[Tweeters] Dark-eyed Junco presumed nest abandonment

Josh DeSilvey jmdesilvey at gmail.com
Sun Aug 7 20:05:09 PDT 2022

Hi all - This past weekend we witnessed the culmination of a slowly
unfolding tragedy as a female Junco abandoned her nest and three eggs that
never hatched. She nested for almost three weeks. We were cautious
observers of her activity as she built the nest in a wine-barrel planter
located on the deck in our backyard. When we realized this Junco chose this
planter, we were excited to see what would unfold, even attentively
counting down to when the eggs should have hatched. But then that period

We grew concerned when she did not return to the nest Saturday evening,
though we did see her come and go throughout the day. This morning (Sunday)
confirmed our fears when we did not spy her sitting on the nest. Looking up
Junco nesting behaviour on Birds Of The World (BOTW; Thanks WOS!!)
confirmed that her eggs should have hatched by Wednesday of this past week
(8/3). Although the conclusion is still sad, we suspected it was
inevitable. In part this post is one of mourning for our Junco (we named
her June) and her loss, and not being cautious, careful witnesses to June
raising her nestlings. It is also one of inquiry and I wanted to bring it
to the Tweeters list for advice.

So we have a nest and three Junco eggs. What should we do with it now? Are
there agencies (glancing in the Burkes direction) in the Seattle metro area
that would want these for research or teaching?

Should we leave it as is and let what scavengers are around claim it for
their benefit? Or when it starts to stink, remove it to the compost bin or
green belt behind our home?

Also, I was curious to find that BOTW does not report failure rates for
broods, whether first or subsequent. In general for birds, what are failure
rates for broods? What are some causes? Are second or third broods more
likely to fail, then earlier ones?

Thanks for your thoughts and answers. I look forward to reading them.

Josh DeSilvey
Mountlake Terrace
jmdesiley at gmail.com
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