Wednesday, 23 June 2010

Nestbox Diary, chicks look out nestbox entrance

Perhaps it’s a bit on the warm side to be sitting at a computer browsing garden blogs when you can be outdoors enjoying your own garden just now. Gosh… isn’t everything growing so fast just now? Weeds too of course ;-)

Don’t you just love that expression to describe young children growing up and getting taller… growing like weeds! Well, I guess you could say that’s what happened to the Blue tit chicks in our nestbox too ;-)

It is ten days now since they all successfully fledged and we have never seen any Blue tit chicks being fed by parents or visit the feeders to even speculate that this was our family. Ah well. Mm… but I do have one mystery! I’ll come back to that after some images taken just a few hours before the first chick fledged.

This time, I’m not going to give you any video info. I’m certain it will be much more fun for you to watch that way. I wonder if you’ll guess what happens next…





Videos are no fun though if you can’t view them so below you’ll find a few frame grabs from the video. They came out surprisingly well. I only gave them a little sharpen in Photoshop too. Oh yes… I couldn’t resist some captions :-D


Hello there… what's going on out here?


Oh my… it's a bit high... more wing flapping required!


Ouch… shuffle… ouch… topple… Mum… Dad… I’m stuck ;-)


Thanks, Dad… I’ll have my mealworm al fresco!


Sorry, Dad… was I in your way? Come on in… there’s space now :-D


What fun the chicks were to watch during the last full day they were in our nestbox. I’ve made a start on sorting the footage taken from inside our nestbox that day and will post it as soon as I get it sorted. Meanwhile… back in our nestbox now…


Yep… what an unexpected surprise! Two nights ago, purely by chance, I discovered our nestbox had a rooster in it! This is not a time of year we usually see birds roosting in there either. My first thought was for the health of this bird as the nest was bound to have parasites. I watched for it to open out of its sleeping ball shape and was soon to discover it was a Blue tit and a slightly scruffy looking one at that!

Yep… my first question was the same! Could this possibly be one of the chicks that fledged from our nestbox? Was it likely at all that this could happen? I didn’t think so. I asked around on forums but got no replies. Perhaps this wasn’t the first night this bird has been roosting in our box.

By the next evening, I had decided that seeing as I knew for sure there were no eggs left in our nestbox I could safely remove the used nest. That way if the rooster returned that night it would be a cleaner place for it. I scattered some wood shavings on the floor of the box so it wasn’t completely bare.

Did this rooster return? Yes it did. It appeared slightly confused with the new flooring too but eventually settled down fine and went to sleep. Tonight it is back again. It is still looking a bit scruffy but there are no signs of the yellow beak of a chick. However, I have no idea at what stage the yellow beak changes.





So there we have it… a new garden visitor mystery! Just when I’m preparing for my summer break too… do you think it knew this? Lol. Although, I do have one little nag as I look at the photos and video of this rooster. It’s one of the eyes. It looks like the lid doesn’t stay open easily/all of the time. Mm… that was something I noticed on one of our nestbox family chicks! I’ll have to ask around again on this. Have you ever heard of a fledged chick returning to a nestbox?


Finally, I just want to add some advice on cleaning out nestboxes as given by the RSPB on their website:

“The nests of most birds harbour fleas and other parasites, which remain to infest young birds that hatch the following year. We recommend that old nests be removed in the autumn, from August onwards once the birds have stopped using the box.”

Please also note that there are laws protecting eggs in nestboxes:

“Unhatched eggs in the box, can only be removed legally between August and January - and must then be disposed of.”

To clean your nestbox the RSPB suggest:

“Use boiling water to kill any remaining parasites, and let the box dry out thoroughly before replacing the lid. Insecticides and flea powders must not be used.

If you place a small handful of clean hay or wood shavings (not straw) in the box once it is thoroughly dry after cleaning, small mammals may hibernate there, or birds may use it as a roost site.”



However, as I’ve said earlier… summer is not a time I’d associate with roosters. Has anyone any ideas/suggestions they’d like to share? This really is a curious one especially if this is one of our chicks roosting. I still can’t see it being one of them though.

On the other side, I am delighted that our nestbox is providing a safe place for this Blue tit to roost for now. I wonder how long it will stay. That’s me for tonight… way too late in posting once again!!

Enjoy the rest of your week and wishing you a great weekend :-D


All video and nestbox images above have been taken in my garden during June 2010.

9 comments:

Lisa at Greenbow said...

My dear Shirley, this is so entertaining. I just love to see the sweet little chicks peeking out. It is fun to think that maybe one of them grew up and came home to roost.

lotusleaf said...

An interesting post, the video was intriguing.

Shady Gardener said...

What great photos - and this is a bird I'd never see, otherwise. :-) We have baby bluebirds. The parents are both working overtime. I HOPE I'm fortunate enough to see them leave the box!! YOU have a great day, too!!

Rosie@leavesnbloom said...

How wonderful Shirl for you to be the hostess of this little bluetit.

Did you consider ringing the RSPB at Vane Farm - they might know someone who could answer your questions.

shirl said...

Hi again Lisa, lotusleaf, Shady and Rosie :-)

Lisa, I agree completely. You can easily see how I had difficulty leaving the screen that day… and I was only watching what was going on inside! Lol… home to roost indeed ;-) I’ll have to examine the footage from the last day to look for more likenesses :-D

lotusleaf, thank-you, I had so many clips from outside the nestbox that day that it was hard to whittle the selection down to three :-D

Shady, thanks, that’s one of the things I have loved about blogging. I’m able to share in your baby bluebirds too which I’d never see otherwise. Looking forward to seeing some photos if you can get any. Oh… those poor parents… so very hard working aren’t they? I hope you see them leave your box too… it happens so very quickly though and it’s easy to miss. Thanks, it’s slightly cooler this morning (thank goodness) so maybe I’ll be able get into the garden later. It’s my Mum’s birthday today and I’m sure she’ll be delighted to have a cooler day too :-D

Rosie, it is… although only seeing it when light levels are low it is still difficult to tell if it’s a juvenile. I’ll have to keep an eye out for it in the garden at the feeders. That might help. I’ve moved a feeder (roses growing up the arch have now opened their blooms) so I can get a better view. I did consider phoning Vane Farm but contacted the general enquiries on the RSPB website instead. No reply there but it did suggest they had lots of enquiries. Perhaps I could contact Vane Farm now… thanks for the reminder :-D

ShySongbird said...

Hi Shirl :) What a great post! I looked at it last night (at a silly time) but decided to come back and comment at a more sensible time ;)

I really enjoyed the videos and the frame grabs are just brilliant, I really love the 'al fresco' one! Great captions too.

Fancy them repaying all your hospitality by leaving home and not even coming back for a visit now and then :)

Yes, that really was my first question (regarding the rooster) and I suspect many others asked it too. I'm definitely no expert but it doesn't quite look like a fledgling to me. Could it be Mum getting some much needed and safe rest after all her hard work, I wonder?

Did you see the Swallows that didn't want to leave home on Springwatch? Then when they eventually did, they all came back again to roost, so funny :)

Regarding the reply to my comment on your last post, The answer is I find it incredibly difficult which is why I am not sure how long I can carry on with blogging. Trying to keep up with all the blogs I enjoy and reciprocating on those who are kind enough to comment on mine is very difficult and is why my own posts have become few and far between :( I have a lot of thinking to do as to how, and if, I should carry on. If only I wasn't so much an all or nothing sort of person maybe it would be easier!

Have a great weekend and I hope the weather is nice for you.

Midmarsh John said...

Great bit of video there Shirl. I guess that was when the parent was trying to entice the last youngster to leave the nest.
Lovely stills as well.

Fancy having a rooster now. I must remember to have a look in my box from time to time. I had switched that camera off for the Summer.

shirl said...

Hi John, thanks. Glad you enjoyed them. When its not been too hot indoors I find myself watching through the last day of nestbox footage and I’m still finding it difficult to whittle down to the best bits :-)

I bet you’re glad you have your air conditioning at your house just now. We have had sunshine and dry almost all of May and June. Good news for caterpillars next year though :-D

Funnily enough that wasn’t what was going on in the clip. The male was in and out with so many food deliveries that last day and this chick (that I suspect was the first to fledge) was just in his way when he was in a hurry. The male was being good at looking for the chicks still in the nest cup area to feed first. If I can find the footage from inside you’ll see that he jumped past the chick that had been at the entrance and went straight to a smaller chick. Meanwhile that chick shown still remained below the nestbox entrance. It was fascinating to watch. A pretty busy day in the nestbox that was!!

Yes, having a rooster just now has been a surprise. I chatted to someone at an RSPB shop today and they said it was unusual for it to be a chick returning but it was possible. What I find strange is that if it wasn’t one of the chicks it was weird to think of the timing of the minute the box was empty another bird would move in… when there was a nest in it too. Looking at stills and video footage captured I’m not convinced this is one of the parents by the head markings. However as you say, for there to be rooster at all during a warm summer is quite strange. A mystery this… maybe it will unfold yet. I’ll keep an eye on the feeders when I can :-D

Yes, I wonder if you’ll see any roosters this summer. That would be interesting :-)

shirl said...

Hello Jan, thank-you, oh… I am master at the silly ;-)

Glad to hear you enjoyed all the moments from our nestbox and have been able to follow this with us. That rooster still remains a mystery. It is still coming.

Lol… yes I did see the swallows. Funny weren’t they. I was watching some at an RSPB centre just today fully enjoying the bounty of midges out in the warm sunshine around the trees there! We had to almost run from the car indoors!

Yes, I suspected you might have become a victim of your own success as a blogger… regarding comments especially. With your formant of wonderfully illustrated postings via photos, info and prose I am not surprised at all that you have built up quite a readership. Of course as we all know your generous comments on other blogs will get followed to yours and so it goes :-D

Yes, I fully understand what you’re saying. I am an all or nothing person too and that’s how it bothers me so much that I don’t get to replying to my own comments and leaving others around as quickly and as much as I’d like. The summer garden doesn’t help blogging either.

I guess you just have to step back and decide what works best for you in the blogging world. I am guessing you have fully enjoyed your time blogging. My thoughts are that it should be fun. Do what works for you. Decide if you still want to keep a diary of your visits to look back on for yourselves too. That’s where I’m coming from at the moment myself. If so, even monthly postings might cover that for a while giving you time for other things that have been neglected perhaps… talking from my own experience here!!

Hope you have been enjoying the sunshine meantime :-D