Posted 2009-05-06 12:42 PM (#26409) Subject: Barn Swallow question - SAD
Location: Central Texas
I have a barn swallow nest on my back porch and they had five babies recently (not sure when). I found one of them dead when they were still featherless - the baby was in the middle of the patio. This was about a week ago. There were still four left, eating like crazy and growing.
I was actually surprised that they chose to come back this year since the backyard now has two dogs in it, but there you go. This morning I saw one of my dogs, who usually has no interest in the bird nests, basically begging below the bird nest. I got to watching them and I never saw the babies' heads pop out, even when I brought the dogs in and Mom and Dad poked their heads into the nest. Hmmm...
So I got my ladder, and a mirror, and checked it out. There is one baby bird in the nest, but he is dead! He has feathers, though I am not sure if he is big enough that he would be able to fly. So what happened to the other three?
I have several questions:
Is it possible that these tiny birds with feathers are actually flying around somewhere? How soon do they fly after getting their feathers?
Sorry for dumping on y'all, but I am super depressed that my baby birdies are gone.
Posted 2009-05-06 1:10 PM (#26416 - in reply to #26413) Subject: RE: Barn Swallow question - SAD
Location: THE LAND OF SWEET MAGNOLIA BLOSSOMS
jess, i have not a clue about any of your questions, but the one about the diseases, i think i would check with my vet to see what he has to say . . . and as gross as it may sound, you probably need to save the little birdie's body in case the vet wants to test it for any diseases it may have gotten from mommy & daddy birds.
as far as the swallows cleaning out the nest, have you googled it? i spect there's an article out there about the habits of swallows . . . maybe they are like hermit crabs, know what i mean?
Posted 2009-05-06 1:58 PM (#26419 - in reply to #26409) Subject: Re: Barn Swallow question - SAD
Sparrows will take over any nest that they think is abandoned. Lazy little buggers, can't even make their own nest! You really don't want a sparrow taking up residence on your porch. They are dirty...DIRTY birds!
DON'T be touching those dead birds or taking the nest down yourself. There has be be something there that is killing the babies...so it can't be good for you to touch it. It could be something as simple as the nest being made up of grass clippings or such that has been sprayed with lawn chemicals, but still isn't good for you to be handling in your condition!
I suggest like Cindy to call the vet to ask the questions you asked here.
Posted 2009-05-06 4:35 PM (#26428 - in reply to #26419) Subject: Re: Barn Swallow question - SAD
Location: Central Texas
Hi folks -
I found all but one of the babies, they have all perished. My dogs did not get them - looks as if they were not interested. The sparrow that I saw cleaning out the nest probably killed them... I have seen evidence of this and done some googling. I will spare you the details.
I did call the vet immediately after I posted, and they have been checking in with me every couple of hours. They are less worried about disease and more worried about bones going through digestion systems. However, since only one baby bird is still missing, I feel confident my puppies are safe.
Now I have a sparrow on my back porch, keeping Mom and Dad barn swallow out of their nest. It is about to be on like Donky Kong around here. Now, how do I get rid of the little killer without killing it?
No worries Jami - I grew up in the country and know the yuckiness that can be passed from birdies to people. I will have Billy take care of things.
Posted 2009-05-07 12:21 PM (#26488 - in reply to #26467) Subject: RE: Barn Swallow question - SAD
Location: Central Texas
I had Billy tear down the nest last night. I figured that would get rid of the lazy sparrows and that the Barn Swallows would rebuild, either here or somewhere safer. The Barn Swallows did spend the night on our porch lights (bless their hearts, losing babies and home all in one day! ). We went over to Lowes and bought some flowers to hang up on the porch, in memory of the babies and to make it a nicer place for the barn swallows should they choose to stay. No sign of the sparrows, I think they moved on already. Damage done.
Growing up, we always had barn swallows on the porch, and when I moved into a house that also hosted a nice set, I was so happy. Sammy and I loved watching the babies each day and we talked about them growing and how they got their food. Now he keeps saying, "Birdies gone, gone?" If that doesn't break your heart, I don't know what will!!
Posted 2009-05-16 1:41 PM (#27038 - in reply to #26488) Subject: Re: Barn Swallow question - SAD
Location: Columbus, Ohio
Birds can be very cruel to each other. I see them fighting out here all the time especially at mating time. When I used my bird feeder it got pretty sickening how the bigger birds fought the little birds.