Sunday, 8 June 2008

What can we see?

Well, I would have said it was against all odds that the three remaining blue tit chicks in our camera Nestbox were still alive. They are only being fed by one parent (the female) and her food deliveries are nowhere nearly often enough. I timed her over an hour during the last couple of days.

Incredibly she only brought food in nine times in the hour and sometimes only gave this to just one of the chicks - the other two were left even longer for food. In all honesty I now look in this Nestbox not really knowing what I will see.

This morning I was delighted to see that it looks like the chicks eyes are opening – this has been very interesting to watch. They are turning their heads around a lot. I expect the brighter light in the Nestbox at this time of the day will be catching them.

Something else looks like it is catching them too. I am pretty confident now that there are parasites in this nest. I know the female tidies up a lot – digging way down into the bottom of the nest. You can hear her tapping on the wood of the Nestbox floor.


However, the chicks are often seen jumping in a jerky fashion when they are on their own too. I have also been watching the biggest of the three chicks pecking under its wings as I have seen the female do. I am completely new to this stage in the Nestbox but I would guess many nests have parasites and chicks do survive.

Okay, I have one more concern for these hungry chicks – the ‘always hungry’ starlings! The tone of the chirping of the chicks is changing and getting louder and this morning they definitely responded to changes in light levels thinking the female was coming in the Nestbox – it was a starling on the roof. If the starling shows interest when the female is there then she will protect them. But if they are hungry and get the strength to get out of the nest cup… yep, you can guess what will happen next.

Finally, I am not going to predict the outcome of these chicks as now I am in completely unknown territory. They still look far too thin to me and I am guessing that they will need a lot more feeding as they get bigger. The female is still not using the live mini mealworms and doesn’t appear to have found the greenfly either. She searches the front of my Leylandii hedge yet within a metre of the Nestbox there is a pergola covered in ivy with spiders etc – the great tits search there. So what will happen next – we will just have to wait and see!

The photos above were taken from my camera nestbox on June 8th 2008.

9 comments:

Zoë said...

I hope they make it. I watched the last of hour blue tits fledge yesterday, 5 of them all bright blue and pristine fluttered from the nest box to a near by Lilac as their parents encouraged them to fly free with raucous cheeps. It was fun to watch them one by one pop their heads in and out the hole, 'Shall I, Shan't I' like, and then make the leap into the big wide world.

Didnt have my camera to hand and didn't dare move in case I disturbed them.

I can only imagine you will feel such relief when yours finally fly the nest.

Regards,

Zoë

Lisa at Greenbow said...

One can never predict what will happen in nature. I wish good luck for the chicks.

Barbara said...

Let's be optimistic! However, the final result you'll only have when they all fly the nest in due time.
Have a nice Sunday!
Barbara

Robin's Nesting Place said...

The nest box camera is interesting but I'm beginning to think that ignorance is bliss. Poor birds, I didn't realize what incredible obstacles they had to overcome just to survive.

garden girl said...

Aw, I hope they will survive. Poor little babies! Mamma must be exhausted.

Aunt Debbi/kurts mom said...

What a lot of work for one parent. Hope they make it.

Cinj said...

No kidding. What a hard job for the poor mom. It would be hard for me to hold on in this roller coaster ride!

Yolanda Elizabet said...

Just read the whole sorry story of the blue tits nest. I hope the 3 surviving chicks will make it. What happened to daddy? Do you know?
Is mummy feeding the babies the mealworms now? You are trying your best to help her but she must take the mealworms and feed them to her young.

Love the pics of your garden and the new shed!

I didn't have time to respond to your e-mail but you can find the answer to your question on my blog today.

cheerio!

shirl said...

Hi again Zoe. Lisa, Barbara, Robin, garden girl, Aunt debbi/kurts mom, Cinj and Yolanda
:-)


Sorry I have been slow to reply to your comments. I appreciate them all. When things are so changeable in the nest I try to wait until there is positive news in my updates. It was also a very busy weekend :-D

Zoe – You may have read the post above and the chicks finally lost their battle to survive this morning. However as your comment shows many do survive and they are so entertaining to watch. Thank-you for sharing your experience here. Maybe next year we will see the fun leaps you describe :-)

Lisa – Quite true, quite true. After seeing similar sights to last year where all eight chicks died after a week I didn’t expect them to last as long as they did. Let’s wish this female luck for nest time :-)

Barbara – I tried to be, I honestly did. I spent too much time watching the birds so I did see the subtle changes in the nest. We had a great Sunday thanks – it was my Dad’s 80th Birthday and we all went out for lunch. On Saturday night I made him a bowling green cake with 80 bowls set out in five games. It was fun and I am delighted to say everyone enjoyed eating it – bowls and all. I took it with us to the restaurant :-D

Robin – I can see why you perhaps think you wouldn’t like to see the reality pictures from the camera in a Nestbox. However, when it is in your garden with birds that visit your feeders and you see them fly in and out is absolutely fascinating despite it having a sad ending. I haven’t been by your blog in a while and I see you have been making a few style changes – very interesting. I also see you have young birds at your bird bath – they are great fun to watch. Great photos :-D

Garden girl – as you know from my next post sadly they didn’t survive. Thanks for joining me :-)

Aunt debbi/kurts mom – Thank-you but sadly they didn’t. It was hard work for her on her own but it is not uncommon. I don’t know what the stats are on how many broods survive with just one parent. :-)

Cinj – Yep she did work hard but I suspect she didn’t have the same dedication that she would have had had the male been around too. It was a roller coaster ride and in the end we thought it was getting better. You just can’t tell in nature :-)

Yolanda – Your timing is uncanny – you caught up just in time! This was the last few days of chicks in the Nestbox. This morning I switched on the camera to see the last two chicks huddled still together - they were already gone. Daddy was gone before the eggs hatched and Mummy did finally find the mini mealworms. It is sad to see a brood fail for a second year but based on the emails I have received there are quite few that don’t make it. However, I find it a treat to read about the ones that do make it. Thank-you the garden is changing quite a bit at the moment with the sunshine bringing on the plants. We do need some rain though to refresh them. I love my new shed but still need to get it properly organised. Not enough time at the moment as I am sure you know yourself. Your new long border looks like it will be very interesting. I am wondering if we will see a bit of Piet Oudolf here perhaps. Thank-you, I have been to read your post (as you know) and your garden tour to Scotland sounds very interesting. We have had nice weather recently so I expect the rain is due but I hope you get sunny days for your visit. Have fun on tour :-D