There has been a lot of traffic in our maple tree bird box during April.
We've seen trespassers, thieves, and changes of ownership.
So guess who our current tenants are?
By the end of March our great tit male, the one with the very distinctive white tail feathers, had taken control of the nest and was doing a great job chasing all other great tits out of the garden (see the post for March). It was shaping up to be a good, if slightly predictable, season.
But over the Easter weekend 'white-tail' suddenly disappeared along with his mate. Within 48 hours another great tit pair arrived in the garden, and by the third day they moved into the box and finished building the nest.
Without the distinctive markings of our white-tailed great tit, its not completely clear what happened next, but I think another female (from a third pair) was caught in the nest by the male from the second pair...
|2 great tits toe wrestling: I think its a male vs female|
...but its possible that the female from the 2nd pair was evicted by the male of the 3rd pair...I hope you are following this!
At this point there seemed to be so many 'pairs' still looking for a suitable nest site that I dusted down an old nestbox and strapped it to our hazel tree.
So just a week ago (the 20th April) we didn't know whether great tit pair #2 or #3 were now in charge of the nest. In the meantime, during quieter moments, blue tits were still going in and looking around, and a cheeky male wren was popping in and out stealing nest material.
|Hmmm...just what I need|
The great tits started laying eggs and by the 25th they certainly had 4, possibly 5 eggs. But then on the night of the 25th it was a blue tit that stayed in the nest, not a great tit. In the morning (26th) she laid an egg.
|...just one more push|
Just like the Great Tit Takeover back in 2018, there doesn't appear to be any attempt by the new pair to evict or damage the other birds eggs. So it looks like we may have another mixed species nest to enjoy over the coming weeks.
All the resident blue tit pair have to do now is keep possession of the nest box and stay alive. However, anything could happen in the coming days and weeks, so watch this space!