Sunday, 6 January 2008

Blue Tit pair in Nestbox again

We have had a female Blue Tit roosting in our Camera Nestbox for a couple of months now. Occasionally she has been seen visiting the box during the day – well I am assuming it is the same bird anyway. She has also been heard calling from the entrance – I guess to her mate. Yesterday we saw a blue tit pecking at the entrance once again just as they did last year when our Nestbox was discovered. How interesting to see this activity again although I am surprised they are doing this now.

This morning as I worked on the post above I heard noises through the speaker and turned the volume up to hear the female calling again. Today however I was lucky and managed to capture video of them both in the box once again. I really need to see the male before he goes in to be sure it is the same pair as the male is still seen visiting my garden so it could easily be him.

Blue tit pair in nestbox, video 1:07 with background music, try 480p quality.


As you can see above the clips are short and as they were taken in the morning the light isn’t as good and the video is in black and white. However they do capture the activity nicely as they pop in and out which they did a number of times even taking some of the wood shavings out with them too! I guess the next thing I will need to look out for is the male roosting in our Nestbox too! I have to say I am looking forward to sharing this activity for another year although it is possible the birds will roost in our box and nest in another – perhaps even in our Terrace Nestbox which has no camera. Ah well we will just have to wait and see.

The video shown above was taken from my Camera Nestbox on January 6th 2008.

14 comments:

urbanextension said...

Thanks for showing this Shirl. Great to see that they are both popping in and out of the box. I wonder if they are sussing it out for nesting in the spring.... very early if they are. Would be nice to see them both roosting in the box. Anyway, thanks again for the film.

Nan Ondra said...

Several months ago, I read one of your posts about this nestbox, and I noticed your comment about using wood shavings. So when Mom and I cleaned out my bluebird boxes this fall, we put some shavings in the bottom of each, and the bluebirds (which I normally don't see much of in winter) now compete with each other to use the boxes when it's particularly cold out. I wish I had a camera like yours in one; I think it would be fascinating to see what they're doing in there. So anyway, my birds and I thank you for the idea, Shirl!

shirl said...

Hi again, Jane and Nan :-)

Jane – yes it was strange to see this behaviour from the blue tits but then again I didn’t have a nest box with a camera in it last year at this time. I also hadn’t put shavings in the box we had then either. I’m sure I read somewhere that in January a pair may roost together so we will just have to wait and see! Perhaps I will get some video in colour on another visit during a bright sunny day :-D

Nan – that’s brilliant news! I am thrilled that writing about my Nestbox in my Scottish garden has helped Bluebirds roost on a cold night in Pennsylvania, USA :-D Fantastic! I have a terrace box without a camera and one dry night I should set up my video camera outside on a tripod and see if any birds are roosting in it. Last April I did this with my Camera Nestbox and got some interesting footage at nest building time. Good luck with your Nestboxes for 2008 :-D

Lisa at Greenbow said...

Shirl, do the tits pair up this early in the year? When do they normally nest? Isn't it exciting to see them in your nestbox again? I do enjoy seeing this. Maybe I will try some shavings in our nest box and see if somthing other than a house sparrow will go in there.

My husband has started reading your blog he thinks it is good too.

shirl said...

Hi again, Lisa :-)

I have to honest and say I wasn’t sure when the birds paired up. I had in my head Blue Tits paired for life but cannot find any info to confirm this. However the lifespan of a Blue Tit (Parus caeruleus) is expected to be 2-3yrs so producing young is likely to be a major focus of their short lives.

I consulted my RSPB book ‘The Birdfeeder Guide’. It suggests that Blue Tits form pairs when winter flocks break up in January. Nest building begins with the female chipping at the entrance hole even when the hole is already there. The female is doing that at the moment – this is way to early though!

All books suggest that the male looks out for the nesting sites or nestboxes and seeks the female’s approval. She apparently can reject many! That is definitely ties in with the video above. But… we have had a female roosting since the end of October. The plot thickens – is the female above the same one as our rooster! Is she letting the male think this box was his idea meanwhile she has known about this box all along? Lol – sound familiar? Will we have two pairs fighting over our box in the spring?

The drama that will unfold at nesting time during April/May/June (First egg laid 1st May ’07) and will have its highs and lows where we will all be willing the pair to successfully raise their brood to fledge – that’s if they lay eggs at all. Then it is survival in the garden as a juvenile where any cats will see them as easy pickings. How fascinating the natural world is isn’t it – especially when we can get glimpses of it with cameras in nestboxes of birds and other wildlife as well as CCTV cameras that record wildlife visitors night and day in our own gardens :-D

Perhaps you could get Bluebirds in your Nestbox like Nan if you put wood shavings in it now. It could be an interesting experiment to see what happens!

I am delighted that your husband also likes to visit my blog. I enjoy getting new visitors especially from the same household :-D

snowbird said...

Hi Shirl, I just found your site & love watching the clip too. I am new to bird/nestcam's having had a brood of Blutits successfully raised last year in an old box my husband salvaged. The family stayed together all winter roosting in little window ledges of a static in the garden. They are here every day checking things out. We put lots of feeders out and 2 new boxes up to encourage them to stay again. I would love to get a cam for a box but am on a budget, any suggestions? Also would it still be ok to put some bedding in the boxes now, as they will have been in for a look see already? Will keep an eye on your site for more info & advice. Thankyou for a lovely site.

shirl said...

Hi there, snowbird :-)

Sorry I have been slow to get back to you - I wasn’t sure what to suggest. However, I have to point out that I have no personal experience whatsoever of the product mentioned below.

If you want to use your existing Nestbox I have discovered a company in the UK that has a black and white camera at an offer price of £39.99 until February 19th. Please read the details of this product carefully to see if this would suit you :-D

If you are interested in buying a Nestbox with a camera already in it there are other companies that do this – leave me a comment if you want a suggestion. If you do consider using the black and white camera you may need to alter the height of your box. Perhaps you could look at the dimensions of other Nestboxes with cameras in them.

Good luck with your search and please let me know what you decide :-D

Wood shavings – not sure on that one but perhaps a handful wouldn’t do any harm but I am guessing they will need to be removed again in March sometime. Then again, if a pair has visited without wood shavings I might be tempted not to change anything as it might confuse them. Thank-you I’m glad you have enjoyed your visit please update me during the nesting season on how your nestboxes are doing - I would be very interested :-D

Anonymous said...

I put wood shavings in a blue tit
nest box. Then I watched one go in
and come out with a shaving in his/her mouth and spit it out.
This practice was done many times.
I just wonder if the newly born
tits could choke on the shavings.

shirl said...

Hi there Anonymous :-)

Oh... don't worry at all about this. The blue tit is most likely doing some housework in prep for bringing moss in. Even when it starts to bring moss in you may well see it coming out again and droppped from a branch. They do make hard looking work of building nests.

However, I have had it said to me (when I used wood shavings last year) that it would be a good idea to remove them before nesting begins so any parasites possibly living in them are removed as they could harm young chicks. Perhaps you've had a rooster through the winter months and it has brought them in. I don't know if you are able to accesss your box. Don't worry if you can't. Equally, the blue tits may do the whole job for you anyway:-D

All the best for a successful brood :-D

andy said...

Hello ive put a nest box up in the garden with a camera in it,and we have a pair of blue tits ,we presume the female is building the nest,but each time she enters to build andarrange her nest,she pecks the side and bottom of the nestbox before leaving to fetch more material ,is this common thanks andy.

shirl said...

Hi there Andy, welcome to the camera club ;-)

In answer your question I would say yes, I have seen this activity myself and have had others mailing or commenting on this. It does appear to be common to see the Blue tits pecking on the floor and walls inside a nestbox and without a camera if you stood below you would hear a tapping noise from inside the nestbox and wonder what’s going on inside! It can be quite loud as I have heard it when out in my garden. My guess is that the female building the nest keeps checking that this space is solid, secure and safe for her building a nest and any chicks she may have in it. It is funny to watch though isn’t it :-D

Having a camera in your nestbox will allow you a wonderful opportunity to see what goes on during the nesting process. Oh... I should say that the female may also remove lots of moss too (almost emptying it) but don't worry as she will most likely fill it up again!

However, I should warn you it may also include some of the sad bits as well as the good when eggs don’t hatch, chicks die and the struggle the parents can have to find food. That is nature though.

All my best wishes for a successful brood from your Camera Nestbox. Enjoy bird TV :-D

BA said...

Very interesting blog. For a live feed of blue tits nesting you might want to look at my nest cam at http://birdbox.abbishaw.com:8080

The nest is almost finished and they are in the process of shaping the bowl in the nesting material to receive the eggs

Lolo said...

2 cam boxes - BT and GT now nesting in each. First female BT got taken ( sparrowhawk?) nest almost complete. Male found another female who took over the nest. She has laid 3 eggs on bare board ! Doesn't seem interested in feathering the cup even though I have put out loads of materials ( thanks dogs ! ) The GT have 5 eggs so far and she has a wonderful nest. I've never heard of a bird laying on bare board - anyone else ??

Lolo said...

Hi Shirl

My experience from 2008 was 6 successful Blue Tits and 8 Great Tits from my nest cam boxes. This year the Blue Tits started building, almost finished the nest and the female disapperaed ( presume a Sparrowhawk as plenty of pidgeon feathers in the garden )the male found a new mate within 24hrs and she took over the nest. The strange thing is she has not finished the cup and laid three eggs on the bare bottom ! She seems quite happy with this but I find it very strange. I have put plently of fur ( thanks dogs ) and bits around but she is not interested. Has anyone else ever heard of this strange behaviour ? My other cam box started with activity by Great Tits but was left and they have decided to use the old scrappy tatty box with no camera. She has built a great nest and it has 4 eggs currently ( hard work observing with no camera, just a dentists mirror ! ) If anyone knows the reason my girl is laying on board could they let me know as I am quite worried. Thanks.