Eggs destroyed

Without question the most deplorable event in the history of American ornithology was the introduction of the English Sparrow.” -W.L. Dawson, The Birds of Ohio, 1903

IMG_4905 ldTragedy struck the red dirt hill today.  All five of the bluebird eggs were destroyed.  It happened in just minutes.  I mowed the back lawn and the nestbox was fine.  Mama flew out at the sound of the mower, but hung around the back yard.  I mowed the side of the house which took maybe five minutes and returned to edge along the patio.  Then I saw an egg with a large hole pecked in it laying on the edge of the patio.  I found the remaining little blue eggs with holes pecked in them nearby.

I suppose this isn’t as bad as having babies killed, but it still hurts.  Both the bluebirds are hanging around the back yard and Mama II acts confused.  Keeps flying from her perch to the nestbox and checking it.

When Mama started this clutch, there were 8 sparrows hanging around the feeders. I had trapped 7.  Only one male HOSP remains and he is the culprit.  He was sitting on the box when I discovered the eggs and has returned several times.  He already has a new female with him.  The House Sparrow Hotel remains open with a male HOSP inside as a decoy. The males are much more difficult to trap than the females.

I’m not sure how long it will take Mama to ovulate again.  I’m sure she will try for another brood though.  I just ordered a Gilbertson nestbox made from PVC.  Supposedly HOSP’s don’t like them.  I had already removed the white millet I’d had out to attract buntings.  Normally I don’t feed anything but black sunflower because the sparrows aren’t fond of it, but most other songbirds will eat it.

We have been lucky in our bluebird hosting so far. This is our fifth season and our first casualties from sparrows.  But, it just takes a moment and a brood or the adults can be killed.  In a day or two I’m going to post more about what to do to prevent bluebird deaths from sparrows.

Visit my flickr stream to see more nature pics 

2013 Second Brood  Summary:

  • First sign of nest building                05 May
  • Nest completed                                  10  May
  • First egg                                               12 May
  • Second egg                                          13 May
  • Third egg                                             14 May
  • Fourth egg                                           15 May
  • Fifth egg                                               16 May
  • Incubation begins                              17 May
  • All eggs destroyed                              19 May

About lindell dillon

Lindell Dillon is retired and lives in Norman, OK. He grew up in Duncan, attended Cameron College and graduated from the University of Oklahoma. His interests include photography, nature, birding, and investing. Oklahoma Master Naturalist, alumnus Norman Police Department Citizens Academy.
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13 Responses to Eggs destroyed

  1. Nell Reed says:

    I am so sorry to hear the sparrows destroying your bluebird eggs. I have learned much from your postings and have had one family of bluebirds this year.

  2. Kimberly Roulet says:

    So sad…

  3. Rose Marie B says:

    Oh Lindell, I’m so sorry! I just showed my husband the picture of the 2nd bunch last night. I’m learning to hate sparrows! 😦

  4. Margaret says:

    Lindell, I’m so sorry about the destruction of the eggs. That must be gut wrenching. Introduced species cause untold havoc on native species.

  5. Deirdra says:

    I’m so sorry to hear that the eggs were destroyed. Have you ever tried using a sparrow spooker? I had one up last year and it worked great. This year I have two boxes but have been lazy about the spooker. Your post alarmed me, so I will be putting it up today! I hope Momma II stays around and they have another clutch soon.

  6. miaof3 says:

    Oh my goodness! I’m so sorry about that! I had no idea that sparrows were so nasty! Hopefully momma will lay more eggs! I so enjoy your posts and pictures!

  7. pamcolander says:

    😦 %^$# HOSPs………

  8. Dori Schneider says:

    You are very wise in ordering a Gilbertson BB house and will not regret the purchase. After much research on nesting boxes for bluebirds, I ordered this type of house in my attempt to attract bluebirds. BB’s love this type of house. I have not had any trouble with sparrows. I am very attached to my bluebirds and hope we do not have the heat this summer. This is my second year in ‘bluebirding’. Good luck!

  9. Jo Ann Wilkinson, Illinois says:

    I, too, have had problems with sparrows killing my tree swallows in the nest. This year, I am lucky to have bluebirds at the edge of my property. I don’t have many HOSP’s due to only feeding sunflower seeds and taking in my feeders at night. Even though I am in a wooded area, they do not seem to be around much. I have also put up only a couple house wren houses this year, on the opposite side of my house.
    Holding my breath for baby bluebirds!
    Enjoy your comments very much!

  10. lindell dillon says:

    Received the Gilbertson house and placed it on the pole last night. The adults and two juvies came for breakfast and paid it no mind. Daddy ran the two juvies off the mealworms. I think the juvies are pretty much on their own at 40 days of age.

    • pamcolander says:

      Good luck with the Gilbertson. Our BBs are finally to the egg laying phase. They absolutely do not acknowledge the mealworms I put out. Maybe when they have several screaming mouths to feed they’ll reconsider 😉

      • lindell dillon says:

        Are you using live mealworms? Mine won’t touch the dried ones.

      • Jo Ann says:

        I am in Chicago suburb. Happy to report that I have my first family of BB’s. The parents are back and forth feeding the little ones. Don’t know how many as I do not want to open the nest and peek! Also have a family of tree swallows in another house.
        I have had tree swallows killed, assume by House Sparrows. Was very upset!
        This year, (so far) have had great results.
        Holding my breath!
        Jo Ann
        p.s. also tried dried mealworms. Only attracted robins so discontinued.

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