Date: 7/30/20 2:11 pm
From: Catherine Fisher <catherineckx...>
Subject: Re: [NHBirds] Barn Swallow nestling mortality question
Hi Phil,
I wonder if your friend has house wrens or English sparrows breeding on the
property. Both species can be very intolerant of any nesting species. At
a nearby farm, they actively trap English sparrows because they were either
piercing eggs or killing nestlings. I've had house wrens destroy the nests
of phoebes and chickadees - both nests with eggs and those with nestlings.



On Thu, Jul 30, 2020 at 4:49 PM 'Phil Brown' via NHBirds <
<nhbirds...> wrote:

> Birders,
>
> Sharing the observations of a friend in Unity, NH, who reports the
> following:
>
> "We had at least 3 active barn swallow nests, 2 in the barn and 1 on the
> porch. I watched the one on the porch very closely. It had 5 chicks. This
> week, I found all 5 dead on the floor over the course of 3 or 4 nights.
> Both parents were very active in feeding. Everything appeared normal to me,
> and I wasn't surprised that all 5 didn't make it, but to lose them all
> seems strange. The nests in the barn each had loss as well. Any idea whats
> going on? The porch nest had at least 1 chick that clearly had the most
> vigor and it was often leaning out over the edge. Very sad."
>
> A few of us have been speculating about what may have been going on and
> have considered several possibilities (predation, starvation, drought, food
> contamination, parasites, etc.) but none seems a perfect fit for what was
> observed.
> Curious to know if anyone else has noticed anything similar this summer or
> in the past, or might have an idea about what was going on here.
>
> Thanks for any input.
>
> Phil Brown
> Hancock, NH
>
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