Blackbird nesting in garden shed, concern about environment for fledglings

undertheivy59undertheivy59 Rural North CornwallPosts: 9
New here and grateful for advice please!  Blackbird has built nest on the top of a set of open pine shelves which contain various garden items and tools.  She enters/exits through a hole to the carport about 4 feet from the nest.  We've tried not to use the shed at all, but had to enter yesterday to retrieve something from a small chest freezer.  Chicks are getting big, very noisy!  Concerned that the growing babies may fall and get injured when they leave nest.  Gaps between shelf slats, gaps behind shelves, and gap behind freezer, which they will need to negotiate to leave the shed.  Should we quietly cover up gaps with sheets of hardboard, or just leave it all alone?  As there will likely be more chicks later in the season we want shed to be as 'user friendly' as possible for the chicks.  Husband itching to get out there today and make shed safe but not sure if we ought to just leave well alone.
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  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 53,817
    Leave it alone ... I'm sure the blackbirds have done their risk assessment. Altering things may inadvertently  make things worse rather than better. We don't see with a blackbirds eye. 
    I would just keep an eye open for signs of agitated adults in case you have to step in to free a stranded chick, but otherwise I'd leave the parents to get on with it. 
    And keep your camera to hand 
     :) 
    “I am not lost, for I know where I am. But however, where I am may be lost.” Winnie the Pooh







  • undertheivy59undertheivy59 Rural North CornwallPosts: 9
    Thank you for your response, Dovefromabove.  So concerned about them. It's hard to see what's going on through the windows along the side of shed, due to overhang from a mature Hawthorn tree. The shed has heavy stable doors, we had thought about leaving the top door open when the chicks are bigger and about to fledge, so they might get out more easily, but then there's danger of predation from magpies, which have just started to show up. I'm sure you are right about the mother having done her risk assessment, but I feel terribly responsible.  Especially if she's the same female who nested on a bank behind the shed last year, and lost 2 chicks to drowning in an old wheelbarrow we'd forgotten was down the back of the shed.  Only our second summer here, we never saw nests in town but down here in rural Cornwall we seem to have attracted so many birds as we feed them all year round, so we are real beginners in the care of wild birds.
  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 53,817
    Bless you ((hugs)) I know how responsible you feel, but you're not ... really you're not. Some may not make it to adulthood ... that's just a fact of life ... we'd be overrun if they all survived ... and baby magpies have to eat too. 
    All humans can do is to try not to do harm. Keep any predatory pets away and watch Nature getting on with it. 
    If a blackbird continually makes bad choices about nest sites and consequently fewer of its young survive then that's as it should be ... natural selection at work. 
    Love Cornwall ... we'll be there at the end of this week  <3
    “I am not lost, for I know where I am. But however, where I am may be lost.” Winnie the Pooh







  • plant pauperplant pauper Posts: 6,236
    It's hard not to interfere but you'll just have to sit on your hands as Dove says. Put it this way, if I gave you the ingedients could you make a blackbird's nest? No! but your blackbird can. It's what they're designed to do and she'll manage her chicks much better than you could.
    Sometimes you get a broken heart but that's how it is with wildlife. 
  • undertheivy59undertheivy59 Rural North CornwallPosts: 9
    edited May 2018
    Yes, it's tough, Dovefromabove, and we will have to try not to interfere.  Thanks for the reply, Plant Pauper.  We'll wait, worry, and hope for the best. :)

  • Hostafan1Hostafan1 Posts: 20,541
    @undertheivy59 We must be near( ish ) neighbours. I'm near Holsworthy ( 12 miles from Bude )
    Devon.
  • undertheivy59undertheivy59 Rural North CornwallPosts: 9
    Not far at all. :smiley:
  • JellyfireJellyfire SuffolkPosts: 739
    It's hard not to interfere but you'll just have to sit on your hands as Dove says. Put it this way, if I gave you the ingedients could you make a blackbird's nest? No! but your blackbird can. It's what they're designed to do and she'll manage her chicks much better than you could.
    Sometimes you get a broken heart but that's how it is with wildlife. 
    Leave it alone ... I'm sure the blackbirds have done their risk assessment. 
    Usually the case, although for the last 5 or 6 years we have had wrens making a next in our thatch, the adults are obviously adept at getting through the wire mesh which covers it, but every year we have 2 full broods die as the fledging youngsters get tangled up in the wire as they try to leave the nest. Have tried everything I can think of to either stop access or make exiting easier, but Im now resigned to simply having to remove the dead chicks. Theyre nesting in there now again as we speak :(
  • undertheivy59undertheivy59 Rural North CornwallPosts: 9
    That's so sad, Jellyfire.  :(  Husband compromised: he went in the shed while mum was out and the chicks were quiet, and placed a carpet runner across the shelving below the nest to stop the babies falling down behind the lower cupboard.  On the other side of the wall, where mum exits the shed into the car port, he has screwed a shelf in just below so when the babies come out first time they can sit on the ledge rather than plummet the 8 or so feet to the concrete floor.  Mum has been seen coming and going since this operation, so shes presumably quite happy.  Now we sit back an d wait to see who will emerge in a couple of weeks.
  • JellyfireJellyfire SuffolkPosts: 739
    Well done, the peace of mind is worth the risk in that instance Id say. There is a bit of a myth that birds will abandon a nest with chicks in at the drop of a hat if they get spooked. The reality is most birds are incredibly protective of their young, they have invested everything in getting them this far, so going in the shed now and again is highly unlikely to lead them to abandon them now. Unless there is a constant or persistent threat to them they will be fine 
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