Friday, 5 March 2010

2010 Nestbox News: First visits

Finally, after some deliberation outside our new camera nestbox we have seen the first images of blue tits inside it this week. Their curiosity has satisfied mine too! I have been very interested to see what quality of images we would get from this nestbox showing only black and white images. This nestbox has infra red to allow viewing at all times and both features are what attracted me to it.

The floor area of this Gardman Nestbox is smaller and the camera closer to the floor so I did expect the images of birds to be larger in the space. However, I have been surprised that the difference has been quite so noticeable with my Camnest Nestbox which you can see in the montage below.



The top four images show a visit just ten minutes after the rooster of 4 months in our colour nestbox was seen on a morning visit. By the patterns on the eye band I’d say they were different birds.

That was interesting to see that two birds were inspecting different nestboxes in my garden at almost the same time. You can see the video footage captured below. Note the rooster removes her droppings as she leaves. There is no background music with the videos below so you can hear the birds move about the empty boxes.





Note the flickering is pretty strong with the camera flooding light in the box. I suspect if there was a nest in this box then the contrast would be less uncomfortable to watch.

The last image at the bottom right hand corner of the montage above however, is the most interesting of the group. I’ll let you watch the very short capture and see if you can guess what is happening…



The flickering outside suggests to me that there is a bird at the entrance. The Blue tit inside is not agitated in any way to suggest that is comfortable and does not appear threatened. The wonderful assumption now is that this was a pair visiting this nestbox! Excellent news, but this is very early days.

Unfortunately, or fortunately depending on your perspective, birds can investigate quite a few nestboxes at the same time. I am now deliberating myself that perhaps this pair also looked in my colour nestbox yesterday. Perhaps they met up with our rooster too!

Why am I considering that? Well, after 4 months of having a rooster in my colour nestbox it was empty last night. Looks like the drama and speculation of a new year for the nestboxes has started already!

No speculation on the Blackbird nestbox though. Mostly as I cannot see it from my window and there isn’t a camera nearby. Once I start to see blackbirds collect nesting material from the borders around my pond where they are usually seen I’ll set up a camera in that area. I’m not holding my breath on that one though.

Wishing you a great weekend watching for visits to your nestboxes - if you have any. Based on the timing of the visits above I’d keep an eye on them from 8.45 – 10.15am.

If you’d rather be out visiting a garden instead then do come back and join me over the weekend for garden visit. Once again, no coat or sensible shoes required ;-)


The video footage and screen grabs were taken between March 1st-4th 2010.

11 comments:

Michelle said...

How cool. Those cameras are the neatest things! Look forward to more updates

Kimberly said...

This is absolutely the collest thing ever!!! Amazing!

Catherine@AGardenerinProgress said...

These were so neat to see! I'd love to have a camera like that. It'll be fun to watch the nest building, etc going on inside next.
I had Chickadees checking out a house recently, but then found that bumblebees had started nesting in there. I cleaned out the old bird nest so the bees would leave. I wonder if the birds will come back now?

Midmarsh John said...

Hello Shirl. Really clear pictures of the Blue Tit in the nestbox. Great to see they have been inside at last.
Digital video cameras can be a bit severe as they automatically adjust to varying light levels but, as you say, once there is nesting material to darken the background things should be easier on the eye.

shirl said...

Hello there Michelle, thanks for stopping by my blog! Crocus and cheese… and you work in a nursery... now my browse through your blogs did make me smile :-D

I agree it is the greatest thrill to be able to see activity inside a nestbox. However, it does show the reality of the survival of chicks in a nest too.

shirl said...

Hello there Kimberly, thanks for stopping by my blog! I see you are new to the blogging world… welcome :-D

I enjoyed your Botanical tour and seeing all the fruits you can grow in your Florida garden. For someone new, it looks like you’ve got the technical side covered there :-D

Yes, it is amazing to have these cameras… I have one in a hedgehog house too. Fingers crossed we’ll get some successful nesting activity to share this year. Failing that, I do put a camera out in the evenings during the summer/autumn near a feeding station that hedgehogs wander by too. They really are the coolest thing to watch :-D

shirl said...

Hi again Catherine, delighted you caught this post I thought you would be interested :-D

It is definitely fun to watch the nest building although frustrating too. Often it looks great and things look likely that the box has been chosen (birds can start more than one nest) and then all the material will be removed again in large clumps. It doesn’t even go to another nest often it is just dropped from the entrance. The bird then starts again!!

Ah… we have had wasps build a nest in one of our nestboxes. As this was above our back door we had to deal with it. I don’t know what I’d have done if it had been bees. That was later on in the year and I hadn’t noticed it start. When we removed it some time later so birds could roost in it over the winter we saw it had completely filled the box.

It was a good idea to move the old nest so perhaps fortunate that the bees alerted you there. Advice here is that they can have parasites in them that could harm the very young chicks. Hopefully the chickadees will return. Perhaps they are still at the checking out the boxes in the area stage. Fingers crossed :-D

shirl said...

Hi again John, hoped you’d catch this post. I was delighted to see the birds finally got inside :-D

Yes, I have to say clear pictures were on my mind when I considered the black and white camera. I noticed that the images were clearest when the bird was stretching up too suggesting they might be good of chicks on top of the nest. As always, fingers crossed there.

Yes, as I don’t have the severe flickering in my colour box I never suspected this. Many factors could add to this like the software I use too I suppose but as the image is clear I suspect this is not the case. Careful editing will be required for the moment.

Interested to read that a Great tit has had a look in one of your boxes. I’d love to see one in one of mine. I’d take a guess that they could be better in finding food for chicks than Blue tits based on the way I have seen them search in my garden at nesting time.

Midmarsh John said...

Hi Shirl. I have similar 'flickering' problems with a couple of cameras here. Sometimes they seem to initially over compensate for changes in light intensity.

G L Wilson said...

Hi Shirl

Great excitement here: I've seen my first hedgehogs of the year (and also caught them on camera).

They've already started the bad behavior with the pushing and the shoving.

Kay said...

This is SO interesting. I'm going to check into getting a nest cam set up in my yard. I love visiting your garden and other sites around Scotland, but the visits inside the nest boxes are the very best!
(I'm a new blogger and I visit you frequently for inspiration!)