Saturday, 5 April 2014

BirdBoxPiCam2014: The Great Tit Plan

Things seem to be progressing in this bird box, and the female has spent every night since Sunday sitting on the nest.


Both adults stay away from the nest for most of the day, with the occasional visit to add more dog hair and check all is OK.


So whats going on?

Since the female has now spent 6 nights in the nest, there will probably be 5 or 6 eggs buried amongst the dog hair and moss. In previous years it has been possible to catch a glimpse of some eggs early in the morning, when the female rises and leaves the nest.

But my day-light camera only shows a black screen until the strength of the sun is enough to illuminate the box. And by the time I can see the nest, the eggs have usually been well and truly covered.

The Plan


So I thought I'd present this plan on behalf of the happy great tit couple.



If all goes well (and of course there are many potential reasons why it might not) the egg laying phase should come to an end around the middle of next week. The actual day will depend upon the number of eggs laid. From previous experience, its likely to be between 8 and 10, but could well be more or less.

The female will then spend most of every day for 12-14 days just sitting on the eggs. The male will bring in food from time to time, but the female will leave the nest several times during the day just for a few minutes at a time.

Around about the 21st the chicks should start to hatch, possibly all within 24hrs. The prospect for any that arrive much later than the others is not so promising, but they can still catch up.

Then, after another 18 to 20 days of almost non-stop eating, they leave the nest, hopefully within a few hours of each other. You can't help worrying when there are one or two that seem to be reluctant to leave, and as the hours pass, the suspense grows!

An hour or two after the last one has left, one or other of the adults will return, look around the nest, and then leave for the last time.

Almost as soon as it started, its all over for another year. Although tits reportedly sometimes rear a second brood, we have yet to see this in our garden.

The End?


But for the parents, its not quite over when the chicks leave the nest, as they continue to feed them for a few more weeks.

video

Some years we get to see this, but sometimes they seem to quickly move away from our garden, probably to take refuge in the nearby local woods.



Wait!...is that an egg I see?


Its tempting to assume the white shapes in these images are eggs, but they could just be feathers.

1 comment:

  1. Cool, I look forward with interest to see how it turns out. I haven't got mine up yet, but had a nesting family of great tits last year quite late in the season, so there's still time for me to get my finger out !

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