Thursday, 27 May 2010

Nestbox Diary videos, chicks hatch & parents feed them

Are you ready for bird TV? Editing video footage from our Camera Nestbox has been an absolute joy! I can now share the first egg hatching of our 2010 Blue Tit family, the tiny chicks taking their first mouthfuls and the way their parents have worked together… most of the time.

Before we begin our marathon movie session you might want to check out the new overview page for the 2010 Blue Tit Nestbox Diary. It shows just how tiny the Blue tit eggs have been in the nest. This will also give you an idea of the size of the newly hatched chicks when you look at the image below taken on Tuesday. The last egg finally hatched over night. This final chick is noticeable smaller than the others.


Chicks around a day old.


Image taken just after first chick hatched.


Already I can see how the chicks have grown in just two days. Some of the bigger ones can now swallow a small caterpillar! This makes a huge difference in their growth rate. Being fed caterpillars is the best news as in previous they haven’t been available. I’m hoping this will improve the odds of the chicks surviving to fledge.

I fully understand not everyone can view videos. In short, the male is doing a brilliant job bringing in food which he gives to the female to feed the chicks. The female still spends a lot of time on the nest. She will also go to find food too. The male does seem confused if she isn’t there. Check out the green caterpillar in the chick’s mouth below.


Male wonders if female is coming back to see he fed a chick a caterpillar.


There has been an absolutely priceless moment (not caught on film) when the male wasn’t keen on parting with the juicy green caterpillar he brought in. The female tried to take in and between they pulled back and forth making me think of the spaghetti moment in Lady and the Tramp. The female won in the end!

Enough chat, let’s turn on to bird TV. There is no background music with any of the videos shown below. I hope you enjoy the show :-D


Video info: A small clutch of six eggs were laid starting on May 6th 2010. Incubation lasted 18 days before the first egg hatched. The female is seen here incubating her eggs just 10 mins before the first chick hatched. You can see her checking around the eggs. You can all see her move from side to side as she turns the eggs with her feet...




Video info: Lunchtime sees the first egg of a clutch of six eggs hatch. The female is seen eating the egg shell. She then looks deep into the nest before settling back into the nest cup to continue incubating the other eggs...




Video info: At just 15 minutes after hatching the calls from the female Blue tit are answered when the male comes in with the first feed for the new chick. The female flaps her wings vigorously over the nest to request the food which she feeds to the chick. She eats some of it herself before settling back into the nest cup to incubate her other eggs...




Video info: The female Blue tit gets tired of waiting for the male to answer her calls for food for her chick and goes out to get some herself. She then calls at the chick to open its mouth to take the food. She nudges the chick around a little before settling back into the nest cup to incubate her other eggs...




Video info: The female Blue Tit tries to catch a nap as 2nd chick about to hatch. As it hatches she removes the shell and plans to eat it. The male comes in with a caterpillar and does her a swap. She feeds the tiny chicks by dipping the caterpillar into their tiny mouths then eats what remains. She flaps her wings at the male to request more food. He dutifully returns with another juicy caterpillar...




Video info: The female Blue tit is sitting in the nest cup when the male comes in with another juicy caterpillar. He is proving to be a good food provider so far. The female appears disinterested in his offering. He insists she takes his meal and watches to see the chicks get it. She eats what remains and dives into the nest cup to tidy up before settling back to incubate the remaining four eggs...




Video info: The male Blue tit arrives with a juicy caterpillar to find two chicks home alone. He seems confused as to what to do. He leaves, heading out to his usual pre nestbox landing spot (top of a small pine tree opposite the entrance) outside. He bobs up and down calling for the female eventually giving up and heading back to his chicks and begins to feed them.

The female comes in and flaps her wings requesting the food but he continues. He does the job properly too by removing the instant (after eating) white faecal sac from the chick. The female flutters her wings at him to get it as she usually eats this but he leaves the nestbox with it. He heads straight to the top of the pine tree, drops it from there and heads away to find another caterpillar...





Video info: The female Blue Tit leaves her chicks for a brief break. Probably to get some food for herself as well as her chicks. Two chicks are just over a day old with the others almost a day. One egg remains unhatched. The chicks are now getting strong enough to lift their heads up. They need to that and to open their mouths to get the attention of a parent bird with food. Their eyes are closed so they probably listen for their food parcels...




That’s all for now folks!!

10 comments:

Angie said...

FABULOUS!

Midmarsh John said...

I agree with Angie - a fabulous series of videos Shirl. Such beautifully clear colour as well.
Great to see how gentle the parent is and I was really surprised how deep the nest cup is.

lotusleaf said...

As Angie has exclaimed, it is fabulous!

Rosie@leavesnbloom said...

what great viewing!

Catherine@AGardenerinProgress said...

My 11 year old daughter and I really enjoyed watching the videos. It's just amazing to watch the birds.

ShySongbird said...

Just Brilliant, Shirl!! Oscars must go to the producer, the narrator, the two lead actors and a joint one to the five/six best newcomers :)

Lovely to watch such diligent and attentive parents, I think they could teach the human race a thing or two!

As usual I struggle to keep up with commenting but have seen and enjoyed all your week's posts. Incidentally, I have had Geums in the past but they never seem to last more than a couple of years have you noticed that at all?

Hope you are having a great weekend, it has been wet here all day but the garden does need it.

Orchids and Nature said...

Wonderful post , Your going to have about 18 days of fasinating viewing before they all fledge.

Patsi 'Garden Endeavors' said...

My husband is amazed by your video cams...well,so am I.
Anyway...
Sparrow did give up his guard duty...didn't know he was doing that or that the male scouts out a house before female picks which one she wants.

Was guessing about eggs because of timing and behavior but she may not have been finished laying eggs.
One day of no activity and now the Wrens are back in action.
Just this morning saw male House Sparrow starting a nest in our first new Bluebird box...know it's late in the season for Bluebirds...wonder should I stop the Sparrow.

Juliet said...

Wow, that was a marathon movie session, as you said! How brilliant that the male is bringing in so many caterpillars - I really hope it means the chicks all survive this year.

I must - in the absence of nest box cams - work out how to use the video on my camera - we've had baby blackbirds being fed in our garden this year and now have baby sparrows, but getting still photos of them is so difficult as they move about so quickly, nearly everything comes out blurred. I did manage to get a couple of shots of the blackbirds, which are very tame, but I haven't a hope with the sparrows!

shirl said...

Hi there Angie, John, lotusleaf, Rosie, Catherine, Jan, David, Patsi and Juliet. I am delighted that you’ve all enjoyed these videos. It has been brilliant to share them :-D

John, yes the cup has become even deeper now. It must be more caldron shaped based on the digging the female is doing to get rid of bugs in there. In fact the side nearest to the wall has completely opened up now.

Jan, don’t worry about comments. I completely understand... love this one though! I know I don’t make it easy for you to keep up and you’re like me and are unable to do short comments which doesn’t help your cause ;-) I agree completely about how diligent the parents are being. We’ve seen some very interesting behaviour. Re the Geums I have had mine for about seven years at a guess. Don’t know the variety as got it from a friend but has compact foliage neat foliage and I treat it like ground cover and flowers are a bonus :-D

David, I hope so. It will be a first if we do. Worried at the moment that they could be over heating in our box.

Patsi, thanks for the update on your nestbox drama. How all is still well with your Wrens now. Glad you both enjoyed our action. I guess like the Blue Tits your Sparrows will be determined ;-)

Juliet, I am thrilled with the male and the caterpillars. Please do, it will be great to see the action in your garden. Lol… at a tame sparrow. Nice pics of the blackbird. They can be fairly tame can’t they :-D