Bluetits ready to fledge

Having been away for the last 10 days, I wasn’t sure if any chicks would be left by the time I got home. They could have fledged, or not made it that far. So it was a relief to hear loud cheaping coming from the box as I reached the front door yesterday.

Not only were all the chicks still there, but it turns out we had 9 chicks rather than 8. They are much easier to count now they are bigger and less tangled.

Bluetit chicks nearly ready to fledge

There’s been plenty of wing exercises in the last 24 hours, so I think they’ll be off soon. Last time I checked, I could only see 8, so one may have fledged (or just be hiding).

I’m off on a work trip for a few days now, so won’t get to see the rest fledge. Dr C is under instructions to send me daily updates.

When I am back from my trip I have some exciting adventures to tell you about, including another couple of ticks on my British Animal Challenge list.

Advertisements

Bluetits have hatched!

The bluetits in our camera box hatched over the weekend! There were 9 eggs, and they’ve all gone. As of this morning there were at least 8 chicks alive (it’s hard to count them as they are an ever moving pile at the moment, with some buried underneath at any one point).

At this stage they’re still bald and their eyes haven’t opened. They look so vulnerable, with their big heads on top of tiny, scrawny necks, flopping around on top of their siblings. It seems a miracle any bluetits survive to fledge.

Newly hatched bluetit chicks
Newly hatched bluetit chicks

Mum and Dad are working hard to keep the little beaks busy. Apparently bluetit chicks need around 100 insects each a day – that’s a lot of flights to and from the box when you have 8-9 chicks!

Bluetits fledge roughly 2-3 weeks after hatching, all going well. We’re cheering our little family on (quietly, so as not to disturb them)!

Spring at last!

It seems that spring is finally here, at last. The bluetits at my dormouse monitoring site seem behind compared to previous years – there were fewer nests, and hardly any nests had eggs in when we checked them on 19th April.

At home, the bluetits in my camera nest box have started incubating 9 eggs. I think incubation started last weekend, and it usually lasts 12-16 days, so I’ll be keeping my eyes peeled for signs of hatching later next week.

7 bluetit egss in our camera box nest
7 bluetit egss in our camera box nest

There seemed to be lots of squabbling between male birds yesterday in the garden – blackbirds were quarreling, as were sparrows. But that’s hardly surprising – I hear preparing for new babies can be a bit stressful.

A pair of goldfinches have been around our house quite a lot in the last week or so. I have a suspicion they must be nesting nearby, but I haven’t spotted where yet. That’s quite exciting, as they tend to be occasional visitors to our garden, and I haven’t seen signs of nesting before.