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ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Columbia

single parent families (1 Viewer)

tracy

Well-known member
Both my blue tit boxes have chicks in and both are being fed by only one parent.Not sure this will give the chicks a positive outcome,does anyone have past experience of single parents successfully raising chicks? I know one box had 8 eggs in so lots of beaks to feed which is worrying!
 

joannec

Well-known member
Both my blue tit boxes have chicks in and both are being fed by only one parent.Not sure this will give the chicks a positive outcome,does anyone have past experience of single parents successfully raising chicks? I know one box had 8 eggs in so lots of beaks to feed which is worrying!

Hi Tracy,

A few years ago we had some blue tits where one of the parents disappeared, don't know how but probably a sparrowhawk, and the the other successfully reared the chicks. The death/disappearance of one of them must have happened after the chicks had hatched, not sure how long after. The surviving one worked hard, really hard, and a couple of weeks later the chicks fledged. So yes it is possible but probably depends on the experience and determination of the surviving parent.

Hope yours make it!

Joanne
 

KnockerNorton

Well-known member
People have put out mealworms that the single parent can feed to the babies. It's not cheap but it is really helpful

It's not really necessary. Single tits/chickadees can easily raise a brood on their own in an average year, although they probably suffer a bit themselves in that they'll have less energy for the moult.

There are a couple of reasons why a blue tit may be alone. First is that the mate has been killed, second is that it has been abandoned - blue tits are not infrequently polygynous, with one male having 2 females. Both females will nest, and the male will be attentive to both until the 'primary female' has young. The male will then only feed one nest of young, and will abandon the second female, who will rear the chicks alone. Polygyny has also been recorded for most other tits and chickadees, and is probably more common than most people realise.

Sparrowhawks need to eat all year round though, so adult tits often vanish during the nesting period. Sometimes both vanish, as the sparrowhawk has worked out where the nest is and what the adult's flight paths are. Same with Coopers and Sharp-shinned hawks.
 

tracy

Well-known member
People have put out mealworms that the single parent can feed to the babies. It's not cheap but it is really helpful

I have been putting out mealworms for the robins who are on their second brood,but the blue tits are ignoring the feeders,they are on the go from first light backwards and forwards non stop to the oak tree,they don't seem to go anywhere near the feeders!They must be shattered and are looking very rough.
 

do re meep meep

Well-known member
I have been putting out mealworms for the robins who are on their second brood,but the blue tits are ignoring the feeders,they are on the go from first light backwards and forwards non stop to the oak tree,they don't seem to go anywhere near the feeders!They must be shattered and are looking very rough.
But that seems to be a good sign in that the oak tree does seem to have the food/caterpillars they need. Can only further suggest to hang the mealworm feeder in the oak tree
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Very interesting post, Poecile! I am always amazed how knowledgeable you are on tits/chickadees, sincerely! Did you write your thesis on them? Or have a multi-year study done on them?
 
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tracy

Well-known member
One of the nest boxes is in my jasmine shrub which is growing like mad and the entrance was getting covered by it ,so i have just quietly put a ladder up and cut back the shrub a bit and couldn't resist having a peak inside..9 healthy chicks! so single parents can do as good a job as two..there is an awful lot of chirping coming from the other box so fingers crossed they are doing just as well..
 

tracy

Well-known member
just to let you all know the chicks in one of the boxes fledged yesterday,and the others have been hanging out of their hole all afternoon so will probably go tomorrow,Both the single parents have done so well in managing to feed so many beaks during such poor weather.
 

AlisonC

New member
United Kingdom
Does it matter if the single parent is male or female? I think the female may have been caught by a cat and the male is trying to feed them but hasn’t sat on them to keep warm yet. Only 4-5 days old and so I’m worried about temperature.
 
ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Columbia
ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Columbia
ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Columbia

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