Birds

Nesting Season Part VII: Troubleshooting

By inviting wild birds, during nesting season, in your backyard, you will come across a variety of experiences and scenarios. Below are just a few of the situations you might find yourself in during nesting season.

Dead Birds and Missing Eggs

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HOSP Attack. Image Credit: Animal Perspectives.

Finding dead birds in, around, or on top, of a nesting box is never fun. Sometimes birds (this also includes nestlings) die of exposure, parasites, or are killed by predators or avian competitors (see “Nesting Season Part VI: Problem Birds“).  This is all part of the natural cycle of a bird’s life. We can only do our best to monitor, report, and document these instances.

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EABL near-Fledglings that Died of Exposure. Image Credit: Animal Perspectives.

Most predation occurs at night, therefore, you will not see the culprit, but should you happen upon a nest that is actively being attacked by a predator, do not engage. Maintain a safe distance. 

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CACH Nest that Fell Victim to, Most Likely, a Raccoon. Image Credit: Animal Perspectives.

At times you might notice that eggs are missing or nests are gone. Do your best to document what you see by taking photos with your iPhone or camera. That way you can do a little investigating of your own. Don’t hesitate to contact me with questions via the contact form.

Wasps

If you come across a nest that has been infested with wasps…good luck. Using Dr. Bronner’s Unscented Baby Soap to apply a thin layer on the inside of the roof will help discourage wasps from buildings nests.

Missing Boxes

Occasionally a PVC cavity will go missing. Or you will find a PVC cavity detached from its base. The most likely culprit is a predator. Foxes (and deer) can knock a PVC cavity off of its base. Do your best to secure the PVC cavity back on to the base.

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Nestlings Out of the Nest

Should you come across live birds, that are not ready to fledge, outside the nest, put them back in the nest. See NestWatch for more details. The bird in the photo below is a fledgling, that means it is ready to leave the nest and has found its way out. Do not put birds that look like this back!

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Eastern Bluebird Fledgling. Image Credit: Animal Perspectives.

Completed Nesting Cycle

You will be able to tell if a nesting cycle is complete by the state of the nesting box. A nest that has gone through a complete nesting cycle will be matted down to the bottom of the PVC cavity and visibly soiled — dump out the contents. Birds will not reuse a nest that has been soiled/matted to the bottom of the PVC cavity — they will rebuild.

Stay tuned!

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Also read…

It’s a Sin to Kill a Mockingbird, but not for Hawks

Nesting Season Part III: The Right Box for You

Wordless Wednesday: Red-Winged Blackbird

Where the Screech Owl Wasn’t

5 Birds to Know in the Northeast this Spring

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