29th May 2014

Question- Why has the smoking ban helped Blue Tits? Answer: Because the outdoor wall-mounted ashtrays erected by many pubs, offices etc are increasingly being used as nest-boxes by the bird! While we await the fledging of Springwatch Blue Tits at the wonderful Minsmere RSPB Reserve, those in the garden continue to be fed by their adults, and will be fed for 2-3 weeks after fledging. Each Blue Tit nestling can eat up to 100 caterpillars a day and, as you can see, they continue to make huge demands for food after leaving the nest. Caterpillars are a protein-rich food, ideal for the growing young. Unsurprisingly, the presence of Blue and Great Tits can reduce caterpillar damage to orchards by 50%! However, that’s not the only interesting role caterpillars play in the life of Blue Tits. Female Blue Tits tend to prefer males with the brightest yellow chests, and the young are also very yellow when they emerge. This yellow coloration is created by carotenoids, pigments found in plants. These carotenoids are taken up from the tree-leaves by the caterpillars favoured by Tits. The more they eat, the more intensely yellow the Tits are, and of course, the young are fed hundreds before fledging. Research is being carried out to see

A pair of Blue Tits work hard to find food for their fledglings today.

A pair of Blue Tits work hard to find food for their fledglings today.

A fledgling flutters its wings at great speed to stimulate the adult to feed it, much as the female does when bonding. with a male.

A fledgling flutters its wings at great speed to stimulate the adult to feed it, much as the female does when bonding with a male.

The young fluff themselves up and call, demanding to be fed

The young fluff themselves up and call, demanding to be fed

A successful young Blue Tit about to be fed!

A successful young Blue Tit about to be fed!

what role having a bright yellow chest plays in stimulating the adults to feed the young. P.S If you only saw 2 photos yesterday, scroll down for some added later Conditions: Another dull,  drizzly day Temperature: Max 12- Min 10c.

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