The crow and blowflies
Yes the crow could hear the baby nestlings inside the box! What do you think happened next?
Actually the crow wasn’t able to reach the nestlings but I don’t blame the crow for trying! Dad eventually convinced the crow to move onward and then mom started feeding the babies again. I took these crow photos 11 days ago and the baby bluebirds were doing great (so I thought). I knew something wasn’t right when I opened the box last Friday and the nestlings should have been almost ready to fledge the nest. I noticed that the babies were not moving, still extremely tiny and cold when I touched them! I investigated the nest and found that the box was infested with blowflies. Julie has some good photos if you wondered what the blowflies look like.
Blowflies are parasites that attach to the baby birds and suck their blood. Obviously the blowflies don’t want to kill the host bird . . . . but when you have cold/wet weather like we had this past week . . . the parents are unable to give the nestlings enough insects to survive and the babies become casualties. I wish I hadn’t been so busy and checked the box more frequently . . . maybe I could have saved them?? Now I need to make time to check all other bazillion boxes that I monitor!!
BTW: I have already noticed the female started to rebuild in the other nest box that I have. Friday I thoroughly cleaned the infected box up and should be ready for its next occupant.
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