Thursday night I came home to a dead baby bluebird on the ground beneath the nest box. There were adult feathers about as well. The three remaining babies seemed okay.
Friday morning the remaining babies didn’t look good—and didn’t seem as vital as the night before.
When I checked the birds at lunch on Friday, two were dead and a third was weak. I removed it from the nest and it had some sort of larvae on it, which I later deduced could have been bluebird blowfly, a common parasite that often takes out the season’s second and third broods. If the chick would have been even a few days older I would have considered trying to raise it by hand, something I’ve done with pet birds and finches. But this little guy was too young. So I put him back in the nest and resigned myself to a funeral in the evening.
Last night I cleaned out the nest and put the babies in the woods for the foxes. It was a quick end, but that’s just the way it is.