Monday, 30 March 2015

Nest box camera

This is the seventh year of my nest box camera and the prospective occupants for this year have just started bringing in nest material in the last two days.

The box was bought from HandyKam in 2009 and has been occupied every year since.  It is on a north-facing wall just outside the front door.  The camera takes colour still photos and videos if there is sufficient light and infrared black and white pictures if there is not.

In 2009 two blue tits built a nest in the box but one of them was killed by a sparrowhawk before any eggs were laid.  In 2010 a pair of great tits moved in and laid two eggs.  Both hatched but one chick died within 24 hours.  The other developed normally but never fledged and died in the box.  When I retrieved it I found that it was trapped by its leg in a strand of string the parents had woven into the nest.  Very sad and frustrating as, with a roof-mounted camera, I couldn't see what the problem was.

After that things improved.  In 2011 blue tits laid 11 eggs and all hatched.  All 11 chicks fledged on 31st May.  The same success in 2012, with 11 blue tit eggs, 11 hatched, and all 11 chicks fledged on 7th June.

In 2013 there was a very cold spring.  Blue tits moved in and laid only 2 eggs but both chicks fledged successfully, although much later than average on 19th June.

Last year there were 8 blue tit eggs and again all hatched and fledged.  It is amazing to watched them develop from this

to this

to this in the space of 19 days.

I was also able to photograph the parents bringing in spiders and caterpillars

and the chicks fledging on 1st June. 

If the present birds move in and build a nest I will make another page on the blog (accessed via a tab below the header photo at the top) so I can make regular updates.  I'll put a weekly update on this page as well.  Let's hope it is another successful year.  I had half expected tree sparrows in the box this year as there are so many of them around and they seem to be laying claim to most of the nest boxes.

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