A bluebird tragedy …

I apologize that I haven’t reported on the bluebirds recently.  I’ve been so bummed out, I just couldn’t find the motivation to post.  We lost Mama to a neighborhood cat.  I think the babies were not fed for a couple of days before I noticed.  They were so weak I could not force food down them and none of them survived.

Poor Daddy is so confused.  He called for Mama for days to no avail.  He would gather up a mouthful of mealworms and fly away with them, which is strange behavior.  I even wondered if Mama could be injured somewhere and he was feeding her.  Now he is not spending much time in the yard. I called him yesterday morning and he came for some worms and then left.  I’ll try again this morning.  I want to keep him bonded to this site in hopes he finds another mate.

I havthunderbird 028e run off a neighbor’s cat several times for stalking the nest box and my birdbath.  The day after Mama went missing my cockatiel Peaches set off an extra loud alarm call, which generally means there is an animal in the back yard.  As I walked to the door I watched the same cat jump five-feet in the air and take a House Finch off a tray feeder.  After witnessing this I suspect it took Mama from the nestbox as she fed babies.

House cats and window strikes are the two most common non-natural causes of mortality in songbirds.  Folks, don’t allow your cats to roam and kill animals.  Where I live, it’s not only unethical and unneighborly, but also illegal.  I attempted to have a conversation with the owner of this cat.   When I asked if she thought it was ethical to allow her cat to come to my yard and stalk my feeders, her response was “There’s lots of birds!”  Yes, my blood boiled, but I bit my tongue.

It’s tough to lose an animal that is like a pet– almost family.  One you see and feed every day and you’ve watched for years.  But, life goes on.  I hope Daddy finds a new mate and returns to nest here.  I’ll take legal means to deal with the cat owner and her cat.  This won’t happen again!

Photo is the last picture I took of Mama.

Second Brood 2015

  • First sign of nest building                                                  11 May
  • Nest completed                                                                    14 May
  • First egg                                                                                 15 May
  • Second egg                                                                            16 May
  • Third egg                                                                               17 May
  • Fourth egg                                                                             18 May
  • Fifth egg                                                                                 19 May
  • Incubation begins                                                                20 May
  • Three eggs hatch                                                                  01 June
  • Two eggs hatch                                                                     02 June
  • All babies succumb                                                              17 June




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.
This entry was posted in Birding, Bluebirds, Nature, nature photography, Oklahoma, photography, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

13 Responses to A bluebird tragedy …

  1. Dori. Schneider says:

    So very sad. Sorry to read the sad post.

  2. markcromwell says:

    Sorry for your loss Lindell. Do enjoy your observations and knowledge. Mark

  3. Cindy says:

    I am so sorry for your loss ! A rats snake got got my first brood this season and just broke my heart ! Good news imams and daddy came back and we had 3 new babies that just fledged yesterday 🙂 hoping to see them soon

  4. Heartbreaking. So sorry to hear this-I know you are heartbroken too. Most people do not think too much about birds-I didn’t think too much about them either until I noticed there were few in my yard-I started putting out feeders and- voila! Now I am in love and cherish these tiny beautiful miracles. We birders have such a different perspective on the danger of roaming cats. It is hard to educate people about how cats are decimating the song bird populations. I have a cat, but she is elderly-I never thought too much about her roaming in her earlier years- until I fell in love with blue birds. Now I keep her on a side porch. Cats roaming in neighborhoods are not good for birds or cats. When she is gone I won’t have another cat-too hard to keep them inside. Take care Lindell, thanks for letting us know.

  5. Tim Wilson says:


  6. Margaret says:

    Lindell, that’s gutwrenching. I’m so sorry that this has happened. Your precious birds. No wonder you’ve not felt like posting an update.

    I agree, cats have no place in the external environment. Native species have a tough enough battle without cats causing additional devastation. Don’t get me wrong. I love cats, but they should never be allowed outside unless they are safely contained in an cat enclosure or on a leash. We adopted a 9 week old kitten via the local cat haven just two weeks ago. He will never be an outside cat.

    PS: Your neighbour is an idiot.

  7. Dianne Alger says:

    Sorry to hear about your experience.

  8. Juliana Michael says:

    My heart is breaking…too. Im saddened to tears.

    Juliana Baum-Michael Metro Brokers of Oklahoma mobile:405-409-3610 fax: 405-701-1716 julianammichael@gmail.com

    “Service is the rent we pay for the privilege of living on this earth. It is the very purpose of life, and not something you do in your spare time” Shirley Chisholm


  9. roughrustics says:

    So sorry to hear this news. I know what you mean about feeling close to the birds and other creatures you observe. Such a pointless way to lose a beautiful bird.

  10. pamcolander says:

    I’d been checking your blog every few days and wondered what was going on. I was hoping you were on an extended vacation….not this! We lost a whole box full of near fledgling northern flickers to a bear a week ago. Thought we had it stymied with bear unwelcome mats but it ripped the box down anyway and tolerated stepping on the spiked board. One survived by scooting under the nearby porch and parents found and continued to feed it. I can forgive a bear somewhat, but a free roaming cat, never!!! So sorry to hear this news and do let us know what happens with your dealings with the owner of this feline pest.

  11. Rose Marie B says:

    I’m so sorry Lindell and I have to agree with Margaret…your neighbor IS an idiot! I loved this little Mama and I hope Daddy finds a new mate soon. I don’t know why you couldn’t trap unwanted cats in your yard, just like you do the sparrows. “There are plenty of cats in shelters” would be a comparable response to your neighbor…but I know you’re too kind to do that. I’m so mad about this loss, I just like to fantasize about retribution. Hugs to you.

  12. Tracy P says:

    I was saddened to read about what happened to your mama bluebird. I can’t imagine how you must feel since she was such a treasured part of your life.
    I wish you success in dealing with your neighbour and getting her cat to not be allowed in your yard and roaming free.
    Thank you for trying to save the babies.

  13. Adele says:

    Hi Lindell, I am so sorry that you lost your female Bluebird and her babies and about how it all happened. My heart goes out to you. Please don’t despair … there is always hope. I am in West Virginia, and this is our first year of putting up Bluebird boxes. We lost our female earlier this summer, after she laid five eggs and then abandoned them. Unfortunately, we have roaming cats around here, but I hadn’t seen them show any interest in the two nest boxes, which are mounted on 3/8″ poles. After the female abandoned her eggs, the male kept hanging around the box, and, to our great delight, attracted a new mate, who apparently removed the previous female’s five eggs. The new female ended up laying four eggs, and the four babies fledged this past Wednesday, July 22nd. I was expecting the fledging date to be Thursday, the 23rd, so on Wednesday morning I took pictures of the nest box with at least one chick peeking out. I hadn’t opened the nest box door in a week, and I did not do that on Wednesday morning, either. However, by Wednesday evening, the parents had not been around, and there were no chicks in the nest. I hope I didn’t cause the chicks to fledge prematurely by hanging around the box on Wednesday morning and taking pictures like I did. I had estimated the age of the oldest chick to be 17 days, but perhaps I was incorrect in my estimation of the hatching date, which could have been a day earlier. At any rate, here is my blog post from June about the female Bluebird abandoning her eggs prior to the new female showing up (at the time I did not know that a new female would show up). I have entered subsequent posts, but have not yet posted about the babies fledging on Wednesday. “I’ve Got the Bluebird Blues”: http://barnswallowfriends.blogspot.com/2015/06/ive-got-bluebird-blues.html

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