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Elizabeth and Malcolm's Bluetit Pages
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Great tit eating her eggs

 
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janphil



Joined: 25 May 2015
Posts: 2

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PostPosted: Tue May 26, 2015 8:10 pm    Post subject: Great tit eating her eggs Reply with quote

Hi every one, wondered if anyone can tell us, is it normal for a great tit to eat her own unhatched eggs whilst still incubating her eggs. We began with 7 eggs laid but after a couple of days incubation she has eaten two of her eggs. She is still incubating and partner still feeding her. We have never known this before and have witnessed her doing it . Thank you for your time . Kind regards janphil Smile
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Strixaluco



Joined: 24 Mar 2005
Posts: 5464
Location: Mayford, Sy

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PostPosted: Wed May 27, 2015 12:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hello Janphil - welcome to the Forum.

I'm rather puzzled by this - did you actually see her eating the eggs? I don't understand how she managed to do this - egg shells are pretty robust!

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Elizabeth
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janphil



Joined: 25 May 2015
Posts: 2

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PostPosted: Thu May 28, 2015 1:01 pm    Post subject: Great tit Reply with quote

Thanks for your reply, the female was sat on her eggs but began to hammer at her egg much like a wood pecker and this alerted me to watch her behaviour. I watched and saw her pecking her own egg and managed to take pic's (not very clear I'm afraid as its from my tv) she ate the contents and as far as I could make out the shell also. The male did enter next to feed her but she refused and he sat for a while in the corner of the nest and the female appeared confused. Including me
Great tit eating her unhatched eggs
Great tit eating her unhatched eggs
Poster: janphil, viewed 39 Time(s)

Great tit
Great tit
Poster: janphil, viewed 25 Time(s)

great tit
great tit
Poster: janphil, viewed 23 Time(s)

Great tit
Great tit
Poster: janphil, viewed 23 Time(s)
Two eggs were treated in this manner and I didn't see the egg shells being taken away. Is this normal behaviour ? Regards janphil
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Karwin



Joined: 24 Mar 2005
Posts: 2554
Location: 61N25E

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PostPosted: Thu Jun 04, 2015 10:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Welcome to forum. Strange behaviour, but tits are aggressive birds: Two winters ago here in Finland we had "killer great tit", that killed over ten redpolls, eating their brains. It wasn't matter of food shortage - that tit killed on a bird feeder. Later it died on Salmonella, and it has been speculated that the bird became a killer because it was sick. My guess is that your great tit has mental disorder.

Last year a pied flycathcher tried to occupy blue tit nestbox on our garden, and that tit beat the flycatcher badly. This year flycatcher started to build his nest on blue tit's eggs, but tit threw the grasses away.

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blueeyedchick



Joined: 15 Mar 2013
Posts: 1299
Location: LEICESTERSHIRE

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PostPosted: Thu Jun 04, 2015 11:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Janphil

This is as I understand it. Birds need calcium prior to breeding, during and after it.
They need it all year round not only for themselves to build a good skeleton but also to pass on to any future chicks they might have during the season. Much like pregnant ladies taking vitamin supplements.
Breeding takes a lot out of both parents health wise and they lose a lot of 'ground'. In the case of unhatched eggs they see these as a good source of calcium and protein and therefore eat them, nothing goes to waste in nature. GT's also have a hard sharp beak and if this is used at the weakest point of the egg it will break. The shell may not be that strong either if these were the last eggs to be laid when she was at her lowest.

Kathy
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