Blue bird nest on rain barrel

aezarien(7b)May 7, 2010

My husbands father built us a bird house and I had it sitting on my rain barrels by my front porch until I could figure out where I want it. Well, I spotted eggs in it over the past few weeks and now there are babies.

My concerns are #1 every time we come around from the back or come in or out the front door the mama flies out of the nest. I don't mind that she does that but I do worry that we are worrying her to death. #2 the environment.. when it rains, the house it sitting under a gutter that spills over sometimes and the top on the house isn't solid and underneath the water puddles up in the rim of the barrel. The bottom isn't so much a concern because I'm pretty sure it doesn't get deep enough to get into the house. Anyway, when it is sunny, it is hot as sin up there and the rain barrels produce a lot of humidity. Is this nest going to be okay there? Should I leave it there no matter what happens or should I try to slowly move it until it is in a shadier spot? I have about two feet of concrete behind the rain barrels that stays dry and is shady/more private but it would have to go on the ground for those conditions to remain. I would think the mama could find the bird house by listening for the babies but they are not making any noise yet. The only way I know they are in there is that there little mouths pop up every now and then lol.

Anyway.. any information would be greatly appreciated. Just don't know too much about birds except you are not supposed to touch them.

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tamelask(z8a NC)

Actually, bbirds are one of the ones that will not only let you touch but handle their babies. But that aside, they will only be in the nest about 15 days. She sat in there for 15 days or so to incubate them, so she's aware of the conditions. It's to be cooler next week, and by that time i'd guess they'll be more than halfway to fledging. i think i'd just leave them be. is there anything you could attach way over the box to divert the rain gully for a few days? I don't think you'll worry her to death- they come & go pretty much constantly to feed the wee ones anyhow. When it *might* be detrimental is at night. I don't know if it's true but i read in a book that a mom bird, if scared away at night won't return to her nest that night. That could potentially kill the wee ones by their temp dropping too much. That said, i'm not so sure i buy that line of thinking- i know lots of folks who've had nests built in plants right by or in wreaths on their front doors and they managed ok. Not bbirds, but still. They get very acclimated to people being around.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2010 at 8:39PM
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lol.. that is what my husband pretty much said.. about her being aware of the environment.

I was thinking I could tack some contact paper over the cracks in the top but that would keep the hot air from escaping through the top. It'll be on my mind until I figure it out though so I will figure out something.

I came out one day when it was raining and the poor thing flew out into the rain and sat all soaked in one of my hanging plants under the porch until it quit raining. That's the new rule in the house lol.. if it is raining.. nobody is allowed to open the door. How long do you think after the babies come out would it be okay to move the bird house?

Thank you so much for all the information. I'm just a big dumb human that doesn't know what to do with all these babies when they show up in the Spring lol.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2010 at 9:46PM
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tamelask(z8a NC)

once the babies fledge, they are gone for good. They don't use the box after that. They will often use the same box for up to 3 subsequent generations in a summer, so once the activity has ceased, get that thing moved! Don't move it far (if you have a good spot) and don't clean out the nest and they very well may come back. The neat thing with blues is that the 1st gen of babies help to feed their subsequent sibs as the summer rolls on. Too cute.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2010 at 10:59PM
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OIt takes 14 days for eggs to hatch. For first 12 days, you can even look at the babies. For days 12-21, if you startle them too much, the babies will fledge too early and likely die. I found a snake on the bird house post, so I would worry about predators. This is our first experience, so I've been asking lots of questions.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2010 at 12:19PM
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Once everything can be moved I can actually empty the rain barrel and move the whole barrel back behind the others where it is completely under the roof and the plants on my rain barrels will provide some shade so it doesn't get so hot in there.

The bird house was made to house birds but it isn't like the ones that have panels and such that you can open up and clean out etc. It is sturdy and very heavy for its size so I don't know. I was thinking of plugging it up but they have built nests in worse places. I'm thinking of buying a bird house to replace that one with that is specifically made for them... we have bluebirds nest somewhere between the houses every year and this is the first year it hasn't been in some strange place. Last year it was in a hanging basket type door arrangement at the neighbor's house. I don't know, it's just one of those things. I love the birds and I am grateful they like hanging out but I try to let nature do what it does, even if it isn't pretty sometimes. On that same note, if they are going to insist on nesting, I feel like the least I can do is provide a reasonable place for them to do it lol.

Anyway, thanks again for all the helpful information. Hopefully they will be okay in there for now once I figure out the overhang thing!

    Bookmark   May 8, 2010 at 9:41PM
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tamelask(z8a NC)

It is the most amazing thing if you get box you can open and see the babies or handle them each day to see the startling amount of growth/changes every single day! Our boxes are right under the power line and the parents will sit on the line and watch us and sometimes chirp, but they are a- ok with their babies being handled as long as you don't let them get chilled and are gentle. I learned the hard way to stop trying to hold them after 12 days when i made one batch fledge early. Kept trying to put them back in, but it was too late and the parents really got mad about that. I don't think we've ever had a nest that went much beyond 16 days though, so it's interesting that they are supposed to stay in 21 days. I don't even open the box after day 12.

Yes, predators love blues (any baby bird). When you figure out where you want to put a house, make sure cats, coons or snakes can't get to it. Grease the pole or use a baffle or mount the box in such a way that nothing can get in. BTW, the big boxes sell very reasonably priced cedar blue houses- like $12 last i looked. You may very well get some competition from titmice or chickadees- they all like the same size, so you could get multiples and hang them (titmice are the fiercest mamas- they won't budge and will hunker down and hiss at you!). Blues happily nest close to the others but won't nest close to their own kind. And they love to have a choice of boxes. Some years i've had 3 out of my 4 boxes full. The only ones you may want to evict if the get into the box would be the alien house finches. Knock on wood, i've never had it be a problem, but have head from others that it can be.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2010 at 11:36PM
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Yeah, we will definitely need to find ways to secure the box once the birds are out of it. I have this weird karma thing going on here and don't want to jinx myself by talking about the pests we don't have. Sure as I say it, it'll be a problem in the near future lol. I know we do have snakes abound though!

So I guess they should be okay. We don't get a lot of company so even though it is out front, not a lot of traffic flows through there. When it gets around that 12 day mark (I think we are on day three of them hatching)we will just come and go as little and as quietly as possible and give the box a wide berth.

That's odd that they would be more comfortable around different birds but not their own. I'm sure they have their reasons though lol.

    Bookmark   May 9, 2010 at 10:20AM
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Sorry I was unclear, Tammy. What I was told was that they fledge between days 12-21, not that they necessarily take 21 days. At day 21 I was told to clean out the nest for next batch.

    Bookmark   May 10, 2010 at 7:01AM
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tamelask(z8a NC)

ah! Makes sense. No worries- i was just surprised since none of my nests have taken that long. So you were told to clean between each batch? I never heard/read that and my bb's have just top dressed a bit before and used the same nest as many as 3x in one season if they were happy. Wonder if that's to keep parasites/vermin down. i figured i was saving them a little trouble but maybe i was causing some. The 'dees and titmice build a higher nest than the blues do, so once they are done i usually clean theirs. I had heard it was dangerous predator wise if they got too close to the hole. I always clean them out in winter or early spring for the next year no matter what, though.

    Bookmark   May 10, 2010 at 11:10AM
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