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Hello, and some strange goings on in my box!!

 
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LauraB



Joined: 01 May 2015
Posts: 3

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PostPosted: Fri May 01, 2015 9:37 am    Post subject: Hello, and some strange goings on in my box!! Reply with quote

Hello all, I just thought I would introduce myself. I live in the West Midlands and have had a box for three years now. I am a childcare setting running primarily with nursery-aged children at present, and the box forms part of our spring curriculum every year, looking at spring, growth, nature and life cycles. The box is supposedly for the children, although I love it and it's perhaps in reality more for me Wink

Year 1 we had nine eggs, all hatched but on day five mum left the nest never to return. Dad tried ineffectually to feed the chicks, but they very quickly died.

Year 2 we had a clutch of ten eggs, all hatched, one died on day one and five fledged. The remaining four died in the last fewdays before fledging, squashed/starved in the nest by their bigger siblings.

Is is year three now and it's been a strange one. We have had a pair of birds show interest in the box, and in the past few weeks they have built a nest. The nest hasn't seemed as well developed as it has in previous years, but nonetheless mum had laid seven or eight eggs and all seemed to be going well.

The day before yesterday, however, we found the nest looking quite sparse. Having watched what's happening yesterday and early this morning it appears that a bird is emptying it. He is taking the nest material and dropping it on the floor directly outside or a short distance from the nest, and he has taken three or four of the eggs and putting them about thirty feet from the box. The nest box is almost empty now, just a tiny amount of nest material and four remaining eggs.

So my question to all you experienced box keepers is, what's likely to be happening? There have been some changes around the box, some of the branches of the tree in which is hangs were lopped off a few weeks before the nest building started. There is still some cover and branches around the box for the birds to approach, but not as much as before. I'm not sure how significant this is - I would have thought that if they were bothered by the changes they wouldn't have started the nest building in the first place?

Could the original birds be moving the nest? Given that he takes the eggs into a hedge a short distance away? Or might the bird that is emptying the nest be a new bird entirely, starting afresh in the box?

Sorry it's so long, I would be grateful for your thoughts.
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Twinkle



Joined: 06 Jun 2013
Posts: 31

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PostPosted: Sat May 02, 2015 10:44 am    Post subject: strange happenings Reply with quote

You did not say what bird is removing the contents. Is it one of the parents or a different one.
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blueeyedchick



Joined: 15 Mar 2013
Posts: 1286
Location: LEICESTERSHIRE

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PostPosted: Sat May 02, 2015 11:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi there Laura

It's a guess of course. but I would say that it is a new bird/couple who want the nest site. They will, on occasions, steal other birds nests if the original male is not defending its territory adequately.

If there is a shortage of natural nest sites in a territory this may be another reason. Youngsters in their first breeding year and on the periphery of the pecking order have been known to do this.

Hope this helps
Kathy
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LauraB



Joined: 01 May 2015
Posts: 3

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PostPosted: Sat May 02, 2015 12:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hello both, thank you for your replies. I'm not sure if the bird emptying the box is the existing parent or not, but what you've said about a shortage of nest sites rings true - the box is in a very narrow strip of wooded wasteland and perhaps 40% of the trees have been felled since last year in order to manage the land. Many of the trees had nests and lots had bird boxes too. I had seen the parent birds chasing around with some other blue tits in the days before they abandoned the nest too.

The bird spent the entire day yesterday emptying bits of moss from the box and bringing more in, but not really getting anywhere. She also spent lots of time rolling the remaining three eggs from one corner to the next. By this morning the box was completely empty, and then when we returned home at lunchtime it has been filled with the beginnings of a nest - they have been very very busy this morning!

I'm hopeful they might nest now, even though it seems a bit late in the year to be starting from scratch? I'm sure that this time last year mum was already sitting on the eggs.

Fingers crossed eh? X
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LauraB



Joined: 01 May 2015
Posts: 3

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PostPosted: Tue May 05, 2015 10:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just thought I would update again, the birds have been very busy over he weekend and the nest is now looking almost finished. I think we are going to be having an active nest here this year after all!

Nest mark II
Nest mark II
Poster: LauraB, viewed 9 Time(s)
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blueeyedchick



Joined: 15 Mar 2013
Posts: 1286
Location: LEICESTERSHIRE

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PostPosted: Fri May 22, 2015 4:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Laura
What is the situation now with your box, have things settled down and do you have any chicks. Question

Kathy
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Percher



Joined: 07 Nov 2015
Posts: 2

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PostPosted: Sun Nov 08, 2015 12:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Question As a newcomer to this excellent forum, though not to a fascination for wild birds, I have noticed some strange goings-on in my two bird boxes. To put you in the picture, both are on opposite side of our house and have cameras wired to different TVs. My Handykam box has been nested in only once in five years and the other has been ignored during the Spring. However, they are both tenanted by blue tits over the winter when the weather is particularly harsh.

This autumn is no exception but the occupants are, unlike good school children, [i]heard[/i] but not [i]seen[/i]. Both of them have chosen to squeeze into the restricted space above the camera! I have seen them enter their boxes, look around and then fly upwards and out of view. I can hear them scrabbling around until they settle down and when they occasionally change their sleeping position.

I am somewhat baffled by this behaviour, especially as both tits are doing this independently of each other. Any theories from your good selves?
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blueeyedchick



Joined: 15 Mar 2013
Posts: 1286
Location: LEICESTERSHIRE

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PostPosted: Sun Nov 08, 2015 4:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Percher
This is a puzzle. I have had experience of a BT roosting on the ledge of the window we put in on cold nights, rather than on the box floor. I can't say for certain but can only think it is to get out the way of the drafts which come through the ventilation holes at each corner of my box. Also birds naturally will want to perch as high up as possible because of predators so this behaviour maybe linked to that instinct even though they are in a secure box.
My bird also came in looked around and then went to perch on the sill out of shot. I have also seen the female do this when the chicks were growing up but was still brooding them, that definitely was a question of space!

Secondly, I have read that blue tit couples will sleep together on occasions in this same manner before nesting begins.

Hope this helps
Kathy
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Percher



Joined: 07 Nov 2015
Posts: 2

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PostPosted: Sun Nov 08, 2015 5:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for your comments, Kathy. I know one of my tenants is back tonight from the sound of his claws above the camera. I might have missed his/her quieter colleague but I will make a visual note of the poo pellet arrangement on the box floor and see if it's added to.
It could well be either of your suggestions. It's blowing a gale out there and draught-evasion makes sense but I wouldn't blame them for their timidity because my Northampton garden is extremely popular with sparrows, starlings and goldfinches. I am over-generous with my offerings of sunflower hearts and Nyger feeders though they are sited well away from the boxes.
I'll monitor their behaviour as the nights grow colder and meantime seal any obvious gaps to maker their existence more cosy.
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