Tuesday, 13 July 2010

Of blue tits and great tits and stuff

We have lots of nest boxes in our garden, including a tit box built into a brick column on the patio half-way up the garden, which was used by a pair of great tits this year, and a 'sparrow terrace' of 3 boxes, which has been used by house sparrows about twice but is mostly occupied by blue tits, including this year.

It being way past the time the tits fledge, and with a bit of time on my hands, I decided I'd clean out the boxes to get rid of parasites hiding in the old nesting material, so that when the birds move in next year, they're not at an immediate disadvantage.

In the past when doing this, I've always found empty nests, but this time was different. Both nests held two dead chicks and the box occupied by blue tits this spring also had an unhatched egg.

This is curious. I don't know whether the adults got eaten, or frightened away, or just couldn't find enough food to feed their chicks. Blue tit presence in our garden peaked at 5 in early June, but there's no guarantee those were 'mine'. And the great tits seem to have just faded away in late May.

I'll be interested to see the BTO results for this year when they publish them.

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