Thursday, 1 May 2008

Running late - Nestbox update

This is our second year of having blue tits using our Nestbox with a camera in it. Last year at this time we were very excited as May 1st 2007 saw the first egg laid in our Nestbox. The photo below was taken at 7.20am then and I suspect that the egg hidden below this female was laid about two hours before.


So what’s going on with the same Nestbox this year? Well, I have to say that I really didn’t expect an egg today. We have a nest being built by a blue tit female at the moment but she is making such hard work of her creation. I’m really not sure when we can expect her first egg. I have been looking through photo captures from last year and the montage below gives an idea of how far behind our Nestbox is this year.



Moss came in last year on March 24th and the photo above shows that two days later our 2007 female was seen taking it out again. Last April was unusually warm and dry where this year it has been a lot colder with lots of hail stones. It has probably had the usual amount of rain.

So has the colder weather held nesting birds up? I am guessing that it may well have. You can see that our 2008 female brought the first moss in 10 days later. However, I cannot believe that our Nestbox will remain a full 10 days behind last year. The last two photos show the 2007 female in the nest cup and the 2008 female sitting on the surface as she still has to decide where to make her nest cup. This is what the shuffling is all about – pushing the material out to make the cup.

My instincts tell me that we will not be waiting until May 10th for an egg to be laid. I am going to make an estimate that she will not be having a holiday on Monday 5th May and will lay her first egg then. Oops… I’ve said it now!

Okay, it’s finally video time and I’ve a few to share. I have been waiting to capture some interesting footage seeing as not much has appeared to change in our Nestbox. I was hoping to catch the male visiting to reward the female with a tasty bite but alas I missed him. I have chosen to show footage from the same day, April 28, so that you can see how it changes!

Early morning shows the picture is in black and white. She looks like there is just no time to wait! See how thick and bouncy the nest is making her shuffles tricky...

Bouncy early morning shuffles, video 0:13 with background music, try 480p quality.



Afternoon and let the shuffling continue… you can see the layer is not as thick now and floor can be seen again! I wonder if that was the male at the entrance? I have a feeling that it was someone else...

Okay - let's do some shuffles, video 0:39 with background music, try 480p quality.



Afternoon break and time for a little inspection before… taking more moss out! Mm... did the nest not look thicker again?

Let me see... am I happy with this, video 0:30 with background music, try 480p quality.



Inspection complete and its time to get back to work again… this moss just has to go!!! Sorry about the quality of this footage. She is taking too much, too quickly towards the camera and it can’t keep up. However, it does show very clearly how quickly the nest can empty...

Oh no... this moss has to go, video 0:50 with background music, try 480p quality.



I’m busy… please go away! Okay, this capture is a bit different. If you turn up the volume in your speakers you will hear how agitated the blue tit is. Although looking at the video you will see how she spreads her wings out too. I am guessing she has an intruder at the entrance. I should have looked out another window to see who it was but I do have my suspicions. I saw this behaviour last year while the female sat on her chicks in the nest cup. Two starlings were at the entrance then too. I guess they were fancying her chicks for supper...

Go away - don't come in here, video 1:10 without background music, try 480p quality.



Night, night… I’m all tired out now! You will notice she is in the corner to sleep. This is usual until there is a nest cup. This footage was taken just after 8.30pm. You can see even when going to sleep she has to move moss around. Notice how she is all fluffed up and tucks her head in to make a ball...

Time for bed, video 0:58 with background music, try 480p quality.


I cannot believe all blue tits make nests in this way from looking at video footage and photos in other websites. Therefore, through looking again at video footage from last year I am now wondering if we have the same female in our Nestbox this year again. I am in no doubt we have a different male as this year as this one has a distinctive curl marking. I would then forgive her for all her indecisions with this nest and have my fingers crossed for her to have a successful brood this year.




Finally, as I began this post I had a look in the Nestbox tonight and was delighted to see the female looking like she was sitting in the nest rather on top of it. This would suggest that this evening she has been working on a nest cup. Mm… I have to say that she did this a few nights ago and then in the morning wrecked it all. I do think she is getting closer though. The photos were taken from left to right but it does look like she may be heading towards the wall again and on top of the nest again. Ah…


All photos above were taken from the camera nestbox in my garden.

10 comments:

Lisa at Greenbow said...

What fun to watch all the action.

Barbara said...

Excellent and very interesting to see what is going to happen. I've found another nestbox life video of a falcon, living in a tower in our next city, www.turmfalke.ch
Have a nice weekend, Shirl,
Barbara

Mart (the2wrennies) said...

Shirl didn't you know bluetits learn how to make nests from watching video and photos on other websites ;)

anyhow, she must surely be due to lay any moment now !

Mel said...

Your pictures and videos are always great!!

Crafty Green Poet said...

fascinating post, so interesting to watch her building. I watched some blue tits gathering nesting material yesterday. I think they have been delayed. ihope you get eggs soon...

Jan Doble said...

i have a feeling you will be posting very soon with an update, and in the update, there will be eggs, and (maybe)? baby birds...but definintely eggs! i cannot wait to see it. i love the video idea. i would like to try that myself...maybe next year! jan

Yolanda Elizabet said...

Well Shirl, I'm keeping my fingers crossed too. It would be great if this time it would be a success and all baby birds will fly the coop one day.

Mark Brown said...

Wow, what wonderful footage. We are keeping our fingers crossed for your new arrivals....We are also glued to another web cam in Cornwall showing a rare Cornish Chough:http://www.paradisepark.org.uk/choughs/webcam/index.htm - Chough nest box cam. Isn't nature amazing.

shirl said...

Hi there Lisa, Barbara, Martin, Mel, Juliet, Jan, Yolanda and Mark :-)

Lisa – It is and there is much more to come. Hope you enjoy your Illinois bird count this weekend and a good Mother’s Day too :-D

Barbara – Thanks and it really is. Thanks for the link. I have taken a look at it and it is very interesting to see too. I think I’ll do a post on links to Nestcams for birds that are not blue tits. Thanks, and have a great weekend yourself :-D

Martin – Lol well they haven’t had any clues from yours then!! I see you have 8 out of 9 blue tit eggs hatch in your Nestbox with a camera. I hope the last one hatches soon. Jamie has his blue tit eggs hatching too. It is always interesting to see what is coming to our Nestbox through the ones in England. Sorry, I am late with this reply. She laid her first egg the next day and we now have three! Have a good weekend :-D

Mel – Thanks for visiting and sharing the action. Have a great weekend :-D

Jan – Yep, you are quite correct! The next day we saw the first egg and now we have three. It will be approx three weeks before we will see chicks though. The Nestcam is great to have we had thought about one for a couple of years but never thought we would have one. Then when I began this blog it seemed like the best time to have one. Have a great weekend :-D

Yolanda – Thanks so much, I appreciate that you will remember seeing the sad ending for the brood last year. We now have three eggs. I also appreciate all the comments you leave - great post on comments on posts!! Have a great weekend :-D

Mark – Hello there and thanks so much for the link to the Chough Nestcam. As I said above I think I will post on other birds with Nestcams. I’m glad you enjoyed my video footage and I hope I have much more to share. Just now as I am writing this I have finally captured footage of the male in the Nestbox visiting with the female feeding here again and again. We now have three eggs. I agree completely – nature is amazing! Have a great weekend :-D

shirl said...

Hi there Juliet, sorry your reply was missed in the last posting :-)

Thank-you, it is very interesting to see the process of nest building. I had no idea it can take so long. Although I don’t imagine that this is typical to all blue tits.

Yes, our Blue tits are later this year. The female was ten days behind in bringing the first piece of moss in and eight days behind with her first egg – we now have three :-D

Have a great weekend :-D