Sunday, 13 April 2008

What goes on inside a Nestbox?

Please accept my apologies for taking so long to post an update on the activity in my Nestboxes. As you read this post it will become clear why. So, what have the Blue tit pair that were interested in two of my nestboxes been up to? Well I am feeling confident enough now to say that they have chosen my Camera Nestbox. Oops now I’ve said it…


The male occasionally still goes to the Arch box but he has now started visiting the Camera box and has even been in to inspect progress. I doubt he was impressed! The photo above was taken three days ago but let’s just say since this visit the female has made a few changes.



She clearly didn’t like this décor or the next or the next. Suffice to say she is making seriously hard work of building a nest. This would have worried me but the female who used this Nestbox last year did exactly the same. It is painful to watch though. I have found myself talking to the screen on more than a few occasions!



Her nesting shuffles appear to be in need of a bit of practise too! It was pointed out to me in a comment by Martin, who also has a Nestbox with a camera that “When she does her 'shuffles' it's funny how she is hopping around the box wobbling as she goes! Normally they get their chest flat down on the floor - unusual !” I have to say I agree as I have been watching her shuffles quite closely.




The first piece of moss came in our Camera Nestbox ten days ago and the photo above shows how our Nestbox looked at 4.30pm today. I looked in again later before it went dark in our box and it looked much the same. Each time I see an image like this I think the nest is moving on and she will add the next layer of material. So far this has not been the case – hopefully this will happen sometime soon.

I am heartened to see the male is showing interest this year. Last year’s male wasn’t at all interested at this stage. I am guessing sometime soon we will see the male visiting bearing gifts of food to reward her hard work.

To let you see what has been going on I have made a compilation of video captures. This video is a little longer than usual at just over three minutes. It shows just how much moss gets taken in and out of the box from both inside and outside the Nestbox. It also shows the male hanging around for support. I have a number of video captures but the ones I have used below were taken in the last three days.

All outside video footage was taken today. At the end there are some still captures showing examples of how the Nestbox has been filled and emptied so many times in the last ten days. The final two still captures are of the only night the female has roosted in the Nestbox which is a week ago now.


What goes on inside a nestbox, video 3:15 with background music, try 480p quality.


Finally, I should say that I do expect this nest will eventually take shape and then it will be quite a different waiting game! For the moment I am also enjoying seeing the much more efficient nest builder that Jamie has in his Nestbox. However, I do have faith that the blue tit female in my nestbox will come good yet so please do return to see how she is doing.

All photos and videos above were taken in my garden during 10th-13th April 2008.

9 comments:

Blackswamp_Girl said...

How cool that you have these photos posted! I can just imagine you talking to the screen of the nestbox cam, encouraging her... :)

Jane said...

Talk about a woman who changes her mind! She seems to have taken OUT more than she's taken IN! Great shots. I never realised this went on. Believe it or not our first nest of bluetits has already fledged... hoping some more will use the nestbox. Jane

Crafty Gardener said...

How amazing to see right into the nest box. I'll be looking forward to seeing the developments of the nest and hopefully some babies.

Martin (of the2wrennies) said...

I would say the shuffle she did (in the last video in this post), at around 30secs in the timeline, was excellent ! the frame rate of the video looks fantastic and clearly shows what is going on (mental note to self: must improve mine!)

shirl said...

Hi there Kim, Jane, Crafty Gardener and Martin :-)

Kim – Thanks for stopping by. Yes it is fantastic to be able to see inside a Nestbox far less being able to take photos and video from it. Oh… it is hard seeing her take so long to build the nest. But when you see the poor little thing breathing so fast in and after labour you get a different perspective of the strength these tiny fragile looking birds have. She does look a good size in the Nestbox but she is quite tiny :-D

Jane – Yep, what can you do but watch!! At least we are able to watch now. I have to say I am not sure that her behaviour is the norm. But it does seem to be so in my garden! I am not surprised at all that you already have fledged chicks. You are so much further south than I am. I believe that they are laying eggs in central England now too. Interesting to think that your box could get your used again. I have heard of nestboxes in the Netherlands that have two broods per year but as we are so much later off the starting block up here in Scotland I don’t think that is likely here. You’ll have to get photos of the young birds in your garden now :-D

Crafty Gardener – It really is! I just hope that we will be lucky enough to see eggs hatched and chicks survive longer than a week this year. It was so, so sad to watch the tiny chicks get so weak that they didn’t have the energy to open their mouths to get the food! A shortage of suitable foods was the problem last year as we had a warm dry April. That has not been the case this year, we have had plenty rain. So fingers crossed and crossed again :-D

Martin – Thanks for your comments on this. Although as I watch her in the Nestbox now when there is more material she really does look like she is having difficulty making a nest cup. Thanks for your comments on my videos. I have great fun with them :-D

Mike - Fenphotography said...

Great video Shirl, very interesting to watch all the activity.

Lisa at Greenbow said...

I can't wait to see if we get to see any egg laying action. Maybe she is a first time nester and needs time for a little adjusting or learning what to do.

Anna Simpson said...

Fantastic. Well done. I have a nest box in my garden, and have had Blue Tits nesting in there for the last 2 years, since the box was put up. I keep meaning to add a camera into it, but I never get round to it, and then can be expensive. It's to late to do it this year but I'll try and get one put up for next year. What sort of time of year do you think I should install a camera?

shirl said...

Hi there Mike, Lisa & Anna :-)

Mike – Thank-you, it is interesting albeit a bit on the slow side. However, if we are lucky enough to see chicks hatch the action will increase then. Sorry, I haven’t been by your blog in a while – I have just had a peek and your woodpecker shots are fantastic :-D

Lisa – I can’t wait either! However this year the birds do seem to be behind last year’s dates. It was May 1st that we saw our first egg last year so I don’t expect we will see any before then. So she can take her time with her nest and perhaps she is a first time nester. The weather has been cold here too so that probably tells her that there’s no rush. If the temps warm up perhaps her nest work will speed up too :-D

Anna – Hello and welcome. Delighted to hear from someone who has nesting blue tits. I guess if I were to put up another Nestbox with a camera now I would put it up at the beginning of October as at the end of October last year we were able to see a blue tit roosting in it. This roosting continued even after our nesting pair began visiting during the day in January. The rooster continued to use the box until March. I see you are in Derbyshire so I would guess that you will be approx two weeks ahead of me with nesting birds. I’m guessing that you could have eggs in your Nestbox now. Here’s hoping you have a successful brood fledging :-D