Saturday, 9 November 2013

Garden Nestbox... first Great tit rooster... yay!

The list can be long for weekend garden jobs just now as we race between reasonable spells of weather and daylight. What jobs have you planned for this weekend? Have you cleaned out old nests from your nestboxes – perhaps you have seen birds looking in your garden nestboxes recently and wondered why?

The drop in temps at this time of year brings the birds to the feeders, that is easy for us to see, but it also brings birds to garden nestboxes too as they look for a warm place to roost in over the cold winter months ahead. I might take a guess that more nestboxes will be occupied over the winter than in spring/summer months. I love to see roosters tucked up in our nestbox at night especially when I'm cosy inside.

Our camera nestbox has had Blue tit roosters every winter since it went up in March 2007 and we’ve seen summer roosters too. I’ve often wondered if the summer roosters have been males keeping other perspective pairs from nesting in our nestbox so it will have more insects for his family in another nestbox nearby.




Our camera nestbox came with three sizes of entrance panels. The smallest (25mm) hole was to suit Blue tits (shown on right above), Coal tits and Marsh tits and was the one we fitted as we guessed Blue tits were most likely to use it. We were thrilled to see successful nesting by a pair of Blue tits in 2010 after seeing two unsuccessful broods in 2007 and 2008.

However, since then we’ve only had roosters which has been disappointing when there’s a camera in our nestbox. After cleaning out the winter rooster's droppings ready for Spring 2013 we made the decision to change the nestbox entrance panel to the medium (28mm) hole which was suitable for Great tits (shown on the left above), Tree Sparrows and Pied Flycatchers (so the manufacturer says).

Alas, no joy for nesting in 2013 but, as you know already from this post title, we now have a Great Tit roosting in our camera nestbox! I’ve not found myself at my usual gardenwatching window as much this year but was delighted to be there back on the 11th of October when I spotted a bird fly to towards the nestbox just after 10am. I switched on the camera to look inside and got a surprise to see a Great tit looking around!




Not knowing if the Great tit would hang around when I suspected a Blue tit might be roosting there, I took my video camera to another window to see what was going on outside the nestbox. The Great tit returned to look inside a few times. It came in to inspect our nestbox too which I watched back at my PC monitor. Since then it has roosted every night :-)

I'm pretty sure the Blue tit found another nestbox to roost in. I’m looking forward to nesting time now and curious to know if a Great tit rooster will actually nest in the same nestbox come Spring. However, I already know this Great tit rooster will be getting watched.

Spot the blue/green flash on the left hand picture below. The Blue tit hung around outside the nestbox when the Great tit was inside. I suspect the Great tit inside could hear it too.




What fun it is to watch new gardenwatching action again. Our frosty mornings earlier this week brought a few Fieldfares to the berries at my neighbour’s Rowan tree. I had apples out already and hope they will return to my garden over the winter to find them. I wonder if there will be any surprise visitors this winter. I enjoyed seeing the Pied Wagtail last year and the Yellowhammers :-)

One of my garden weekend jobs is to build a home for wildlife in a stone wall I rebuilt – I took the opportunity for a bit of redesign. My build won’t be as tidy as the one in the photo below taken on my Harrogate Autumn Flower Show visit back in September but nor will it be like the really messy ones with hay spilling out. I’ll try to make it just right for my setting and space.




Wishing you a great weekend of successful garden jobs and fun gardenwatching :-)


This post was published by Shirley for shirls gardenwatch in November 2013.

8 comments:

Lisa at Greenbow said...

I always enjoy your roosters. I have often wondered if any birds roost in my bird boxes. I don't ever see any going in and out. The darned squirrels took over a rather large box I was hopeful that a small owl would use. Starling and Squirrels are all that ever used it. Booo. Maybe one day the birds I find more desirable will move in.

I don't have a fancy wall to make a wildlife place but there is a stack of wood on the patio and I have some of those bamboo tubes together in a place where they could be used. The carpenter bees used my bench this year instead of these wonderful (to me) tubes. ha.

Mike said...

You dont need Autumnwatch on the TV in your house Shirl you have all going on all year round, great post. Mike.

Sue Garrett said...

Must switch on out nest cam to see if we have a winter resident - thanks for the reminder.

SeagullSuzie said...

I cleaned and filled up the bird feeders yesterday as the weather is calm and cold and the feeders have been so busy. I don't have any places for nest boxes sadly, so it's lovely to see your roosting birds.

Midmarsh John said...

Brilliant Shirl. Here's hoping it leads to some nest building next Spring. My GT rooster has used the box every night for weeks now so I'm hoping for a third year of watching young ones.
The year before last I found it was the female which was roosting - that particular year she had a nearly bald head, probably from a fight, so once she started laying I could easily tell which was which.

Angie said...

Excellent Shirley - I've a few little bird houses dotted around the garden but I suspect the cat's activity would hamper any attempt. Noticed an increase in different species visiting since I brought out the winter feeders. Looking forward to seeing your little wildlife home. I hope you get plenty of residents :)

Shirley said...

Hello everyone, thanks for all your comments :-) Brr… it’s cold out just now isn’t it?

Lisa, I love sharing the roosters with everyone too. Perhaps, you are missing birds going in and out your boxes? Oh dear… don’t like the idea of a squirrel talking over an owl box but I have heard of this before with a kestrel one. Ah… but these bamboo tubes are great accommodation for bees! I plan to use some in my wall too :-)

Mike, Ha- ha… perhaps in 2014 :-) It’s been a difficult couple of years with family stuff. Nice to see you back :-D

Sue, any update on your nestboxes?

Suzie, it is a great time for watching birds. Good to mention the cleaning of feeders as when they are busy we really need to keep on top of that for spreading that awful tricho disease. Shame about nestboxes for you – it’s great that so many bloggers have nestcams now so you can see what goes on inside.

John, I am delighted! I’ve watched your footage for a few years now. Fingers crossed that we can see some nest action this year. I’ve been delighted to see such success in your nestcam box. Ah… its great when there is an identifying mark on the birds in our boxes or in the garden to follow who’s who. Nice to know your female stayed to nest.

Angie, I’m very pleased. Ah, if your nestbox is high enough up I’m not sure the birds would bother about your cats. Certainly, winter roosters shouldn’t be bothered. Ah… the wildlife home is still on the list. Need to get it done this week though :-)

Sue Garrett said...

We had a look the other day and saw only a few feathers. You've prompted me to check again tonight!