Friday, 20 May 2016

Blue Tit Nest Webcam - Part 1



A recent birthday present was a bird box with a webcam already installed. A great idea as we love watching the webcams on the BBC Springwatch programmes every year.

We put the box up on a north facing wall that is sheltered from the worst of the rain and the hottest sun. A wire leads through into the house so that we can watch the nest via the television.

Within a few days, a pair of Blue Tits had taken possession of the box and started to build a nest. Bottom layers of hay, dry bracken and moss were built up to make a thick, firm structure. Over the next few days, the birds added moss and horse hair from the moulting New Forest ponies outside.



The dark hair comes from Jay and the grey-white hair is from the Grey Pony. They have been moulting heavily so have appreciated a few good grooming sessions. We left piles of shed hair out in the yard and watched from a distance while birds of all varieties gathered it up as nesting material.

Some of the feathers may have been found, but we have watched the parent Blue Tits out on tree branches near the nest, preening each other and removing old feathers as part of their courtship and bonding behaviour. Both birds have brought the feathers into the nest, but the female seems to have been in charge of arranging and rearranging them, to make the nest soft and warm for herself and the coming chicks.

Mrs Blue Tit slept in the nest from an early stage. Within days of completing it, she began to lay her eggs. A total of six have been incubated over the last two weeks. The female only left the nest to feed herself at this stage and spent a lot of time fluffing herself up and rolling the eggs around under her body.




Sometimes, the male bird would bring a flying insect as a food gift to the female, but when we saw her bringing back a small white maggot in her beak, we knew that the first egg had hatched.



Two days later, two chicks had hatched and a third seemed to be emerging from its egg.
Both birds began to feed them and the rate of growth has been astonishing to watch.




More to follow. Please excuse the poor quality photos, but it has been a real privilege to watch the secret life of a pair of our garden birds as the days have gone by.

9 comments:

Jayne Hill said...

Absolutely NO apologies should be necessary. It's a privilege to share this with you. A birdbox cam is on my 'one day' list but I know that at present I do not have time to do it justice so it's wonderful to watch yours :-}

Marcie said...

Love that: the secret life of birds! It is wonderful to watch nature unfold, especially those moments that we don't usually get the opportunity to witness.

Simon Douglas Thompson said...

Fantastic stuff, I bought a nestbox for my folks, but despite some curious visitors, no-one took up tenancy. Blame next door cat for that.

Louise said...

I'd love one of those! The image quality looks pretty good too, better than I'd have expected for a nest box camera! I don't really watch TV now but if I had one of those the TV would be always on and I think I'd become a couch potato for a couple of months!

Ragged Robin said...

Wonderful - great news about the nest and the box being used so quickly. I thought your photos had come out much better than my attempts :) We had 9 eggs - hatched a few days back. Difficult to count the young but there are at least seven. Isn't it lovely to watch them?

Rowan said...

What a fantastic present! It must have been fascinating to watch the blue tits actually building the nest. I shall look forward to reading about the progress of the chicks.

The Weaver of Grass said...

These pictures are delightful DW and give us a glimpse into a secret world. Do keep posting them.

Morning's Minion said...

I think I would have most enjoyed the nest building and 'feathering' stage of this family saga.

The Weaver of Grass said...

The farmer was just looked at your pictures DW - thinks they are
a delight too. Then, as he went upstairs for his shower, he stopped and looked out of the landing window and saw a blue tit go into a hole in our garden wall - we watched and she went in and out four or five times, so we guess from that that she has a nest in there with babies. What an exciting time of year it is.