Join for FREE
It only takes a minute!
Discover the ZEISS Digital Nature Hub

Welcome to BirdForum.
BirdForum is the net's largest birding community, dedicated to wild birds and birding, and is absolutely FREE! You are most welcome to register for an account, which allows you to take part in lively discussions in the forum, post your pictures in the gallery and more.

Blue Tit nest! Urgent! HELP!

Reply
 
Thread Tools Rating: Thread Rating: 19 votes, 5.00 average.
Old Thursday 31st March 2005, 21:12   #1
david2004
Registered User
 
david2004's Avatar

 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: England
Posts: 1,227
Blue Tit nest! Urgent! HELP!

I've got Blue Tits nesting! Many people may think that a good thing, but I think they are heading for disaster. Again!
Last year they used double House Martin nesting cups. There were two nests and several eggs in each...infertile/dead in August when they were cleaned out. I eventually deduced (with help on BF!) they must have got confused and built two nests.

This year, there are loads of hole nestboxes for them. And what have they chosen? The House Sparrow Terrace! They are nesting in the right hand hole. But there is lots of dried grass hanging out the bottom. Currently the nest is being made. Only dried grass and twigs are being taken in. I thought only moss etc was used?

The main problem is I am worried they will get confused again. Building two our more nests in the chambers? This is because:

I have seen one individual go into the right hand hole with nesting material. Worryingly, it then went straight into the middle hole (with no nesting material). What's going on?

Another individual came, I think with nesting material, into the middle hole! I cannot work out whether it is the same individual, it's mate, or another pair? Help!

Will two pairs of Blue Tits nest right next to each other? I doubt it. If they are confused, which I am very worried that they are, what shall I do?


I'm very confused and worried! Please HELP!
david2004 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Thursday 31st March 2005, 22:06   #2
songbird6666

 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Carmarthenshire, Wales
Posts: 571
Um all I can suggest is you decide which one they are most advanced with the nest building and maybe block up the other holes.
songbird6666 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Friday 1st April 2005, 07:37   #3
Corax67
Registered User
 
Corax67's Avatar

 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Medway, Kent
Posts: 642
Hi David,

Firstly, the moss is usually the last thing to be collected for the nest as it's primary function is as a liner - even birds need a bit of comfort!

I have found that birds will construct a number of nests before selecting their "ideal home" prior to clutching up (blackbirds are masters at this) but have never come across parents forgetting which nest they are using or laying eggs in two adjacent nests.

If the middle hole user is a different pair then unfortunately there will be a tussle - much like TV's "Neighbours from Hell" - with the loser being evicted as Blueys are fiercely territorial and will not tolerate another pair next door.

The best course of action is to simply sit back and let them get on with it - hole blocking will have limited success as they may well find another hole nearby to build another nest in if they are that determined.

Hope they are succesful this year for you - nothing more satisfying than watching fledglings popping out of nests for the first time to brave the great big world outside.
Corax67 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Friday 1st April 2005, 17:55   #4
david2004
Registered User
 
david2004's Avatar

 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: England
Posts: 1,227
Thanks very much Karl and songbird. That helps a lot.
david2004 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Saturday 2nd April 2005, 22:11   #5
nobby
Registered User
 
nobby's Avatar

 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: Kenley Surrey UK
Posts: 192
Hi David

In my nest boxes with cams installed the Tits start with moss then bring in dry grass stems and "weave" it through the moss with their beeks. The last stage of nest building usually involves softer materials like feathers or fur to line the nest cup.

I have only ever seen the female build the nest. The male role is to find a suitable nest hole and entice the female into it. The female will then choose the most suitable and start nest building.

If nestbuilding is disturbed for some reason (bumble bees love nest boxes) the female will quickly move to another box and start building again.

If you are thinking about blocking up one of the holes make sure there are only 1 pair of Tits nesting as this link shows you can get 2 pairs nesting next to each other. http://www.birdforum.net/showthread.php?t=13843 .
I would block the hole up in the next few days before the tits start egg laying.

To decide if you have more than 1 pair watch the bird bringing in nest material (the female) and try and find something on her to distinguish her from the other Tits and see if any other Tit brings in nest matrial. If they do then you have 2 pairs.

I presume you have only 1 pair as the eggs are more than likely failing to hatch as the female is not sitting on the eggs each night (& day) but is alternating between the two at random.

Hope this is some help.
Brett.
http://uk.geocities.com/brett.oliver...m/nest_box.htm
PS let us know how you get on.
nobby is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Sunday 3rd April 2005, 20:14   #6
david2004
Registered User
 
david2004's Avatar

 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: England
Posts: 1,227
Thanks everyone. Here is an update:

Today I haven't had time to check for activity but once or twice I saw Blue Tits with nesting material heading in the direction of the nest box. What I saw yesterday:

I began watching the nestbox quite early in the morning. It was very, very confusing. There were definitely two birds taking in nesting material. This was either one pair or two different females. Most nesting material went into the left hand hole, but occasionally in the right hand hole (where all the nesting started) and once or twice in the right hand hole!

I think there are more birds though. A pair were hanging around, seemingly checking out the House Sparrow terrace as potential nesting site. Is it too late for this? [u]One Tit went into all three holes one after the other!!U] Sometimes birds (don't know which ones though) went in with no nesting material, then it's partner went in, then they both flew away.

Occasionally a bird would come with nesting material, but - it would seem confused and deliberate which hole to go into. It stayed and hopped around the top of the box for a while, peering in.

Lookng from underneath, dried grass is poking out from each seperate compartment, the most coming from the right. The nesting in that compartment seems to have been abandoned though!!

Is it possible that one pair is building all three nests? Are they getting confused, or are they purposefully building three to choose which one is best??

Could there be one pair, and another pair checking out the box as a nesting site?

Could two, (or more??) pairs nest side-by-side?


Please, please help!
david2004 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Sunday 3rd April 2005, 22:20   #7
alancairns
Registered User
 
alancairns's Avatar

 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Sechelt, S Coastal BC
Posts: 459
Quote:
Originally Posted by tp20uk
I've got Blue Tits nesting! Many people may think that a good thing, but I think they are heading for disaster. Again!
Last year they used double House Martin nesting cups. There were two nests and several eggs in each...infertile/dead in August when they were cleaned out. I eventually deduced (with help on BF!) they must have got confused and built two nests.

This year, there are loads of hole nestboxes for them. And what have they chosen? The House Sparrow Terrace! They are nesting in the right hand hole. But there is lots of dried grass hanging out the bottom. Currently the nest is being made. Only dried grass and twigs are being taken in. I thought only moss etc was used?

The main problem is I am worried they will get confused again. Building two our more nests in the chambers? This is because:

I have seen one individual go into the right hand hole with nesting material. Worryingly, it then went straight into the middle hole (with no nesting material). What's going on?

Another individual came, I think with nesting material, into the middle hole! I cannot work out whether it is the same individual, it's mate, or another pair? Help!

Will two pairs of Blue Tits nest right next to each other? I doubt it. If they are confused, which I am very worried that they are, what shall I do?


I'm very confused and worried! Please HELP!
Not to worry. These are PROFESSIONAL wild birds.


Alan
alancairns is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Monday 4th April 2005, 19:22   #8
david2004
Registered User
 
david2004's Avatar

 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: England
Posts: 1,227
Today was at first reassuring, but then confusing and worrying again! This may be a long post, sorry. This all started when I began watching at 8.23 am.
I have also attached a diagram of the place in question to make things easier.

8.23: Got into suitable viewing position.
8:31: Blue Tit goes into right and seems to inspect it. Another Blue Tit simultaneously comes and brings nesting material into the left hole! Firstly, however, it waited on the garage roof - till the other bird had gone? It then flies off. The inspector goes to the left hole, peers in, goes back to the first hole, and flies off.
8.33: Nest builder goes into left hand hole with nesting material. The inspector comes again to the right hand hole. They then flew off together - not a pair, are they?
8.36: Bird goes into left hand hole, then peers out. Couldn't see if it had nesting material. Could have been inspector?
8.37: Very small amount of nesting material goes into the MIDDLE hole! Think may have been diferent bird - looked thinner and slightly different.
8.38: Bird goes into left hand hole. Not same bird as middle hole as came just after the middle one left. Again was unable to see if nesting material was taken in. Doesn't stay very long at all - could it have been the inspector?
8.39: Left hand hole bird back again! Very short time away – different bird? Couldn’t see if it had nesting material.
8.39: Left hand hole bird back again!! Too quick – was it a different bird? Again unable to see if it had nesting material.
8.41: Bird comes from different direction and goes into middle hole. Has wool in it’s beak. Peers out and takes time. Flies away into neighbour’s garden. Also went onto the garage roof before going in.
8.43: Bird goes into left hole – again unable to see if it had nesting material. Stayed longer than the previous few times – 8 seconds. Came from behind where I was (in the direction of the copse).
8.46: Blue Tit from garden has nesting material. Perches on gutter, then goes in a different direction. Returns to perch with no nesting material! Flies back into garden – ANOTHER individual?
8.47: Left hand bird has lots of nesting material, comes from garden unlike other times. Also goes on garage roof. These are the characteristics of the middle hole nester though!
8.47: Another bird comes. Perches on garage and came from garden. Flies away, doing nothing!
8.55:Blue Tit goes onto garage with no nesting material. Flies away. At same time Blue Tit on gutter with nesting material. Flies down INTO MIDDLE! Both birds here at the same time from the same pair? Where is the left hand nester, or are they all the same bird??
8.56: Same bird as above gets nesting material and goes into the RIGHT HOLE!
Think was a pair. One bird waited on the gate as the other went into the garden, then on the gutter. Then came back to garage roof.
9.01: Blue Tit coming from copse goes into left hand box, but couldn’t see if it had nesting material. Stays for between 5 and 10 seconds.
9.08: Blue Tit coming from neighbours garden goes to the gutter. Stays there for a while, then leaves! At same time, inspector goes into right – clings to side of house and seems to wait for the bird that went to the right – then fly off together!
9.17: With wool, bird goes on garage. Goes into left hand hole. It’s mate (?) comes, calling on the garage roof. Goes to right hand hole, then middle, then left peering in – looking for the nesting bird, it’s mate?
Other bird then comes out. Goes to garage roof and flies off.

Later on, I saw more activity.

12.03: Bird goes into RIGHT with nesting material – gets nesting material from hanging basket in back garden. This happens again, each time going into the RIGHT, over the space of several minutes.


For a while I thought two pairs were just nesting close to each other, which is highly unusal. Then everything became confusing and worrying again!
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	diagram.jpg
Views:	531
Size:	23.5 KB
ID:	18906  

Last edited by tp20uk : Monday 4th April 2005 at 19:39.
david2004 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Monday 4th April 2005, 22:20   #9
nobby
Registered User
 
nobby's Avatar

 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: Kenley Surrey UK
Posts: 192
Hi David

I think if you are not sure if the same female is building in more than 1 box then you should leave the box alone and let them take their chances.

Have you thought about taking the house sparrow terrace down and replacing with a single blue tit box next year?

Brett.
nobby is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Monday 4th April 2005, 22:51   #10
KC Foggin
Super Moderator
BF Supporter 2020
 
KC Foggin's Avatar

 
Join Date: Nov 2002
Location: Myrtle Beach SC "Smiling Faces, Beautiful Places"
Posts: 282,925
12:04: David takes a valium

David, are you going to survive this process?
__________________
KC a/k/a common KC
KC Foggin is online now  
Reply With Quote

BF Supporter 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 Support BirdForum With A Donation

Old Tuesday 5th April 2005, 09:05   #11
Nightranger
Senior Moment
 
Nightranger's Avatar

 
Join Date: Nov 2003
Location: Bury
Posts: 2,211
Blue tits are territorial and it is still a little early for nesting in earnest but the birds will certainly hold the territories while they can. This can involve different aspects of behaviour including tapping at the nest entrance to mark the nest as being occupied. I suspect that building in more than one compartment is a variation on this theme and the birds will settle down to use a single nest. Indeed, it is difficult to judge the tolerance of blue tits because two less dominant pairs will nest close together whereas a more dominant pair would not allow any other blue tits within a certain distance. The nest seems to form the centre of the territory (unlike blackbirds and robins that will dot nests around the territory) and therefore, the dominance of the pair dictates the territory size. It is difficult to assess this with this pair but they appear to be trying to stop the other compartments being occupied by another pair (house sparrows do this too but they will use each of the compartments over the season). Most birds avoid old nest materials as an adaptation for avoiding high infestations of parasites so this is a clever strategy by the blue tits.

Ian
__________________
'The Truth we learn by turning stones' - Judie Tzuke

Ian Peters
Nightranger is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Tuesday 5th April 2005, 10:37   #12
david2004
Registered User
 
david2004's Avatar

 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: England
Posts: 1,227
Thanks Ian and Nobby that helps a lot. Next year I will replace it with a single Blue Tit box to avoid all this! Last year a similar thing happened with the House Martin double nestcups, so I split those up. I actually expected the House Sparrows to use the terrace, but no, the Blue Tits got there first!

There are four other single hole nestboxes that they have ignored!
david2004 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Friday 8th April 2005, 15:02   #13
Marian James
Registered User

 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: West Midlands
Posts: 22
They choose the des res

Quote:
Originally Posted by tp20uk
I've got Blue Tits nesting! Many people may think that a good thing, but I think they are heading for disaster. Again!
Last year they used double House Martin nesting cups. There were two nests and several eggs in each...infertile/dead in August when they were cleaned out. I eventually deduced (with help on BF!) they must have got confused and built two nests.


This year, there are loads of hole nestboxes for them. And what have they chosen? The House Sparrow Terrace! They are nesting in the right hand hole. But there is lots of dried grass hanging out the bottom. Currently the nest is being made. Only dried grass and twigs are being taken in. I thought only moss etc was used?

The main problem is I am worried they will get confused again. Building two our more nests in the chambers? This is because:

I have seen one individual go into the right hand hole with nesting material. Worryingly, it then went straight into the middle hole (with no nesting material). What's going on?

Another individual came, I think with nesting material, into the middle hole! I cannot work out whether it is the same individual, it's mate, or another pair? Help!

Will two pairs of Blue Tits nest right next to each other? I doubt it. If they are confused, which I am very worried that they are, what shall I do?


I'm very confused and worried! Please HELP!
Hello there
All our garden birds are very wilful when it comes to choosing nest sites. We build them to RSPB specifications. We have ten or more in different locations. Most years a high percentage are occupied. We face some the 'right' way and others not-the ones facing the wrong way are usually occupied first.
So far this year we have two nesting pairs of great tits, one in a starling box, one in a robin box. The robin had built in a flower pot in the shed, cutting me off from anything in there!
Tits in two correct boxes, and the sparrow terrace, painstakingly constructed last year, contains a starling who really has to squeeze to get in.
Marian James is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Friday 8th April 2005, 15:55   #14
david2004
Registered User
 
david2004's Avatar

 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: England
Posts: 1,227
Thanks Marian. How can a Starling get into a 32 mm hole???
david2004 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Friday 15th April 2005, 13:04   #15
Marian James
Registered User

 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: West Midlands
Posts: 22
bird boxes

Quote:
Originally Posted by tp20uk
Thanks Marian. How can a Starling get into a 32 mm hole???
Hi, the short answer is 'with difficulty!' we made the hole slightly larger, for great tits, the starling squeezed in and I though it might get stuck, but shortly afterwards it squeezed out again, spent quite a while rearraninging it's feathers befiore flying off. It has not attempted it since but I am delighted to say a great tit is now in residence.
regards
Marian James is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Saturday 16th April 2005, 17:51   #16
david2004
Registered User
 
david2004's Avatar

 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: England
Posts: 1,227
Hi Marian

That's amazing. I have a few 32 mm hole nestboxes, but haven't witnessed anything like this!
david2004 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Advertisement
Reply


Thread Tools
Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

vB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Mourning Dove Nest Mandy Birds & Birding 10 Sunday 12th April 2009 04:48
Blackbirds - Same nest for next brood? Phthor Garden Birds, Bird Feeding & Nestboxes 23 Thursday 22nd June 2006 18:26
Designer nest for osprey Chris Monk Birds Of Prey 9 Tuesday 15th March 2005 16:09
Botteri's sparrow nest gringorio Birds & Birding 0 Thursday 17th February 2005 12:26
Blue Tit Shock - Utterly confusing david2004 Garden Birds, Bird Feeding & Nestboxes 7 Tuesday 14th September 2004 14:32



Fatbirder's Top 1000 Birding Websites

Help support BirdForum

Page generated in 0.13881207 seconds with 29 queries
All times are GMT. The time now is 21:33.