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Karen Spivey

Lakesite, TN, USA


5 Bluebird eggs were in this nest originally. I found 2 broken eggs on the ground and another was missing the morning of April 24. 2 eggs remained in the best. I put up a camera in an attempt to see what bird was responsible. A few hours later, a pair of chickadees are caught on camera going in and out of the nesting box. I edited 2.5 hours of video down to 12 minutes of activity. Skip to 10:58 to see the egg in the chickadee’s beak. Papa Bluebird returns at (12:06) the end of the video to find his home raided.


Unusual nests

Chickadees remove Bluebird eggs from Nesting Box in Tennessee

14 responses to “Chickadees remove Bluebird eggs from Nesting Box in Tennessee”

  1. Christine Zamora says:

    Remarkable! I currently have a pair of blue birds nest building. They’ve been building in our nest box for 7 days. On days 6 a pair of chickadees began visiting the next box during the hours the blue birds weren’t there. Now on day 8 we’re seeing both pairs in and out of the box. It’s going to be an interesting war of the nest box over the next week, I’m sure. Thanks for sharing your video.

  2. Fran Miller says:

    What to do when a chickadee removes blue bird eggs from blue bird nest. Now there are no blue birds or chickadees using the nest.

    • Holly Grant, Project Assistant says:

      Hi Fran, Unfortunately, there’s not much you can do in this situation – both bird species are protected, so it’s best not to interfere and just let nature handle itself. The birds likely moved on to build again elsewhere. That said, a preventative measure would be to install additional nest boxes with smaller entrance hole sizes for the chickadees to help reduce competition. You can read more about this on our blog.

  3. Nora says:

    Same thing happened today in NC! I never thought chickadees would do this! I have several boxes on my property! The mama blue had already began incubating her 4 eggs. I’ve been a bluebird host for 10 or more years and never seen anything like this before.

  4. Rhonda Wier says:

    Western NC camera caught a Black Capped Chickadee removing an egg on 4/9/22. 😢

  5. Joy O'Connell says:

    5 eggs in box, not much activity at box. Thought better check , no eggs!!! Looked on ground, 2 broken eggs and one unbroken, one missing. No sign of house wren or cowbirds. Another bird house in area, now has full nest. This one too far to monitor with binoculars. Suspicious that maybe that bluebird destroyed the eggs due to territorial issues. But have chickadees also, so now I don’t know due to this video. Would a bluebird do this? Never saw the chickadees near the nesting box . ???

    • Holly Grant, Project Assistant says:

      Hi Joy, please check out our Troubleshooting Guide to explore what might have happened here and find relevant solutions. This sounds like a predator attack, perhaps by raccoon, squirrel, or another bird.

  6. Julie says:

    Winston-Salem. NC. Yes, chickadees destroyed two Bluebird nest eggs. Even made hole small smaller to accommodate chickadees.So they moved in. Then Bluebirds built in my other house and chickadees took eggs. They finally gave up and now I have no Bluebirds. I have raised Bluebirds for 30 years and never had this happen until this spring. Bummer!

  7. Jane says:

    Same here in Wake Forest NC. Chickadees threw the bluebird eggs out but left the nest in the box. Bluebirds trying again in another box in our yard. Hoping it doesn’t happen again😳 The chickadees have their own nests elsewhere on the property so not sure why they they went on a murderous rampage!

  8. Will a bluebird use a nest that chickadees made and their young have already left? Have had only bluebirds in the house for years until this spring.

    • Holly Grant, Project Assistant says:

      Hi Sandra, It’s certainly possible – bluebirds generally don’t mind building a nest from scratch for each brood.

  9. I just saw a chickadee enter my bluebird house in which the female is on her 5th day of setting 6 eggs. The male was in the locust nearby and was at the box in 2 seconds. The chickadee shot out with the male bluebird in pursuit. The male chased the chickadee around in a couple of circles until it flew off. I had always thought the 2 previous egg peckings we have experienced (2021 and 2022) were r/t house wrens (another native species).
    Those incidents occurred during the second clutch period in May. I assumed the house wrens weren’t in the area during the 1st clutch time. But NOW I am ALSO concerned about chickadees. I put up and off – a wren guard (after 1st egg laying) – which may have prevented more peckings after June in 2021 and 2022.
    I HAVE another box with a smaller hole way around the house out of visibility in a whole other area.
    I am beginning to think the FEEDER on this side of the house where the Bluebird box is creates the problem.
    I have just taken the feeder down. My natural habitat friends have a point. Its not helping
    non seed eaters by overfeeding least concern seed eaters. I can’t create a situation solely favoring my brown headed nuthatches, etc.

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