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Nest Box Diary 2009

Week 8 - 24th May

After watching both inside and outside of the box for several hours, it seemed beyond doubt that Wriggly, our female Great Tit, had met an untimely death. Her mate, however, stepped into the breach and continued to bring a good selection of foods, mainly caterpillars, spiders, suet and sunflower hearts, and seemed to be feeding all the young equally, as well as removing their faecal sacs. The nestlings were quite large and so most of the time he continued to poke his head through the hole and feed the chicks from their - flying into the box, landing briefly to turn around and then making his exit.

On Bank Holiday Monday there was a distinct impression of there not being long to go: a couple of the nestlings were now jumping up to the hole and looking out on to the World. Sometimes, the male, rather than poking his head through the hole to feed the chicks, was clinging to the hole on the outside and feeding the chick that was present at the hole.

The only surprise on Tuesday was that none of the chicks showed any interest in leaving the nest, though there was much more wing flapping and stretching going on. The male deserved a medal; his visits to the nest box during the day were peaking at about 30 an hour, but the chicks' insatiable appetites allowed little rest for him. The diet was still varied: caterpillars, insect larvae, spiders, suet and sunflower hearts.

Wednesday: at 6:30, there were just 4 nestlings left in the nest box. Quickly, I grabbed my camera and went to the box to get photographs, only to see the last of 3 flying away from the box into the trees some 20 yards away. There was none of the weak, fluttering beginnings that have been the mark of Blue Tit fledging moments. Twenty minutes later, the last chick plucked up the courage to look out of the hole. And then was gone.

A few moments later, one of the nestlings flew from the trees in a sweeping arc and landed on the cotoneaster outside the dining room window and posed for a moment before the male flew towards it, calling it away...


Mr Wriggly leaving the nest box (24 May)

Nestlings waiting to be fed (24 May)

A rare sight - orderly nestlings (24 May)

Mr Wriggly on the right (24 May)

Nestling at the hole, top of photo (25 May)

Proud father (25 May)

Time for a quick bath... (25 May)

... and a snack (25 May)

Nestling peers out (25 May)

Nestling takes food (25 May)

A rare quiet moment (26 May)

Last one standing (27 May)

All gone (27 May)

A farewell from a fledgling (27 May)

Last revision: 21 Feb 2015
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