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Bird Box nesting activity stopped? (2 Viewers)

birdwatchninja

New member
United Kingdom
I have a bird box with a camera in my garden and for the last few weeks (this April) a blue tit has been working hard visiting regularity and building what now looks to be a finished nest. The female has also spent the night in the box on a few occasions. However the last few days she has turned up less frequently and now to no sightings at all. I have a bird feeder in the garden close to the box and I believe I sometimes see the male and female briefly but they soon fly off elsewhere.
My question is do blue tits sometimes take a break from the nest box and later return to lay the eggs? Unfortunately quite a few magpies visit the garden and think they may have put the blue tits off visiting the box on a few occasions. Maybe this could have happened? I have definitely seen the female bird hide in the box until the magpies have gone. Also I'm aware there is always the threat of neighbourhood cats predating birds.
Any help or advice or to learn of other peoples experience would be most welcome.
Thanks Nick
 
Welcome to Birdforum. I hope you enjoy your visits.

They may have abandoned the nest. It happens sometimes. It’s best not to site a feeder too close to a nest box as lots of activity will make the birds feel the nest is unsafe. I doubt the presence of magpies will have had an impact. We have lots of blue tits nesting in our garden (in two nest boxes as well as numerous shrubs and trees) and we also have magpies visiting daily.
 
Welcome to Birdforum. I hope you enjoy your visits.

They may have abandoned the nest. It happens sometimes. It’s best not to site a feeder too close to a nest box as lots of activity will make the birds feel the nest is unsafe. I doubt the presence of magpies will have had an impact. We have lots of blue tits nesting in our garden (in two nest boxes as well as numerous shrubs and trees) and we also have magpies visiting daily.
Thanks for the reply.

I probably should have said in my earlier post that my bird box isn't that close to the feeder but approximately 25-30 feet and situated on a tree behind a high hedge. Obviously with birds flying around the feeder the box can be seen by other birds when visiting the garden but the tree does give the box good cover when it develops its foliage in early summer.

A couple of years ago I had a successful blue tit nest in the box so wondered why after all the hard work the bird has put in making the nest; why it should suddenly be abandoned? Perhaps they may return but it seems doubtful somehow?

Wouldn't magpies visiting your garden with birds nesting or coming to a bird feeder near the box amount to the same thing? I just feel that after noticing on camera the bluetit hiding motionless in the box until the magpies left may have given a clue in my case?

Interested to hear more thoughts on this.
 

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I had a similar experience a few years back and for what ever reason they just took off after completing a nest. Over the following years I've had Blue tits back again (nothing in the garden has changed) and raise chicks that have fledged successfully. This year I installed a camera using a wireless set up with a medium size TV as a monitor. I found the receiver performs better if there is nothing between it and the transmitter and the TV being sited in the conservatory can cause the picture to suffer in strong sunlight. We counted thirteen eggs and watched nine hatch, not sure what happened but all the shells have now been removed and we can only count nine young beaks. Its fascinating to watch mum and dad despatch caterpillars between them like a tug of war before they are the right size for feeding. I think a smaller monitor might improve picture quality but that is something I need to ask the experts.
 
I had a similar experience a few years back and for what ever reason they just took off after completing a nest. Over the following years I've had Blue tits back again (nothing in the garden has changed) and raise chicks that have fledged successfully. This year I installed a camera using a wireless set up with a medium size TV as a monitor. I found the receiver performs better if there is nothing between it and the transmitter and the TV being sited in the conservatory can cause the picture to suffer in strong sunlight. We counted thirteen eggs and watched nine hatch, not sure what happened but all the shells have now been removed and we can only count nine young beaks. Its fascinating to watch mum and dad despatch caterpillars between them like a tug of war before they are the right size for feeding. I think a smaller monitor might improve picture quality but that is something I need to ask the experts.
That sounds wonderful. It's so good to be able to watch the drama unfold isn't it?. A couple of years ago we had what looked like to be a successful nest of nine chicks - three I believe fell out of the box and apart from just two chicks that fledged the rest sadly seemed to have starved. That year it was a very wet Spring and the caterpillars just washed off the trees - a great bonanza for the ground feeding birds but very little left for the blue tits. I even placed live meal worms on our feeder to help them along. However despite all the drama and disappointment it felt such a privilege to just observe it all happening. Definitely not given up for next year and hopefully the Magpies won't spook them off again. I still see what looks like the same couple of Blue Tits stopping off to feed in our garden so that's still a bonus.
 
About the fifth pair that have nested in my box over the last 20 years, but I'm witnessing strange behaviour. Initially there was a stick inside propped up against the hole, it seemed to make exit rather difficult. But I thought it best to leave be. Now this morning they have cleared out most(?) of the nesting material and also the stick, yet the chicks must be something like 8-10 days old. Parents are still feeding. I've cleared away the nesting material from underneth the box, as a magpie came long to investigate. Should I have done this, why did they remove it?
 
About the fifth pair that have nested in my box over the last 20 years, but I'm witnessing strange behaviour. Initially there was a stick inside propped up against the hole, it seemed to make exit rather difficult. But I thought it best to leave be. Now this morning they have cleared out most(?) of the nesting material and also the stick, yet the chicks must be something like 8-10 days old. Parents are still feeding. I've cleared away the nesting material from underneth the box, as a magpie came long to investigate. Should I have done this, why did they remove it?
That's rather strange, I've never heard of them doing that. If the chicks are fine and the parents are feeding I wouldn't worry too much. I don't think moving the material was necessary though, but maybe the magpie would have found it. Good luck birdwatchninja in the future!

(As a side note, what nest box would you suggest that other birds won't get into? We've a problem with bigger bird. House sparrows nested in my garden not with a box, but a week after the chicks hatched we couldn't hear them anymore, went outside to investigate and found a severed leg beneath the tree)
 
Well they are still feeding, but I have to say , this is a neurotic mother. The rest of the nesting material (I think) was turfed out the following day. When she returns to feed them, she hops about on the fence calling - for easily a minute or two (which I don't think is wise) and then pops in very briefly. Her exit is also peculiar, she spends ages bobbing her head in and out of the hole before finally launching.
Because of her weird behaviour, I could never work out when they hatched, so I fear I'll miss fledging morning. (Although it's a bit cold overnight, so maybe not until the high pressure moves away). I'd hazard a guess of about at least 5 more days...
 

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