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Birdhouse falls off shelf, kills baby titmice. Will parents start new nest?

By Gary Bogue
Wednesday, April 20th, 2011 at 5:40 am in Babies, Birds.

Titmice using birdhouse in middle. Photo by Doris Petersen, San Ramon, CA
1birdhouse doris petersen san ramon

Gary:
I made a sad discovery this morning. A birdhouse with a nest of baby birds had fallen off the shelf on my deck. I suspect it was a neighbor’s cat that I had seen earlier in the morning. Or maybe it was larger birds. I don’t know, but I put it back up on the shelf  where it had been. Right away the titmouse parents were there wanting to go in to feed the babies. After a few times of going into the house and not returning, I knew the babies must be dead. I opened it a little while later and there were 7 dead baby birds inside. I could have cried.  I took the birds out and have left the nest in the bird house, or should I clean out the nest too? Above is a picture I took last week of the titmouse mama or papa going in to feed.
Doris Petersen, San Ramon, California

Doris:
I’m very sorry about the loss of the baby birds. So sad. I’d leave the nest in the bird house. There’s a good chance those titmice parents might come back to start another family. They often do that when they lose their chicks. Cross your fingers!

If the neighbor’s cat knocked down your birdhouse, you might consider relocating it to a new spot where the cat can’t reach it. Or maybe you can figure out a way to keep the cat away from the house at its present location. /Gary

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5 Responses to “Birdhouse falls off shelf, kills baby titmice. Will parents start new nest?”

  1. Jan Campbell Says:

    We have a large yard backing up against Mt. Diablo State Park. About six weeks ago a small cottontail bunny moved in and is now eating our roses. It looks like a child’s pet. Can you help find its owner?

  2. Gary Bogue Says:

    Jan: Pet rabbits don’t travel very far. A block at most. Best way to find out if it is someone’s pet is to make some little posters and stick them up on street corners for a block in all directions. Describe the bunny and list your phone number and address. It may also be a wild brush rabbit. If you’re REALLY feeling energetic, go knock on doors of your neighbors for a block in all directions and ask them if they are missing a little bunny. Good luck! /Gary

  3. Foster Lee Says:

    Gary:
    For your reference, we live across from the Concord Pavilion on the north side of Kirker Pass Road.
    My wife likes to hang seasonal wreaths on our front door. Every year, some kind of bird builds a nest in that wreath. Most recently, there were 3 light pastel green eggs in it. About a week later, I noticed one of the splattered eggs on the walkway leading to the front door. The nest was empty. Do you have any idea what may have happened? There is not any accessibility for cats or so. The same similar “accident” has occurred every year and we have never been able to enjoy watching new hatchlings progress through their growth.
    Will the parents return? Or should I remove the abandoned nest from the wreath?
    Thank you for any info.

    Foster

  4. Gary Bogue Says:

    Foster Lee: Sounds like maybe a scrub jay got to them. I’d remove the old nest. Maybe they’ll build a new one someplace else that’s safer. If they return to nest again in that same spot, the scrub jay (or whatever it was) could get the babies again. Tough world out there. /Gary

  5. Rachel Says:

    Gary:
    I live in Southern Ontario. We had a wonderful nest of Northern Orioles in the backyard, in a great spot where we could get quite a good view. We watched them build the nest, and then after the eggs were hatched, we watched both the male and female feeding the babies in the nest. After the babies were atlest a week old, I noticed that something was wrong – the female had brought food to the nest, but the babies were silent (they had been quite noisy the day before!)The female was in and out of the nest, even the male came, and it looked like he was trying to tug something out. When evening came, I knew for sure the babies were dead, and I couldn’t bear to watch the female sit on the branch anymore. My husband got a big ladder, and sure enough, all three babies were dead in the nest. What could have caused this? We’d had a thunderstorm the night before, but nothing severe (there was no damage or branches down in the yard). Will the Orioles build a new nest or have a second set of eggs? So very sad – especially after having the privledge to have watched them so closely!

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