3rd March 2019

Blue Tits are present in 98% of British gardens and at this time of year I love watching them starting to chase each other round the garden, beginning to pair up and find territories, which is why last week was national nest box week. Don’t worry f you haven’t got nest boxes up yet, but the sooner you do, the sooner they will start to explore them for nesting in Spring. The hole in the nest-box needs to be 25mm for Blue Tits, slighter bigger suits Great Tits. Garden nest boxes, and feeding, have enable the Blue Tit population to slowly increase, though clutch-size is smaller in garden boxes than in their preferred broadleaf woodland. Cats are a big threat in gardens though- 48% of recovered ringed birds have been killed by cats. They are also still susceptible to

Blue Tit

Blue Tit

Blue Tits

starvation in cold snaps, too, so providing food that is positioned to be safe from cats really helps their survival rates. Conditions: cooler with some rain and strong winds. Temperature: Max 11 Min 5C.

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11th July 2016

Adult and young birds are easy to tell apart at this time of the year. These adult Blue and Coal Tits, for example, have been run ragged throughout the breeding season, providing around 100 caterpillars or other food sources per day per chick while in the nest, and continuing to feed the fledged chicks, even into July. It shows!

Young, healthy Blue Tit

Young, healthy Blue Tit

An adult showing signs of wear

An adult showing signs of wear

Young Coal Tit

Young Coal Tit

Adult Coal Tit

Adult Coal Tit

IMG_7364

Their feathers look tattered, and they will have lost weight, while the young look sleek, and well-fed. Half of the adults, statistically, will not survive into next year, to breed again, but if at least one of their brood does, they will have reached the average success rate in their role as parent. Mixed groups of young tits, up to eight at a time, are coming to the feeders. Conditions: Cloudy with rain at times. Temperature: Max 19- Min 13C.

30th May 2015

Green Oak Tortrix caterpillars have a risky life, wherever there are Blue or Great Tit nests. Here’s a Blue Tit pair busy feeding maturing babies in a bird box in Sussex, today. Dozens of times every hour these adults are finding Oak Tortrix caterpillars from a nearby Oak and feeding this favourite food to their young It’s what gives the young their very yellow chests when they first emerge. This is not the only risk the caterpillars face- the eggs are laid with the hope that the caterpillars emerge exactly when the IMG_9240

As the young are quite mature, they are also being fed fat from a nearby feeder, and other invertebrates.

As the young are quite mature, they are also being fed fat from a nearby feeder, and other invertebrates.

IMG_9267young oak leaves are growing. Too soon, and they will starve for lack of food. Too late and they will not be able to digest the tannin in the older Oak leaves. Just in time and they are fodder for many birds. In an attempt to avoid this, the caterpillars roll themselves inside the new leaves and bind them with a sticky fluid. These were still found! Conditions- Following yesterdays torrential showers, much cloud with some sunny intervals. Temperature: Max 13- Min 9c.