HOSP) have taken the "tiny morsels" to feed to their
nestlings??? The box is near a storage utility building and HOSPS & starlings abound there. I am not allowed to trap in the public park (Huber trap used successfully in a remote area in past. ) This box is in full view of office portion of building. It is possible the remaining nestling was too large for the HOSP to feed his nestlings. Please give me some solace and advice! To say I am upset is an understatement - and I thought I had seen it all!

Betty Nichols


Date: Thu, 27 Apr 2000 17:44:28 -0500
From: "Keith & Sandy Kridler" kridler"at"1starnet.com
To: "BLUEBIRD-L" BLUEBIRD-L"at"cornell.edu
Subject: Re: Song Sparrow tragedy/another myth?

Keith Kridler Mt. Pleasant, Texas
I am not sure about Song Sparrows but many of these types birds will only feed the young bird that is strong enough to reach the highest. I would bet
that the older sibling starved the other bird to death. If the third egg hatches I'll bet that there will only be the oldest bird in the nest after two days.

I have seen a cowbird in a nest with a one day head start quadruple it's size and basically "kill" it's sibling (another cowbird) for lack of food in three days. This year I have seen late hatched House Sparrow babies dead in the nest with far bigger brothers and sisters hogging all of the food. If a
baby bird is too cold to respond to the adults and they don't gap for food they will die! Adult birds do not force feed young birds that are weak or
too sick to eat. When the babies die they often remove the dead baby or cracked egg from a nest as they begin to decompose.

Another myth?: I found a reference to the "Male bluebirds" don't feed their male young like they do their female young. It is in the booklet "Bluebirds
in Texas". It is quoting this "biologists" research. I truly find this hard to believe after watching tens of thousands of bluebirds being raised in my
area. IF the male bluebird withholds food from their male offspring why when the female is brooding the second nest do the male adults not starve all of their young males to death? Their off spring are totally dependant on them for several weeks! Why do they not drive them away? In this area ALL of the young stay with their parents all summer and all winter and not break up the family group until almost nesting time next year. I can't find this research but I imagine it is from a limited area with a limited number of nests watched. I feel that this "research" may become one more "myth" about
bluebirding if all nests and feeding of young were observed. Of course this is just my "opinion" of what I have observed with Eastern bluebirds in my
area! It would not be that hard to install a video camera and watch which young your male bluebird feeds! KK


Date: Fri, 5 May 2000 12:21:24 EDT
From: CathyE7390"at"aol.com
To: BLUEBIRD-L"at"cornell.edu
Subject: Bluebirds and Titmouse

This is my first attempt at sending a Message to one and all. I am also new  at bluebird nesting. But, I do have a question and I have become very confused about the following.

Last winter I put a bluebird box out, and had two bluebirds check it out several times, but they never moved in (I guess they couldn't decide to rent or buy). Anyway, several weeks ago two titmouse moved in and have hatched their eggs. Now, two days ago the bluebirds are back and have claimed the box and the baby birds. They are feeding the babies, but when the bluebirds leave the titmouse come back and feed the babies. (The babies are going to be too fat go get out of the hole). The bluebirds come back and run the titmouse away again. I am in the Memphis area and have called some people who say this is not normal. Well, i knew that much. What I want to know is has anyone else seen this behavior before, and what to do, if anything, about it.

Thanks,

Cathy


Date: Fri, 05 May 2000 11:10:09 -0700
From: "Virginia Nufer" nuferv"at"ohsu.edu
To: BLUEBIRD-L"at"cornell.edu
Subject: Bluebirds feeding nestling Titmice

Marsie Nufer (nuferv"at"ohsu.edu)
Portland, Oregon, USA

This kind of behavior could be explained by the fact that the bluebirds were in nestling feeding mode when something happened to their own nest. I recall the famous picture of a cardinal feeding a goldfish (coi). The caption said that it was likely that the bird had lost its own nestlings. I wonder what further mechanisms are at work when this occurs, for certainly this does not happen in all lost nestling cases. One thing that comes to mind are the trauma associated with the loss...or lack thereof (those missing nestlings must be SOMEWHERE!). Another could be how soon after the nestlings disappear that other nestlings are found. There may be an extremely narrow window in which this behavior could be elicited.

-Marsie


Date: Sun, 07 May 2000 20:00:11 -0400
From: Dick and Jill Miller MMS"at"TheMillers.com
To: CathyE7390"at"aol.com
Cc: BLUEBIRD-L"at"cornell.edu
Subject: Re: Bluebirds and Titmouse

..

Hi, Cathy:

This is unusual but not unknown. I've never seen it myself but have read about it in Sialia (the former name of the NABS magazine). This kind of adoption has been recorded between tree swallows and bluebirds in both directions. It happens because birds have a strong instinct to shove food in little open mouths. I think it is likely your bluebirds are a young pair and not really sure of themselves about what they are supposed to do. Usually, such a pair will dilly-dally around looking at boxes and not get around to nesting until the second year. In your case, they probably saw the titmice babies begging and it turned on their nurturing mode. Like you said, you will have some fat and happy titmice babies (who may even fledge early because of the good nurturing).

It is quite possible, that after the titmice fledge your bluebirds will rebuild and have a family of their own. Titmice nest only once, then the young follow their parents around for over a month begging for food with a cry that I find very annoying (it sounds like "feed me!" to me).

Good luck with your bluebirds,
--Jill Miller MMS"at"TheMillers.com
--
A. Richard & Jill A. Miller | MILLER MICROCOMPUTER SERVICES |
Mailto:MMS"at"TheMillers.com | 61 Lake Shore Road |
Web: http://MMS.TheMillers.com/ | Natick, MA 01760-2099, USA |
Voice: 508/653-6136, 9AM-9PM -0400(EDT)| 42 18'00.79" N, 71 22'27.68" W|


Date: Sun, 7 May 2000 20:55:14 -0400
From: "birdlady" birdlady"at"netstorm.net
To: Bluebird-L"at"Cornell.edu
Subject: Song Sparrow in Bluebird Box Fledged

Middletown, Maryland 45 NW of Washington DC

Hello All:

I reported to List the nesting of Song Sparrow in Eastern Bluebird Box on 4/9/00. Two eggs were probably lost as hatchlings to female House Sparrow feeding young. The oldest hatchling was larger and was not taken. The lone nestling survived and fledged 5/6/00.

This unusual nesting was observed, photographed and confirmed by a member of the Maryland Ornithological Society Rare Bird Alert. Also at the age of 9 days the lone survivor was photographed and I have the photograph as a matter of record. The normal nesting area of the Song Sparrow has been lost to development surrounding the trail located in a Park. One more case of loss of habitat. This was a very interesting experience.

Betty Nichols


Date: Sat, 01 Jul 2000 15:05:26 -0400
From: Don Cragin
To: BLUEBIRD-L"at"cornell.edu
Subject: Male Bluebird built nest by himself

I thought I might say something, some people say that female Eastern Bluebirds build the nest by themselves, not the male. I don't think this is true, I observed the male Eastern Bluebird here build the whole nest by himself, while the female was elsewhere. I have observed this is Wrens, the males building it themselves, then the female tossing it out. This did not happen with the Bluebirds here. the female accepted and now has a clutch of 4 eggs, like I mentioned in my earlier post.

Is this unusual that they would do this?

Derek Cragin
Limington, Maine
dcragin"at"pivot.net


Date: Sun, 2 Jul 2000 09:48:30 -0700
From: "dputman" dputman"at"syix.com
To: "bluebird" Bluebird-L"at"cornell.edu
Subject: male bluebird building nests

Kevin Putman, Yuba City, CA

I also would like to hear from those who have seen male bluebirds building nests. I've not seen this myself among the Western Bluebirds here. However, people to whom I gave a nestbox claim that they watched a male build a nest. Audubon Society Encyclopedia of N. Am. birds states that the nest of the Eastern Bluebird is built "mostly by the female". That can either mean that most nests are built by females (some by males) or that the female builds the bulk of the nest while the male helps with a few twigs. It's not real clear. The encyclopedia makes no comment about sex in regards to nestbuilding among Western Bluebirds.


Date: Mon, 03 Jul 2000 12:57:29 -0400
From: Barb DeLong delong24"at"msu.edu
To: "bluebird" Bluebird-L"at"cornell.edu
Subject: Re: male bluebird building nests

Just to add to this - my pair of bluebirds shared in the nest making. We had seen daddy take about as much in as mama had. I also had stated that about a week or so after the eggs were laid I saw the daddy bluebird taking more nesting material into the house.

Thanks!
Barb DeLong
Eaton Rapids, Michigan

...


Date: Fri, 07 Jul 2000 21:43:14 -0700
From: Linda Violett
To: "Bluebird-L"at"cornell.edu"
Subject: Re: Western Bluebird feeding Reptile

Linda Violett - Yorba Linda, Calif.

These bluebirds are always giving us little surprises. Today I saw a female western bluebird carry a reptilian snack to the nestbox . . . a baby lizard. She exited the box without it, so a chick must have considered it a tasty treat.

...


Date: Fri, 14 Jul 2000 04:03:14 GMT
From: "Mason Hjelle" masonhjelle"at"hotmail.com
To: BLUEBIRD-L"at"cornell.edu
Subject: THE ATTACK BLUEBIRD

AS I WAS CHECKING A PVC NESTBOX CONTAINING EB'S, I HEARD A CLICKING NOISE ABOVE ME. I LOOKED UP TO SEE THAT A MALE EB WAS DIVING AT ME REPEATEDLY. THE EB ATTACK WAS SIMILAR TO THAT OF A TRES, BUT THE EB DOVE MUCH CLOSER TO MY FACE AND WAS MUCH NOISIER AND MORE DETERMINED. I HAVE HAD SO MANY TRES DIVING AT ME THAT I EASILY IGNORE THEM. THIS EB HAD ME DUCKING AND RUNNING OM THE NESTBOX. THIS IS THE FIRST TIME IN 10 YEARS OF BLUEBIRDING THAT I HAVE SEEN ANY AGGRESSIVE EB BEHAVIOR TOWARD ME. IT WAS EXCITING, BUT I MAY WEAR A SNOWMOBILE HELMET THE NEXT TIME I CHECK THAT NESTBOX.


Date: Thu, 13 Jul 2000 22:41:14 -0700
From: Linda Violett lviolett"at"earthlink.net
To: "bluebird-l"at"cornell.edu" bluebird-l"at"cornell.edu
Subject: Re: THE ATTACK BLUEBIRD

Linda Violett - Yorba Linda, Calif.

You may want to keep a watch on that particular site. Only a few pairs have dive-bombed me aggressively and I'm learning to equate that behavior with harassed stressed-out parents. I see it as red-flag distress signal to look around and find out what's upsetting the parents.

Sometimes the stress is caused by conditions inside the box such as hopelessly tangled nestlings which the parents are trying to defend. If you hear broken-record cheeping with stressed dive-bombing parents close to the fledge date, watch the box and see if the nestlings are starting to appear at the holes. If not, come back in 1/2 day and listen to the strength of the cheeping and feeding patterns of the parents.

Other times, I see dive-bombing parents at sites that have been heavily disturbed by outside influences . . . kids shooting BB pellets at the box face in addition to tree pruners cutting down the nestbox tree and moving the box (I use hanging boxes). At such a site, the female was so distressed she was dive-bombing my lifter box and almost brushing it as she passed. If something like this happens at any of my sites, I try to alleviate the distress and leave them alone except for closed-box visits.

...


Date: Fri, 14 Jul 2000 09:26:31 EDT
From: RWil2654"at"aol.com
To: lviolett"at"earthlink.net, BLUEBIRD-L"at"cornell.edu
Subject: Re: THE ATTACK BLUEBIRD

Linda and All;

Good theory but I see the same thing, some pair will be very aggressive while other just set and watch. All my boxes (110) are in isolated areas and almost no predators can be found. I think that it is just individual difference as there seem to be no common factor to links this behavior.

Bob Wilson
(970) 242-5190 39* 06.21N 108*33.61 W
4,635 elevation Grand Junction Colorado
THE HOME OF ALL THREE BLUEBIRD SPECIES
A HREF="http://www.crosswinds.net/~bluebirdbob/"Bob Wilson Home Page/A
A HREF="http://www.crosswinds.net/~bluebirdguide/"BLUEBIRD-L REFERENCE GUIDE/A


Date: Fri, 14 Jul 2000 10:04:28 -0400
From: David J Ferguson davejoanne"at"juno.com
To: BLUEBIRD-L"at"cornell.edu
Subject: Babies!

I am happy to report that upon checking the nest box this morning, there is one baby so far (there was a total of 5 eggs). This is the 1st time I have had them use the boxes and I am absolutely amazed you tiny and fragile they look!  The baby is not making any noise (not that I have noticed, anyway). Is this normal or indicative of a problem? He did lift his head on open his mouth when I opened the box.

Also...this was so strange, at least to me: As I was going to check the box (I was not at it yet) a tree next to it was filled with Mockingbirds, Blue Jays and cardinals and the were all screaming. I have never seen anything like it. It was almost scary.  Does anyone have any ideas what was going on? They left after about 5 minutes or so.

Thanks for your help.
Joanne Ferguson
Adairsville, Georgia


Subj: [Bluebird] MIA's & BLHA
Date: 10/13/00 10:46:39 PM Central Daylight Time
From: lviolett"at"earthlink.net (Linda Violett)
Sender: Bluebird-owner"at"fsinc.com
Reply-to: Bluebird"at"fsinc.com
To: Bluebird"at"fsinc.com (Bluebird List Member)

Linda Violett - Yorba Linda, Calif.

Each of us knows the gap that was left when Bluebird-L shut down . . .and the joy of the reunion. During this startup period, perhaps a list of current members could be printed so that each of us can look for and contact the MIA's.

While we are still a small group, I'd like to share a special occurrence I witnessed about a month ago. At a retirement home where hawks/owls can be regularly seen, two nextboxes had fledged multiple clutches of western blues. Fledglings were in their transition plumage and I laid down a handful of mealworms on the parking lot asphalt and a couple of adults and a few fledglings flew over and started picking them over.  But one fledgling kept its distance and stared at the mealworms, slightly holding its wings from its body, then pounced on a mealworm and jumped backward just as quickly.

(I'd never seen a bluebird behave in this manner and was confused but interested.) The movements were repeated and then the fledgling pounced again but this time spread its wings over the mealworm and I'm certain it was pretending to be a hawk making the kill! Mealworms have been taken to this site several times afterwards, but alas, no repeat performance by the BLHA (Blue-Hawk).


Date: Fri, 14 Jul 2000 22:42:47 -0500
From: "Bob Walshaw" robert.walshaw"at"gte.net
To: "Bluebird Listserve" BLUEBIRD-L"at"cornell.edu
Subject: Joanne - screaming birds

When this happens they are usually screaming at a predator, most commonly a snake in the tree, but it could have been a cat hiding on the ground. Bluebird Bob. (These birds will also scream at and fight with each other, but when several species of birds are involved it is usually a predator).


Date: Sun, 15 Oct 2000 19:59:50 -0400
From: "Karen Deeds-Jarvie"
Subject: Strange EABL behavior???

Linda Violett suggested I post my concerns so that all of you can weigh in on the solution. I'll start with a little background: Our baby bluebirds fledged a couple of months ago when we were at work. We guessed that all four eggs had hatched and that there were four fledglings. The parents apparently took them to the creek just beyond our property, because Mama came back on and off for a few days to take a look around, but always flew away in that direction. We figured that there wouldn't be any more activity, and fearing that the fledglings might get caught in the nest by a sparrow, we taped the box entrance.

About two weeks later we noticed the whole family had returned to our yard. There were only three fledglings that we could be sure of. One for sure male, and two possible females. The parents kept up with their regular routine of sitting on certain objects and the babies fell suit. Soon the parents came less often than the fledglings, who seemed very interested every time my husband mowed the lawn.

Then about a month ago, they all stopped coming for about a week. Then just two of the fledglings (now both identified as brightly-colored males) started appearing several times a day. The tape on the box (where they had fledged) had fallen off in a thunderstorm and (thinking they were already gone for the winter) we didn't retape it. But as soon as the pair of males appeared, they made a great show of exploring "their" box. One would sit on the halo while the other went inside to check things out. The one male is quite a hefty fellow. So it was comical to see him going in and out. They have been coming back a couple of times each day, but only check the box out once a day. They've also made a point of checking out the decoy boxes we used for the sparrows this year. (Don't everyone panic, we didn't let them actually lay an egg!) But it's like they want to make sure no box is "sparrow occupied." In fact, my husband has witnessed more than one aerial dogfight between these two bluebird males and the sparrows. Mostly they are intent upon protecting the nestbox they were fledged in. But this weekend they began (as I stated) to inspect the paired boxes used by the sparrows. The EABLS sit on the roof peak, or the clothes posts, or the birdhouses and just plain dominate the scene. It's like they are determined to claim these boxes for themselves even if it means not making a trip south.

Here is our question: What if anything should be do about it? Should be retape all boxes to discourage the attraction? Or would taping the boxes put them out in the cold should they decide to winter over. It's going to be a very fearsome winter here by all reports. I'm sure the creek will provide some nourishment, as well as the farmers fields that surround our property. But all summer the EABLS rejected any attempt at our feeding them mealworms. They liked to sit on the shepherd's staff on which we hung the feeder. They just didn't like the feeder.

We're stumped.

Hank and Karen Jarvie
Bowling Green, Ohio



Date: Sun, 15 Oct 2000 21:04:29 -0400
From: "Fawzi P. Emad"
Subject: Re: [Bluebird] Strange EABL behavior???

Hi. This is Fawzi from MD. The behavior Karen describes is similar to what I am seeing here. I have boxes that are paired, and I see the
same thing. I think the birds are finding reliable places to come to for roosting when the weather is real cold. Make sure to leave some boxes and close all vents to make them suitable for roosting. I have put up roosting boxes (these are completely sealed, no vents, but have
two 1.5" openings. The cross section on the inside is 8 inch square. I have also left some of the nestboxes out, on these I have closed the
vents using high density sponge tape (sticky on one side). The birds come each morning to inspect these "possible" havens in case of real
cold weather. When the nesting season returns, I will replace the roost boxes with nestboxes, and I'll remove the insulating tape from the vents of the other nestboxes. This is my opinion, I'd like to hear others on this. I have observed the same as Karen described in her Message below...

Fawzi

P.S. The EABL are eating suet as well as mealies. We also have a lot of berries and other trees with fruit for the winter (sumac, crab
apple, field cedar, etc.)

----- Original Message -----
From: "Karen Deeds-Jarvie"
To:
Sent: Sunday, October 15, 2000 7:59 PM
Subject: [Bluebird] Strange EABL behavior???

Linda Violett suggested I post my concerns so that all of you can weigh in on
the solution. I'll start with a little background:
Our baby bluebirds fledged a couple of months ago when we were at work. We
guessed that all four eggs had hatched and that there were four fledglings. The
parents apparently took them to the creek just beyond our property, because Mama
came back on and off for a few days to take a look around, but always flew away
in that direction. We figured that there wouldn't be any more activity, and
fearing that the fledglings might get caught in the nest by a sparrow, we taped
the box entrance.

About two weeks later we noticed the whole family had returned to our yard.
There were only three fledglings that we could be sure of. One for sure male,
and two possible females. The parents kept up with their regular routine of
sitting on certain objects and the babies fell suit. Soon the parents came less
often than the fledglings, who seemed very interested every time my husband
mowed the lawn.

Then about a month ago, they all stopped coming for about a week. Then just two
of the fledglings (now both identified as brightly-colored males) started
appearing several times a day. The tape on the box (where they had fledged) had
fallen off in a thunderstorm and (thinking they were already gone for the
winter) we didn't retape it. But as soon as the pair of males appeared, they
made a great show of exploring "their" box. One would sit on the halo while the
other went inside to check things out. The one male is quite a hefty fellow.
So it was comical to see him going in and out. They have been coming back a
couple of times each day, but only check the box out once a day. They've also
made a point of checking out the decoy boxes we used for the sparrows this year.
(Don't everyone panic, we didn't let them actually lay an egg!) But it's like
they want to make sure no box is "sparrow occupied." In fact, my husband has
witnessed more than one aerial dogfight between these two bluebird males and the
sparrows. Mostly they are intent upon protecting the nestbox they were fledged
in. But this weekend they began (as I stated) to inspect the paired boxes used
by the sparrows. The EABLS sit on the roof peak, or the clothes posts, or the
birdhouses and just plain dominate the scene. It's like they are determined to
claim these boxes for themselves even if it means not making a trip south.

Here is our question: What if anything should be do about it? Should be retape
all boxes to discourage the attraction? Or would taping the boxes put them out
in the cold should they decide to winter over. It's going to be a very fearsome
winter here by all reports. I'm sure the creek will provide some nourishment,
as well as the farmers fields that surround our property. But all summer the
EABLS rejected any attempt at our feeding them mealworms. They liked to sit on
the shepherd's staff on which we hung the feeder. They just didn't like the
feeder.

We're stumped.

Hank and Karen Jarvie
Bowling Green, Ohio



Date: Sun, 15 Oct 2000 22:05:56 -0400
From: Haleya Priest
Subject: Re: [Bluebird] Strange EABL behavior???

Karen, I think you can let the bluebirds do as they please. They are very smart creatures and will migrate or not whether you tape up the boxes or not. I would consider trapping those sparrows though, as the males bond to a box, to the death, so come spring if the male is still around he could easily destroy the EABL if they try to nest in it. Or he could trap them in the box while they were exploring and kill them. Good luck. H


Karen Deeds-Jarvie wrote:

Linda Violett suggested I post my concerns so that all of you can weigh in on
the solution. I'll start with a little background:
Our baby bluebirds fledged a couple of months ago when we were at work. We
guessed that all four eggs had hatched and that there were four fledglings. The
parents apparently took them to the creek just beyond our property, because Mama
came back on and off for a few days to take a look around, but always flew away
in that direction. We figured that there wouldn't be any more activity, and
fearing that the fledglings might get caught in the nest by a sparrow, we taped
the box entrance.

About two weeks later we noticed the whole family had returned to our yard.
There were only three fledglings that we could be sure of. One for sure male,
and two possible females. The parents kept up with their regular routine of
sitting on certain objects and the babies fell suit. Soon the parents came less
often than the fledglings, who seemed very interested every time my husband
mowed the lawn.

Then about a month ago, they all stopped coming for about a week. Then just two
of the fledglings (now both identified as brightly-colored males) started
appearing several times a day. The tape on the box (where they had fledged) had
fallen off in a thunderstorm and (thinking they were already gone for the
winter) we didn't retape it. But as soon as the pair of males appeared, they
made a great show of exploring "their" box. One would sit on the halo while the
other went inside to check things out. The one male is quite a hefty fellow.
So it was comical to see him going in and out. They have been coming back a
couple of times each day, but only check the box out once a day. They've also
made a point of checking out the decoy boxes we used for the sparrows this year.
(Don't everyone panic, we didn't let them actually lay an egg!) But it's like
they want to make sure no box is "sparrow occupied." In fact, my husband has
witnessed more than one aerial dogfight between these two bluebird males and the
sparrows. Mostly they are intent upon protecting the nestbox they were fledged
in. But this weekend they began (as I stated) to inspect the paired boxes used
by the sparrows. The EABLS sit on the roof peak, or the clothes posts, or the
birdhouses and just plain dominate the scene. It's like they are determined to
claim these boxes for themselves even if it means not making a trip south.

Here is our question: What if anything should be do about it? Should be retape
all boxes to discourage the attraction? Or would taping the boxes put them out
in the cold should they decide to winter over. It's going to be a very fearsome
winter here by all reports. I'm sure the creek will provide some nourishment,
as well as the farmers fields that surround our property. But all summer the
EABLS rejected any attempt at our feeding them mealworms. They liked to sit on
the shepherd's staff on which we hung the feeder. They just didn't like the
feeder.

We're stumped.

Hank and Karen Jarvie
Bowling Green, Ohio



Date: Mon, 16 Oct 2000 06:05:18 -0500
From: "dmccue"
Subject: Re: [Bluebird] Strange EABL behavior???

Karen - I believe that the Blues are smarter in having that innate knowledge to allow God to care for them in his own way. However, your birds in Bowling Green, KY will remain for the winter as they do here in TN. Even in middle part of OH they stayed the winter. On my boxes I just clean them out and make them ready for winter roosting. My boxes are 5 1/2 inches by 4 7//8 inches that gives them ample room in inclinate winter. Yes, the Blues are claiming their nest boxes for next spring/summer. About the sparrows, if you have time, is to trap them even now in the boxes where the male sits on top and tries to control. Especially on real warm sunny days. I set my trap and have had some success.

What about you other birders?

Sure glad we have a place to share Bluebird stories and help each other do a better job, thanks Dusty.

Dan McCue in Camden, TN. 75 miles due west of Nashville on the Tennessee
River in West TN.
Member of NABS, TN Audabon Society.
President of Benton County Bluebird Society
of TN, Inc.
LAT: 36 03 50 N LONG 88 06 35 W

----- Original Message -----
From: "Karen Deeds-Jarvie"
To:
Sent: Sunday, October 15, 2000 6:59 PM
Subject: [Bluebird] Strange EABL behavior???

Linda Violett suggested I post my concerns so that all of you can weigh in on
the solution. I'll start with a little background:
Our baby bluebirds fledged a couple of months ago when we were at work. We
guessed that all four eggs had hatched and that there were four fledglings. The
parents apparently took them to the creek just beyond our property, because Mama
came back on and off for a few days to take a look around, but always flew away
in that direction. We figured that there wouldn't be any more activity, and
fearing that the fledglings might get caught in the nest by a sparrow, we taped
the box entrance.

About two weeks later we noticed the whole family had returned to our yard.
There were only three fledglings that we could be sure of. One for sure male,
and two possible females. The parents kept up with their regular routine of
sitting on certain objects and the babies fell suit. Soon the parents came less
often than the fledglings, who seemed very interested every time my husband
mowed the lawn.

Then about a month ago, they all stopped coming for about a week. Then just two
of the fledglings (now both identified as brightly-colored males) started
appearing several times a day. The tape on the box (where they had fledged) had
fallen off in a thunderstorm and (thinking they were already gone for the
winter) we didn't retape it. But as soon as the pair of males appeared, they
made a great show of exploring "their" box. One would sit on the halo while the
other went inside to check things out. The one male is quite a hefty fellow.
So it was comical to see him going in and out. They have been coming back a
couple of times each day, but only check the box out once a day. They've also
made a point of checking out the decoy boxes we used for the sparrows this year.
(Don't everyone panic, we didn't let them actually lay an egg!) But it's like
they want to make sure no box is "sparrow occupied." In fact, my husband has
witnessed more than one aerial dogfight between these two bluebird males and the
sparrows. Mostly they are intent upon protecting the nestbox they were fledged
in. But this weekend they began (as I stated) to inspect the paired boxes used
by the sparrows. The EABLS sit on the roof peak, or the clothes posts, or the
birdhouses and just plain dominate the scene. It's like they are determined to
claim these boxes for themselves even if it means not making a trip south.

Here is our question: What if anything should be do about it? Should be retape
all boxes to discourage the attraction? Or would taping the boxes put them out
in the cold should they decide to winter over. It's going to be a very fearsome
winter here by all reports. I'm sure the creek will provide some nourishment,
as well as the farmers fields that surround our property. But all summer the
EABLS rejected any attempt at our feeding them mealworms. They liked to sit on
the shepherd's staff on which we hung the feeder. They just didn't like the
feeder.

We're stumped.

Hank and Karen Jarvie
Bowling Green, Ohio



Date: Tue, 17 Oct 2000 07:13:31 -0500
From: Kathleen Oschwald
Subject: Re: [Bluebird] Strange EABL behavior???

At 07:59 PM 10/15/00 -0400, you wrote:
Linda Violett suggested I post my concerns so that all of you can weigh in on
the solution. I'll start with a little background:
Our baby bluebirds fledged a couple of months ago when we were at work. We
guessed that all four eggs had hatched and that there were four fledglings. The
parents apparently took them to the creek just beyond our property, because Mama
came back on and off for a few days to take a look around, but always flew away
in that direction. We figured that there wouldn't be any more activity, and
fearing that the fledglings might get caught in the nest by a sparrow, we taped
the box entrance.

About two weeks later we noticed the whole family had returned to our yard.
There were only three fledglings that we could be sure of. One for sure male,
and two possible females. The parents kept up with their regular routine of
sitting on certain objects and the babies fell suit. Soon the parents came less
often than the fledglings, who seemed very interested every time my husband
mowed the lawn.

Then about a month ago, they all stopped coming for about a week. Then just two
of the fledglings (now both identified as brightly-colored males) started
appearing several times a day. The tape on the box (where they had fledged) had
fallen off in a thunderstorm and (thinking they were already gone for the
winter) we didn't retape it. But as soon as the pair of males appeared, they
made a great show of exploring "their" box. One would sit on the halo while the
other went inside to check things out. The one male is quite a hefty fellow.
So it was comical to see him going in and out. They have been coming back a
couple of times each day, but only check the box out once a day. They've also
made a point of checking out the decoy boxes we used for the sparrows this year.
(Don't everyone panic, we didn't let them actually lay an egg!) But it's like
they want to make sure no box is "sparrow occupied." In fact, my husband has
witnessed more than one aerial dogfight between these two bluebird males and the
sparrows. Mostly they are intent upon protecting the nestbox they were fledged
in. But this weekend they began (as I stated) to inspect the paired boxes used
by the sparrows. The EABLS sit on the roof peak, or the clothes posts, or the
birdhouses and just plain dominate the scene. It's like they are determined to
claim these boxes for themselves even if it means not making a trip south.

Here is our question: What if anything should be do about it? Should be retape
all boxes to discourage the attraction? Or would taping the boxes put them out
in the cold should they decide to winter over. It's going to be a very fearsome
winter here by all reports. I'm sure the creek will provide some nourishment,
as well as the farmers fields that surround our property. But all summer the
EABLS rejected any attempt at our feeding them mealworms. They liked to sit on
the shepherd's staff on which we hung the feeder. They just didn't like the
feeder.

We're stumped.

Hank and Karen Jarvie
Bowling Green, Ohio
 
When you say you tape the nestboxes, are you taping the hole so no birds can get in? If so, I would say leave it off.

Although for years it has been assumed bluebirds head south fo the winter, many people have reported sightings (or heard them) during the winter, even in some of the northern states. To give them somewhere to roost on cold nights, leave at least some of the nestboxes opened and available.

Kate Oschwald
Sumner, TX
100 mi NE of Dallas



Date: Tue, 17 Oct 2000 11:50:55 EDT
From: Bluebyrder"at"aol.com
Subject: Amazing Bluebird Story!!

Diane Barbin
Harrisburg, PA

Earlier this week, I received the following email from a friend and fellow bluebirder. She has given me permission to share her story with the rest of you and ask for your observations regarding the event. I think that you will find that this story is indeed amazing!......

"I was walking my dog in the front yard and the Blues were flying from the telephone line to each of the nestboxes, etc., and foraging for food, and doing what they have been doing each day now for several weeks.

Two of the male Bluebirds started having a little sibling rivalry in mid air when all of a sudden a Tufted Titmouse had a mid air collision with them! The titmouse fell straight down from the sky (about a 20 foot drop) and landed in the middle of the yard in the center of my three nestboxes. It was stunned, and so was I.

Immediately I tied up my dog and went on the front deck to observe what would happen next.

This is the amazing part: For the next half hour, the 6 Bluebirds took turns hovering about 4 feet above that titmouse, trying to motivate it to fly. As one was hovering, the other 5 were in the nearby tree sounding like a choir! They just kept singing and singing! When the titmouse moved its wing, the chirping got louder! Honestly, it was like a crowd cheering for a team player. My telephone rang so I went inside. When I came out, the Blues were gone and so too was the tufted titmouse. I was so excited and proud of my Blues. It brightened up my day.

Have you ever heard of this sort of supportive effort among Bluebirds before?"



Date: Tue, 17 Oct 2000 15:45:58 -0400
From: "Claude V. Hall"
Subject: Re: [Bluebird] Strange EABL behavior???

Karen:

May I "stick my nose in here" a bit? Strongly suggest that you never ever block the entrances to any of your bird boxes. None of us can accurately predict when the birds may wish to use the boxes. If occupied by undesirable birds...such as house sparrows, why...just clean them out! Moreover, as discussed by Kathleen in her response to you, Bowling Green, Ohio is NOT too far north for the EABL to over-winter there, and the bluebirds certainly need unrestricted access to the boxes during the winter months.

Frankly, I see nothing strange in any of the activity that you report. They certainly do NOT need to be fed during the summer months when they are actively
breeding and raising their families. They WILL be active around and about an operating mower, because insects are being disturbed and made available to them! Your EABL will perch any place that affords them good visibility for scouting for food. Here, they perch all along overhead power/telephone lines.

Be happy, lady! It seems that you are successfully raising normal, healthy bluebirds! Just toss away that roll of tape! Good hearing from you.

Claude
~From Dandridge, Tennessee in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains~

_____________________Break___________________

Kathleen Oschwald wrote:

At 07:59 PM 10/15/00 -0400, you wrote:
Linda Violett suggested I post my concerns so that all of you can weigh in on
the solution. I'll start with a little background:
Our baby bluebirds fledged a couple of months ago when we were at work. We
guessed that all four eggs had hatched and that there were four
fledglings. The
parents apparently took them to the creek just beyond our property,
because Mama
came back on and off for a few days to take a look around, but always flew
away
in that direction. We figured that there wouldn't be any more activity, and
fearing that the fledglings might get caught in the nest by a sparrow, we
taped
the box entrance.

About two weeks later we noticed the whole family had returned to our yard.
There were only three fledglings that we could be sure of. One for sure
male,
and two possible females. The parents kept up with their regular routine of
sitting on certain objects and the babies fell suit. Soon the parents
came less
often than the fledglings, who seemed very interested every time my husband
mowed the lawn.

Then about a month ago, they all stopped coming for about a week. Then
just two
of the fledglings (now both identified as brightly-colored males) started
appearing several times a day. The tape on the box (where they had
fledged) had
fallen off in a thunderstorm and (thinking they were already gone for the
winter) we didn't retape it. But as soon as the pair of males appeared, they
made a great show of exploring "their" box. One would sit on the halo
while the
other went inside to check things out. The one male is quite a hefty fellow.
So it was comical to see him going in and out. They have been coming back a
couple of times each day, but only check the box out once a day. They've
also
made a point of checking out the decoy boxes we used for the sparrows this
year.
(Don't everyone panic, we didn't let them actually lay an egg!) But it's
like
they want to make sure no box is "sparrow occupied." In fact, my husband has
witnessed more than one aerial dogfight between these two bluebird males
and the
sparrows. Mostly they are intent upon protecting the nestbox they were
fledged
in. But this weekend they began (as I stated) to inspect the paired boxes
used
by the sparrows. The EABLS sit on the roof peak, or the clothes posts, or
the
birdhouses and just plain dominate the scene. It's like they are
determined to
claim these boxes for themselves even if it means not making a trip south.

Here is our question: What if anything should be do about it? Should be
retape
all boxes to discourage the attraction? Or would taping the boxes put
them out
in the cold should they decide to winter over. It's going to be a very
fearsome
winter here by all reports. I'm sure the creek will provide some
nourishment,
as well as the farmers fields that surround our property. But all summer the
EABLS rejected any attempt at our feeding them mealworms. They liked to
sit on
the shepherd's staff on which we hung the feeder. They just didn't like the
feeder.

We're stumped.

Hank and Karen Jarvie
Bowling Green, Ohio

== For help: http://fsinc.com/wildbirds/Bluebird/List ==


When you say you tape the nestboxes, are you taping the hole so no birds
can get in? If so, I would say leave it off.

Although for years it has been assumed bluebirds head south fo the winter,
many people have reported sightings (or heard them) during the winter, even
in some of the northern states. To give them somewhere to roost on cold
nights, leave at least some of the nestboxes opened and available.
Kate Oschwald
Sumner, TX
100 mi NE of Dallas


Date: Tue, 17 Oct 2000 17:39:34 -0700
From: Linda Violett
Subject: Re: [Bluebird] Amazing Bluebird Story!!

Linda Violett - Yorba Linda, Calif.

The only thing I've seen that comes close to your friend's experience (bluebird cheering squad) was a box of western bluebirds in the midst of a fledge out of a standard 1-hole box. The parents were comfortable with me so I sat down, leaned against a tree and waited several minutes for them to ignore me and go about their business. Fledglings already out of the box eventually began chirping as if encouraging the next nestling out. The newest to fledge would then become the loudest cheerleader for the others still in the box.

Being able to witness little scenes such as this are the rewards of spending time (picnics) at your sites, perhaps bringing "hello" mealworms at checkup time, making eye contact while speaking to the birds, clapping away sparrows and hawks, softly lamenting a dead baby in their nest . . . there are dozens of ways to strengthen the trust bond.  Then, if you *do* happen to see something interesting you'd like to watch, they won't mind if you make yourself comfortable while they go about their business.

One of the nicest things that happened to me last year was at a site during a checkup; the parents were calm and comfortable with me. All of
a sudden, they gave the alarm call and flitted to new positions. I glanced around and spotted a human approaching . . . really made me feel
special.

Bluebyrder"at"aol.com wrote:

Diane Barbin
Harrisburg, PA

Earlier this week, I received the following email from a friend and fellow
bluebirder. For the next half hour, the 6 Bluebirds took turns
hovering about 4 feet above that titmouse, trying to motivate it to fly. As
one was hovering, the other 5 were in the nearby tree sounding like a choir!
They just kept singing and singing! When the titmouse moved its wing, the
chirping got louder! Honestly, it was like a crowd cheering for a team
player. My telephone rang so I went inside.
Have you ever heard of this sort of supportive effort among Bluebirds before?"
 



Date: Wed, 18 Oct 2000 17:37:04 -0700
From: "judymellin"
Subject: amazing stories!

A number of years ago, I had the amazing pleasure of watching a box of EABLs fledge. Since my trail is on an open grassland where I monitor over 175 species, I don't get to concentrate on the boxes as a lot you are able to do so I probably miss many of these wonderful sightings but this is one I'll never forget!

I was moving from one box to another when I was startled by a great deal of squawking and flapping. I looked over to see three baby blues stacked like a totem pole with their heads out of the box. In a multiflora rose nearby were two adults males jumping and flapping and making themselves very well known. They had the wonderful lime green caterpillar that our grassland species thrive on in their beaks and they were waving their heads back and forth to entice the young out of the box.

It took the LOOOOONGEST time but, one by one, out came the young, testing their wings on the 25 foot flight from the box to the bush. As each one emerged, the adults waved their pompoms- ok, their green caterpillars!- and made a party.

It's the only time I have been lucky enough to be at the right place at the right time in the 8 years I have monitored this trail but it is something I'll never forget. And, every year, I live with the hope that I'll witness it again!

Judy Mellin
Palatine, IL.



Date: Fri, 20 Oct 2000 13:09:05 -0400
From: Bill & Dot Forrester
Subject: bluebirds attacking chipmonk

Hi all - Over the years, I have watched bluebirds during nesting season sound the alarm call and attempt to chase off house sparrows, tree swallows, crows, squirrels, cats, and garter snakes, and children. They do not seem to be especially effective at this, either - usually I have to "help". But let a chipmonk appear, and the bluebirds turn absolutely vicious. I just watched 3 bluebirds, 2 females and 1 male, attack a chipmonk out back on my tumbledown rock wall. Nesting season is long gone, but they dove at the chipmonk so hard that I was sure they would crash headfirst into the rocks. Poor guy didn't know which way to turn! Bluebirds chased it out of the wall through my neighbor's yard and out of sight. And they made no sound or call at all the entire time. Has anyone else noticed this special aggressiveness toward chipmonks? If bluebirds attacked their other enemies as violently and efficiently as this, they would have a lot less trouble with competitors and predators.

Dot (Lake Ontario snowbelt, north of Syracuse, NY)



Date: Fri, 20 Oct 2000 10:43:15 -0700
From: "Dusty Bleher"
Subject: Re: [Bluebird] bluebirds attacking chipmonk

Wow! I had no idea the timid little birds that I see, were so aggressive!

Dusty Bleher
San Jose, Ca.
----- Original Message -----
From: "Bill & Dot Forrester"
To: "bluebird"
Sent: Friday, October 20, 2000 10:09
Subject: [Bluebird] bluebirds attacking chipmonk

Hi all - Over the years, I have watched bluebirds during nesting season
sound the alarm call and attempt to chase off house sparrows, tree
swallows, crows, squirrels, cats, and garter snakes, and children. They
do not seem to be especially effective at this, either - usually I have
to "help". But let a chipmonk appear, and the bluebirds turn absolutely
vicious. I just watched 3 bluebirds, 2 females and 1 male, attack a
chipmonk out back on my tumbledown rock wall. Nesting season is long
gone, but they dove at the chipmonk so hard that I was sure they would
crash headfirst into the rocks. Poor guy didn't know which way to turn!
Bluebirds chased it out of the wall through my neighbor's yard and out
of sight. And they made no sound or call at all the entire time. Has
anyone else noticed this special aggressiveness toward chipmonks? If
bluebirds attacked their other enemies as violently and efficiently as
this, they would have a lot less trouble with competitors and predators.

Dot (Lake Ontario snowbelt, north of Syracuse, NY)
 



Date: Mon, 23 Oct 2000 21:21:12 -0500
From: "Sandy Simmons"
To:
Subject: Fw: Bluebird's Strange Habits

Sandy Sammons Simmons
----- Original Message -----
From: "Sandy Simmons"
To:
Sent: Monday, October 16, 2000 4:54 AM
Subject: Bluebird's Strange Habits


We live in Hermann, Missouri, about 75 miles west of St. Louis, MO. Last
Spring, we had a bluebird that kept trying to fly into our home's
north-facing windows. Then we saw one sitting on one of our vehicle's
mirrors,
pecking at his/her reflection...and also flying into the mirror. We're
assuming the bird sees its reflection in the window, but we're not sure.
Now the bluebird is back this Fall, trying to get into the windows again.
Is there
something we can do to help this poor, confused bird? Thanks.

Sandy


Date: Tue, 24 Oct 2000 11:13:26 -0400
From: Joyce Sobey
To: "'BLUEBIRD-L"at"cornell.edu'"
Subject: Re: Fw: Bluebird's Strange Habits

Hi Sandy,
I have not noticed this behavior in my bluebirds in the fall, but in the spring, it is a constant effort on their part to come into the windows. Actually, it is the male that continuously tries to come in. Since, I believe it is the male who selects the nest site and hope the females approves and starts a nest, I assume since he probably sees a hugh "dark" cavity he is trying to check it out as a possible nest site. Very ambitious on his part, huh? I can see Mrs. Bluebird thinking, "I am NOT filling up that big space with nesting materials. Find something smaller!" Our male bluebird goes from window to window, never hitting it hard, just landing on the sill and gently tries to enter. I've tried to discourage him by showing up at the window or leaving something in site, such as a chair, flower, etc., but it doesn't work. He finally gives up and goes to one of the "substandard" nest boxes we have around. I've learned not to clean the windows until they actually start a nest. :-)

I'm glad you brought this up, because I don't remember it being discussed this past spring on here, but wonder how many others have noticed this behavior.

Joyce Sobey, Powhatan, VA

Sandy Simmons wrote:

Sandy Sammons Simmons
----- Original Message -----
From: "Sandy Simmons"
To:
Sent: Monday, October 16, 2000 4:54 AM
Subject: Bluebird's Strange Habits

We live in Hermann, Missouri, about 75 miles west of St. Louis, MO. Last
Spring, we had a bluebird that kept trying to fly into our home's
north-facing windows. Then we saw one sitting on one of our vehicle's
mirrors,
pecking at his/her reflection...and also flying into the mirror. We're
assuming the bird sees its reflection in the window, but we're not sure.
Now the bluebird is back this Fall, trying to get into the windows again.
Is there
something we can do to help this poor, confused bird? Thanks.

Sandy
 



Date: Fri, 16 Feb 2001 12:03:44 -0800 (PST)
From: Horace Sher hjsher1"at"yahoo.com
To: Bluebird-l"at"cornell.edu
Subject: Acorns being put in a nestbox... mystery

To anyone who knows...I built a nestbox last year for hopefully 1 of these birds... C. Chickadee, White-breasted Nuthatch, or Tufted-Titmouse. I put the box high on a nearby Willow Oak tree. This was I think last year.. spring (2000). No nesting in it last year. But since then, the above birds have been checking it out. Also, our Red-bellied Woodpecker this winter has enlarged the hole to around 1 1/2 in. primarily I believe to try to get in to get the acorns that some mystery bird has put in the box. Lately the Woodpecker has stopped working on enlarging the hole, but from time to time I saw him get some acorns out through the large gap opening in the bottom. Originally the hole was around 1 1/4 - 1 3/8 in. Have also seen a EABL now go into the box..since hole now is big enough. I have never seen any bird take acorns into this box. Same thing happened in another nearby nestbox last winter(1999-2000) (actually a EABL box)...no nest..just acorns LINED up neatly along the edge. At that time, I did remove those acorns. Later, the EABL nested in that one last spring. All this is just background information. My question is...does anyone know with good certainty what bird put those acorns in there? And also should I leave the acorns in there or remove them? Will leaving them in there affect any birds desire..if you will... of wanting to nest in there? Thanks for any replies....Horace in NC.

=====


Date: Fri, 16 Feb 2001 18:03:09 -0500
From: Wendell Long mrsimple"at"go-concepts.com
To: Bluebird-l"at"cornell.edu
Subject: Re: Acorns being put in a nestbox... mystery

Harace and all.....No kidding around, I had a dream an Acorn Woodpecker put acorns in my hair, so when I read your post I thought an Acorn Woodpecker may have put acorns in your box, but the maid said they live out west only. Or maybe it was a Red-bellied--they like to stick things all around. They put peanuts in cracks at home all time. Some day I will not be surprised to see a Peanut tree growing from my gatekeepers deck. My third guess would be a Carolina wren. One of my staff thinks it is a Chipmunk. They seem to like to peep into things as you know.

Wendell


Date: Fri, 16 Feb 2001 23:13:20 -0600
From: "Keith & Sandy Kridler" kridler"at"1starnet.com
To: "BLUEBIRD-L" BLUEBIRD-L"at"cornell.edu
Subject: Re:Acorns

Keith Kridler Mt. Pleasant, Texas

Flying squirrels often will stuff acorns and other nuts in nestboxes and one time they filled all the hollow rungs in an aluminum ladder I left standing up against a tree. When they dropped a nut it would clang on the rungs. They would stuff chunks of bark in the open ends to hide their winter cache. They can enter nestboxes with 1&1/4" round holes in the south. I saw the first flock of geese heading north today just before the cold front hit us, I imagine they turned around and fired their leader! It is supposed to be in the mid 20's again tonight. KK


Is this Strange Bluebird Behavior? Or what? (Part 2)


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lign="left"> For more information about Bluebird_L, check out http://www.cit.corn.edu/cit-pubs/email/using-lists/index.htm. If you wish to contact the author of a post, you will need to edit the e-mail address, replacing "at" with the "at" symbol (above the number 2 on your keyboard). (This change was made to discourage spammers.)
If you are the author of a posting and would like to see a particular post (or posts) removed from these web pages, please contact me with the page AND date of the post(s), and I will remove whatever material you like.  If you have a different opinion from one posted here, you need not contact me, as often I will have a different opinion too. The intent is to try and provide both sides to the issues facing bluebirders, and to do so in an impartial and objective manner.
If you have problems, encounter broken links (unless they are within an e-mail thread, as I do not maintain those links), or have suggestions on how the site can be improved to make it more useful, please contact the Best of Bluebird-L Classifieds webmaster
Website design by Chimalis