Musings and photos of wild and everyday life

Posts tagged “Nest Box

Goodbye Lizzie, Hello Caoimhe

Looking like a small alien blob, it takes a while to recognise the tiny baby birds huddled together for warmth in a small nest.

In previous years Lizzie had rared families of Blue Tits but last year our camera nest box stayed idle, despite a brief bout of grass depositing.

This year we hadn’t seen any movement near the box and on the infrequent times we had checked the video, there was nothing happening, although again, some grass had been collected early on.  This month we checked again just to be sure there was nothing there.  In another nest box, with no camera, wasps had built a nest a few years back.  Anyway we were surprised and delighted to realise that not only was there a nest but there were eggs – very small oval shaped eggs with few markings and a slight pink tinge, although this could have been caused by the light reflecting off the wooden box.

Only about a week later, we saw one of the birds seemingly breaking an egg.  But as she moved, the strange outline of a fleshy, scrawny, awkward baby could be seen.  The parent was actually getting rid of the broken egg.

Now there are at least six babies.  There could be 7 or even 8 – they tend to sit on each other in the confined nest hollow.  There were 8 eggs, so maybe all hatched safely – more to find out!

Welcome Caoimhe.

 

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Lizzie’s Lassies at Large

The good news is that Lizzie brought up 3 fine chicks and they fledged in June, while I was at the office.  Originally there had been 6 but we suspect that the winter and ‘spring’ has taken its toll of the insect population and they found it hard to feed the poor little bairns.
Starling feeding leatherjackets to juv in nest box

Starling feeding leatherjackets to juvenile
in nest box

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We weren’t sure that all 3 would make it as 1 seemed to be more lethargic and smaller, often disappearing under the other two!  However as we watched, it became apparent that the size was more to do with the distance from the camera and that they seemed to rotate the lethargic position.  The one that had been fed a lot, seemed to get lazier and slid down into the warmer deeper part of the nest.
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Anyway 3 is not a bad result.
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Our starlings again produced a fine gang of young’uns around the same time and have already produced a second brood!  Energy  seemed to be unbounded as they flew nearly continuously in and out of the garage nest box.
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Elsewhere in the garden, Blackbirds had a successful breeding season as did Robins but it seemed to be generally a poorer breeding season from our viewpoint – perhaps the bad Spring was to blame?
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Nearby Rooks and  Jackdaws seemed to produce their usual noisy kindergarten group while the sky was brightened by the fast flying and twittering House Martins and Swallows as well as Sand Martins.

New Creations – What grows in your Garden?

Cherry Trees FGIt’s hard to say that one season is your favourite when so many wonderful things happen  or are to be seen in every season, every year.  But there is something extra special about the growing season – Spring early Summer – the creation time.

We are lucky to live in a rural setting with a wildlife-friendly garden.  Friends may say that the garden is the wildest thing around, but that’s another story!

Every year the garden seems to burst out, encroach and almost threaten, such is the growth in trees, shrubs, grass and other vegeatation.

Making use of the renewed cover, a range of birds ususally nest.

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Great Tit at nest box Box back garden

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This year we we were fortunate to host a number of home makers.  Of those that we know nested in the gardens, there were Great Tits in the nest box at the end of the back garden (now now, less tittering please);
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Woodpigeon Pair BG.

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Woodpigeons nested in both gardens;
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Starling arriving at Nest box with Leatherjacket & Worm FG.

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Starlings brought up a strong brood in the nestbox on the garage.  This was set up as a replacement for the hole in the garage they had used as a nest site before it was repaired!  They are currently feeding the second brood!

House Sparrow M BG
House Sparrow M with nut at feeder BG
House Sparrow Nest under Soffit front of house
House Sparrows are supposed to be in decline but you wouldn’t think it around our house.

Adabtable, they have learned to hang on to the nut feeder and get at the nuts. They have also successfully bred for the last few years in ventilation holes in the side of the house. This year they also used the creeper under the soffit at the front of the house! They make quite a racket in the back garden.
Sparrow F feeding baby BG
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Once again however, Lizzie was the star of the show. She and hubby once again eschewed the old nest box in the Crab Apple tree to use our camera box attached to the house.

Lizzie 2 (Lizzie 2012) had tried to nest earlier in the spring following our original Lizzie family last year (Lizzie 1).  So we call this lady, Lizzie 3 – of course they could be all the same.

Robin on bird table BGWe are reasonably sure that Robins and Wrens nested nearby and who knows what else?  Magpies have nested most years but not this one – there must be higher trees somehere near!

Of the non-avian animals, we have seen Mice, Rats, Hedgehog, Fox and Badgers but the cutest little Fox cubs appeared this year.

Fox cub near den BGSuspicious of their presence, they were captured first on a trail camera but were tame enough early on, to allow a quiet and reasonably still person to observe and photograph them.



Lizzie 2012?

Blue Tit on Cotoneaster bush BG

Having cleaned out the camera nest box not too long ago, I was surprised to see the Blue Tits nearby recently and entering a couple of times.

The starlings had used their nest box on the garage over winter as a roost and had been a bit more active in the mild weather recently.  So just in case I checked the view in the Blue Tit box and was delighted to find a good base for a nest already in place.

I don’t know if it is the same pair or not but we’ll probably call herself Lizzie anyway.

Wishing them well for the future.


Lizzie – Leap of Hope

Well, over last weekend the remaining Blue Tit nestling got pretty big, seeming to be bigger than the parents but probably mostly fluff and air.Blue Tit nestling prior to 1st flight

On Wednesday morning it seemed to be more erergized, flapping its little wings and moving more.  Eventually it made a leap up to a ledge that lets some light in, translucently, for the camera to work in daylight.  One of the parents brought food but didn’t feed it the first time, seeming to entice it further.  On the second entrance the food was given over but soon after the baby made for the escape hole and stayed there for a while.  

The parents fed it there once and I rushed to get my camera, went to a room with a view and managed to get a couple of pics before it made the brave move and plunged into the great ‘out there’.

Blue Tit fledgling in bush after 1st flightFlabbergasted by its new environment, it stayed there, fidgeting for a while with the parents in a nearby bush calling.

Blue Tit parent watching fledgling in other bush after 1st flight

Blue Tit fledgling in bush after 1st flight

Eventually, they managed to convince it to fly to the front of the garden which it did without any obvious problem. 

A good end to their hard work and confined conditions, if not what they may have hoped for.

I haven’t seen them since but trust they are doing well.


Lizzie’s Labours Lost

Well, first the bad news.  We came back from the Leinster match to find that the 9 nestlings had become 3.   Soon after that there were only 2 and now there is only one.  I don’t know what happened to them.  They were too small to leave, so presumably have died but of what cause I don’t know.  And what has become of the bodies – eaten, removed?

There is good news though.   The one remaining nestling has grown pretty quick over the last few days and looks healthy.  He / she is a similar size to the adults and looks near ready to fledge, flapping its small wings and making the odd small jump.

It is strange that you can be aware of many nests and nesting activities around you, in the garden etc. and although its nice and feels good to see and be close to these things, there is no real emotion.  But the nestbox camera forces some involvement – you are with the birds in their daily struggle and can’t help feel emotionally attached.  We are hoping that at least the one remaining survivor makes it to the ‘outside world’.


Lizzie – Mouths to Feed

Well, she did it – 9 big mouthed, hungry, Muppet-like babies!  Hatching started last week and I wasn’t there to see it:(  Had to settle for a text message!

While the other Liz makes new friends in Ireland and ‘makes history’, possibly improving relations and trade between two countries, its hard not to feel when watching the activity at the nest, that this normal life work going on without any notice by most of the world,  is actually far more important.

With 9 mouths to feed, there is no time for coffee, the pub or golf or whatever Blue Tits would do if they had a child minder.  What is impressive is how both parents work together to feed, clean and take out the waste.  Many human homes would like such co-operation.


It’s also incredible to watch how quiet, obscure-looking little bundles are electrified by the sound of a parent approaching (or other sounds sometimes).  They go rigid, their beaks open like the Grand Canyon suddenly forming and they yell – ME, MEE, MEEEE or something similar. It’s like they are on springs!