Category Archives: Blue tits

Boxing day

After 11 successful years out of 11, we have had to retire our trusty blue tit nest box. It was stating to fall to pieces.

I was going to make a new one, but my dad was already making one for my sister, so he made me one as an early birthday present while he was at it. I hung it in our Scots pine this afternoon:

Me hanging new nest box
Me hanging our new nest box.

I know, from the photo, it looks as if I've hung it too close to the ground, but I'm actually standing on the very top of a rather tall set of stepladders. Hence the look of intense concentration on my face.

(Yes, that's what I look like when I'm concentrating.)

At my dad's garden bird-feeder yesterday

Robin
Robin
Young blue tit
Young blue tit
Young blue tit
Young blue tit
Young great tit
Young great tit
Young great tit
Young great tit

Afternoon walk

I promised myself a late-afternoon walk yesterday, if I could get through the work I'd set myself. Once again, I headed off down Burlees Lane and and up through the wood.

There were a lot of young birds around, being attended to by their parents. I saw robins, great tits, blue tits and swallows. It's a great time of year for a walk in the countryside. Mind you, when isn't?

Swallow
Swallow
Young great tit
Young great tit
Red campion
Red campion
Hill House Wood
Hill House Wood
Lichen and moss
Lichen and moss

Spring cleaning

Every year, on the weekend nearest St Valentine's Day, I clear last year's nest from our blue tit nest box, and disinfect the box with boiling water.

Last year was the nest box's tenth anniversary. We have had birds successfully nest in it every year so far. Last year, however, it seems that, for the first time ever, not all of the eggs hatched:

Nest box
Nest box with three unhatched eggs (and one empty shell).

Last summer was dreadfully wet. I'm frankly astonished that our blue tits managed to rear any young. But I suppose that's what blue tits are good at: making more blue tits.

Here's hoping for a bit more sunshine in 2013.

Fledglings

We have a garden full of fledglings at the moment. Mainly blue tits and great tits, but also the odd greenfinch and hedge sparrow (or dunnock, as we're supposed to call them these days). They are creating one hell of a racket.

Fortunately for me (but potentially disastrously for them), some of the fledglings haven't quite got their heads around the concept of immediately flying away and hiding when something bigger than them appears. So I managed to get quite close to them with my camera:

Blue tit fledglings
Blue tit fledglings.

More cute baby bird photos | slideshow

Year 9 in the blue tit house

Re-hanging the nest box
Re-hanging the nest box.
Back in 2003, I made a blue tit nest box and installed it in our Scots pine tree, about 15 feet off the ground (to discourage cats), away from the bird table (to give them a bit of privacy), facing north-east (to prevent the sun shining through the hole, or the prevailing winds blowing into it). Every February, I diligently clean out the box, disinfect it with boiling water, and re-hang it back in the tree.

So far, we have a 100% success rate. Blue tits have nested in the box every year since 2003.

I spent a quarter of an hour this evening watching an adult bird taking food into the box, then flying off again with the chicks' latest faecal sack in its beak. But after ten minutes or so, I started to get worried. As far as I could tell, I had only seen one parent bird, never two at the same time, which is unusual in a 10-minute stint.

I needn't have worried. It turned out that the missing parent was inside the nest box all the time, presumably keeping the chicks warm.