Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Nesting garden birds

For the past few weeks we've been aware that a pare of blackbirds were nesting in one of our hedges - in early March I'd seen one collecting grass and mud and repeatedly flying to a particular point in the hedge.  This is a good clue.  Then for a good few days now, the parent birds have been taking food back to the nest and you could hear the young cheeping as the parents arrived.

Doug wanted to come and ring them, so I took a couple of photographs so he could see how far advanced the chicks were, but in the end, pressure of work prevented him from coming, so this brood will remain unringed.  I have reported the nest on the BTO garden nestwatch website, but there was nowhere for me to report the number of chicks, just their presence.  Answer: four.

So having entered the blackbird nest, I wanted to follow that up with a blue tit nest in a box on the house wall.  Yesterday I saw a blue tit, first cleaning stuff out, then later, carrying nesting material into the box.  But today I didn't see him her.  The lid of that box was not properly secured, so this morning I decided to latch it properly closed while there was no sign of bird activity.  Rather to my surprise, I found a dessicated, long-dead house sparrow in the box.  This could be why the blue tit decided against that box after all.

It might also explain why so few birds visited the fat balls I hung from beneath that nest, despite the long, cold winter.  I guess the smell of dead sparrow might have put them off a bit!

Well, since the sparrow is now in the brown bin, perhaps both feeding and nesting will resume.

Later:  There seems an obvious pair of blue tits hanging around and one is rapidly nest-building.  I'd assumed it would be the male that built the nest (no idea why I thought that!) but when I checked in the book, it's the female doing all the work.  The quickest collecting expedition I saw was about 15 seconds, though most are rather longer than that.  And it seems to take only about 10 - 15 seconds to add the new material to the nest, before the bird emerges once more.


Jennyta said...

Well, I will forebear to make the obvious comment about it being the norm for females to do most of the work, Rob! ;)

Rob Clack said...

I thought as I wrote that, I was asking for trouble!