Wednesday, 11 June 2008

The End

Sadly the picture from my camera Nestbox this morning shows the final two blue tit chicks leaning on each other not moving at all. Yesterday the third one died and I was most surprised to see that the female did not remove it from the nest until much later in the day. The other two chicks were climbing on top of it. I did take a photo but for my own records only. There is no need to post it or one from today.

What about the live mealworms? Well I am delighted to say that two days ago she finally discovered them and fed them to the chicks. Perhaps if I had the feeder with mealworms set up much earlier it could have helped the survival of the chicks. Who knows? I did try putting them in lots of places. She certainly ignored them for some time in the feeder dish taking the fat sprinkles instead. Still, they were available to her but in reality she could have had no help from me at all. It just goes to show how hard it can be for birds to feed their chicks.

The greenfly is thriving on my new rose but now that the blue tit doesn’t need to chase off competition from other blue, great and coal tits maybe these birds will enjoy the greenfly!

Interestingly enough there is another single blue tit with three chicks in a Nestbox featured in BBC Two’s Springwatch programme. They don’t know if it is male or female but much of the behaviour in this nest is very similar to the recent story from our Nestbox. For example the constant cleaning in the bottom of the nest and the way the chicks are being fed too - although I believe more food is going in. They suspect lice and mites in this Nestbox too. I will follow this story with interest to hear what they have to say about it and to see if these chicks are still surviving on Thursday when the programme ends its three week coverage.

I should say that the weather has certainly been on the side of our blue tit. If it had been raining all the time in the last two weeks she would have found it much harder to find food. We’ve only had the odd half day of rain.

Later today we are finally expecting rain and the garden could certainly do with it! I have not had time to post on my garden too much recently nor on the other birds that have been visiting too. Ah… the garden is looking very interesting now and my wisteria is in flower! It has a wonderful scent. I do have lots of updates on the garden and some work to do in it too! It really is a busy time of the year in the garden but soon it will be time to sit back and enjoy it with only the odd bit of very enjoyable pottering. I then will also look forward to browsing all the garden, bird and wildlife blogs that I have been unable to find time to visit recently.

Finally, I hope the rain will refresh but not stay with the gardens here in Scotland over the next couple of weeks. Yolanda at Bliss in the Netherlands is coming over to Scotland on a garden tour. I would like to wish you a great trip Yolanda and look forward to seeing your photos and reading about your garden visits on your return. Your posting on the the Edinburgh Botanical Garden, which will be looking very different from my last visit there in February, is going to be a very interesting one!

16 comments:

garden girl said...

I'm so sorry to hear that Shirl.

Thank you for your dedication documenting and filming the nest box. It's been fascinating in spite of the sad ending.

Lisa at Greenbow said...

Sad for your tits Shirl. Maybe next year she will be a more experienced mother and have better success.

It would be nice to see your wisteria. I just love that vine but don't have any in my garden.

Jane Marie said...

I'm sorry to hear about your nest of baby birds. I've enjoyed following along. Hopefully, she will produce a more successful brood next time. I guess that the way nature works, even though it's hard for humans to watch happen.

shirl said...

Hi again garden girl, Lisa and Jane Marie :-)

Ah... what can I say? The chicks did last a lot longer than I expected. There were nights when I was certain they would be gone by morning but towards the end they were actually looking like birds and were bouncing around and actually flapping there wings a little. You could also see the patterns on their wings and tail feathers were forming too. They were getting really interesting to watch too. Then overnight when it looked like things were taking a turn for the better very unexpectedly one of the final three chicks was dead. It just shows what a miracle the survival of birds and wildlife actually is. Even once the young birds fledge many fall foul to predators very soon after.

Garden girl – It has been fascinating to watch I agree and it has been a great opportunity to share this experience with others. Thank-you for joining me to follow this nesting bird story from my garden :-)

Lisa – LOL - sorry! I know what you mean. Perhaps the inexperience of the female may well have had a factor too but undoubtedly the male going missing (I have never seen him since) has played a big part in the story. The female may have had more time to keep the nest clean if he was bringing in food and two pairs of eyes in finding it would have helped too. I will try and get some garden photos posted soon – the wisteria will be top on the list and my stipa (giant oat grass) is also in my list. Today its feathery flowers are blowing beautifully in the sunshine :-D

Jane Marie – Thank-you - me too. Thanks also for following with me. Yes, perhaps next time she will be successful – fingers crossed for her. Yep, in nature I don’t suppose there would be room for all eggs to hatch and survive. But I agree as humans it is hard to watch. What I find hardest is seeing her at the feeders with no job to do after the chicks die. They always look a little lost for a while.

Nancy J. Bond said...

It's been such a thrill and privilege to watch these tiny creatures -- thank you for sharing. I'm sorry for the outcome, but their ultimate fate certainly wasn't for lack of care.

artistsgarden said...

Ahh - that is so sad Shirl. It has been amazing sharing your bird box - (much better than Spring Watch.
Thanks Karen
PS Looking forward to pics of your stipa

Pete said...

that's sad. think its been another bad year for bluey's

Miranda Bell said...

Shirl, I'm SO sorry - you must be feeling v. sad but in nature things go like that sometimes - similar disappointments with some of the chicks on Springwatch but there are always happy stories too and I'm sure there will be many more broods to enjoy on your cameras!

A happy story from this end was whilst eating my cereal - sat under our large walnut when I spotted a juvenile great spotted woodpecker - Mum then arrived to feed it! Just wish I'd had my camera - quite beautiful.

Anyway - an early start tomorrow but just wanted to drop you a line... keep cheery - Miranda

Debbie said...

Shirl, I am so sorry that the final chicks did not make it. I have been reading daily about the valiant efforts of the female to keep her brood alive. It can be so difficult.

Thank you for sharing this saga with us with your nest box cam.

Will she find another mate and try again this season?

Barbara said...

I'm sorry that the "story" doesn't have a happy end. But that's nature...May be next time the blue tit mother will be more successful with feeding her chicks.

Lancashire rose said...

We loved watching your video of the birds. It brought so many smiles to our face. So, it was very sad to read today about their demise.
Jenny

shirl said...

Hi again Nancy, Karen, Pete, Miranda, Debbie, Barbara and Jenny :-)

Nancy – It really has been a privilege I agree. It is fantastic that I can share this part of nature too. I did do my best to help but this just shows with or without help broods do fail. We watched the same last year that was why I was so keen to make a difference this year. Have a great weekend :-D

Karen – Thank-you! I’m glad you have enjoyed following the blue tit nesting in my garden albeit to an unsuccessful ending. It was sad to see her and the chicks struggle. A stipa pic is up in my posting today – just a taster for Sunday GBBD! Have a great weekend :-D

Pete – Yep, it seems so by the emails I have had. Although I have heard of a few broods doing well too. Maybe next year… Have a great weekend :-D

Miranda – Thank-you! I don’t suppose I felt disappointment more a need to help. I know I did in the end when she took the mealworms. Yes, for sure there are many successful outcomes as Springwatch showed too. I get lots of mail at this time of year too. What a great story about the woodpeckers – what a great capture that would have been but then again sometimes when you just watch without a camera it is quite special too. Have a great weekend :-D

Debbie – Thank-you for following this moment with us. It really did show how tricky it can be for birds nesting. It is not likely that she will have another brood this year. However, this time I think we will clean out the box perhaps in a week or so. We will see what happens. The recommended time to do so in the UK is from mid September but as we can see inside our box and we know the nest is full of pests the RSPB suggested I cleaned it now – using gloves! Perhaps next year we will be third time lucky! Have a great weekend :-D

Barbara – Me too, but yes this is the reality of nature. Yes, I am hoping for third time lucky next year. Have a great weekend :-D

Jenny – Thank-you for following with us. It was sad and it was unexpected too as they were really starting to look like little birds. The biggest factor has to be the low number of food deliveries to the chicks. So fingers crossed for next year! Have a great weekend :-D

Jane said...

It was very sad reading your post on the blue tits. I guess we forget how many birds face these same problems every year, and the thousands of birds that die because their parent/s can't feed them enough. Even though it hasn't been a happy ending it has still been thoroughly enthralling. Thank you for letting us see into one birds fight to bring up a family. Jane

Mo said...

It's still been fascinating to watch. As others have said, lets hope she learns from the experience and is successful next time.

Border Reiver said...

Hi Shirl, sad to hear about your blue tits. Not much comfort but this is nature I'm afraid. There's a lot of discussion at the moment over the reason for the lack of insects this year. Top theory is that the cold summer had a serious effect on insect populations, so low numbers this year. A classic case of population dynamics, one of the more interesting aspects of understanding wildlife.

Not that helpful though when you have birds you know well succumbing to nature

shirl said...

Hi again Jane, Mo and Border :-)

Jane – I agree completely. We look out to see the juvenile birds in our garden thinking their only threat is a cat or Sparrowhawk. I wonder what percentage across the country doesn’t make it to fledge. Having the camera in a Nestbox certainly has opened my eyes to the reality of nesting. Ah… but at this time of year I do get a lot of mail and there are happy stories too. You had a very early brood of blue tits fledge with you – the first I heard about this year. I am sure you will agree that through having cameras around your garden recording foxes and badgers visit it is fantastic that we can share wildlife via the internet. For any other readers reading this Jane has a live stream from her garden in the evening! Have a good week :-D

Mo – I agree, especially when they were opening their eyes! They really started to look like little birds at the end. Yes, I wonder if inexperience added to the outcome. We did think that last year when with two parents feeding eight chicks died too. I think birds like the blue tit do learn so hopefully she will be successful next year. Have a good week :-D

Border – Yes, with an unsuccessful brood in this Nestbox last year we can now understand now how harsh nature can be. Thanks, I hadn’t heard about the discussion on lack of insects this year. My daughter had the theory that as the blue tits weren’t getting caterpillars last year there would be a ‘shift’ and the numbers would have increased this year! I can see how dynamics could change and also how fascinating this must be to the scientists and wildlife enthusiasts. I hope things balance out for next year and we see a successful brood. Have a good week :-D