• BirdForum is the net's largest birding community dedicated to wild birds and birding, and is absolutely FREE!

    Register for an account to take part in lively discussions in the forum, post your pictures in the gallery and more.

Would-be woodpecker (1 Viewer)

ThomasW

#BeCareful_ItsNotOver
Hi.
Only 3 days ago a Blue Tit began nest building in our box & things are filling up nicely.
One thing that is a little puzzling (to me at least) is that this female seems to think shes a woodpecker 3:)

As well bringing in nesting material she spends some time pecking away at the entrance hole (& occasionally the floor). There's a metal plate on the outside to protect from larger predators so she can't enlarge that but I'm wondering if this behaviour is normal, and what's it all about?

She seems to have no trouble getting in & out, & when the box was occupied for 3 months over the winter he/she was also quite content (& no attempt to mod the entrance!).

Maybe someone can explain this behaviour?

Tnx.
 

Attachments

  • Box_1.jpg
    Box_1.jpg
    62.1 KB · Views: 30

Nutcracker

Stop Brexit!
It's fairly normal - probably to test that the floor and doorway are sound, and won't give way half-way through the breeding season :t:
 

ThomasW

#BeCareful_ItsNotOver
Hi.
I can understand her testing out the structure & I'm not doubting what you say but she sounds, particularly at the entrance, just like a jackhammer! It's not the occasional tap, more like she's trying to cut away the wood.

I haven't, as yet, chanced getting too close to inspect her work 'cos she seems to about pretty much all day, if not actually at the box.

She doesn't seem bothered in any way & continues bringing material in every day. Guess I'll keep watching.

BTW, I wish I'd bought a camera sooner, it's fascinating to see her at work.
 

ThomasW

#BeCareful_ItsNotOver
I'm beginning to come to that conclusion myself. I think, once she's finished for the day, I'll remove the metal plate then she can open it a little if she wishes.

Then, with the plate removed, we'll see.
 

Nutcracker

Stop Brexit!
I'm beginning to come to that conclusion myself. I think, once she's finished for the day, I'll remove the metal plate then she can open it a little if she wishes.

Then, with the plate removed, we'll see.
If you do, you risk getting a woodpecker showing what damage a real bill can do! That plate is there to stop nest raids by woodpeckers :t:
 

KC Foggin

Super Moderator
Staff member
Opus Editor
Supporter
United States
Is it at all possible that it is trying to attract a mate by the pecking. I know some birds do this.
 

ThomasW

#BeCareful_ItsNotOver
Is it at all possible that it is trying to attract a mate by the pecking. I know some birds do this.
KC Foggin:
She already has a mate, they both visit regularly & only this morning they were both in the box together, albeit for only a few seconds.
 

ThomasW

#BeCareful_ItsNotOver
Progress

If you do, you risk getting a woodpecker showing what damage a real bill can do! That plate is there to stop nest raids by woodpeckers :t:
To be honest I've never seen a woodpecker around here, & I'm keeping a very close eye on daily happenings.

What I did consider is a 28mm plate. That would allow sufficient room for Blue Tits to reshape the entrance if necessary but would prevent anything larger than a Great Tit from getting access.
 

Attachments

  • Bird Box_5.jpg
    Bird Box_5.jpg
    58.6 KB · Views: 17
Last edited:

Keebs

If I fire off enough shots, maybe just one of 'em
My father had a camera nest box that Blue Tits nested in and both would do exactly that for hours on end, mostly to the bottom of the box - it was literally pock-marked when they were done.


The only thing I could come up with was that because the nest box material was smooth wood, the nesting material was likely to slip around making building and maintenance difficult so they were roughing up the surface, creating anchor points for the nest.
In a tree of course they wouldn't have this problem.
 

ThomasW

#BeCareful_ItsNotOver
In a way that makes sense. Last season, before the camera was in, they also nested but when I cleaned it out prior to this season there was no sign of any marks on the floor.

What I'm seeing now is 99% attention to the entrance with little or nothing to the floor, especially as there's now this much material in there.
Today there's been noticeably less action at the doorway since I removed the plate. Maybe coincidence, maybe she's done what she set out to do, or maybe she'll come back to that soon. Wait & see.
 

ThomasW

#BeCareful_ItsNotOver
Just an update...

Seems she's decided more work is needed. I thought I'd discovered why when she seemed to peck away then come back in to the nest and start digging, as though putting the tiniest of slivers of wood into the nest. But that stopped, though the hammering away at the entrance continues.
Strange...

I've also noticed a distinct change in the material she's now bringing in. It started as clumps of moss or similar, but now it's largely short straw-like pieces. Maybe something to give the nest structure?
 

Attachments

  • BlueTit.mp3
    554.3 KB · Views: 11
Last edited:

dragnil

The glass is half full, but the bottle is empty.
Supporter
Interesting thread for me because I've had the same behaviour in our camera box for 4 of the last 5 years. The hole size in the metal plate seems be be right for Blue Tits, so why enlarge it and in crease the risk of intruders?
I'll cut a replacement later this year and use oak! ;)
 

Attachments

  • External.jpg
    External.jpg
    76 KB · Views: 12
  • Internal.jpg
    Internal.jpg
    313.5 KB · Views: 17

ThomasW

#BeCareful_ItsNotOver
As far as I can see when I removed the plate the other day there seems to be very little enlargement, though it's only the first season.
Before refitting the plate I increased it by 2 to 27mm so there should be ample room, and she appears to have no difficulty taking in nesting material.
Strange.


BTW, I'm using Cedar.
 

PYRTLE

Old Berkshire Boy
As Nutcracker mentioned, normal behaviour by Blue and other Tit species. The metal plates are suggested to prevent larger species entering, not just Woodpeckers, but Starlings and House Sparrows too boot. Greater Spotted will hammer through the side walls quite easily to get to the nestlings within. The behaviour could be to offer the youngsters an easier exit when ready to fledge. The nest lining will soon be completed and egg laying not far away. I'm sure you are aware not to disturb the sitting bird once this happens and then throughout incubation as it could lead to deserting the site despite the parents natural instincts. Good luck.
 

ThomasW

#BeCareful_ItsNotOver
I was careful not to increase the plate too much. As for the sides, that's something to consider for next season.
She seems to be happier with the entrance now as that work has declined considerably. Re easier exit, that's very possible, thanks.
I am of course keeping a safe distance from the box from now on. Happy to view on screen :)
 

Attachments

  • Bird Box_20.jpg
    Bird Box_20.jpg
    81 KB · Views: 15

dragnil

The glass is half full, but the bottle is empty.
Supporter
Thomas, your box looks very similar to mine - certainly the best programme on our television!
 

ThomasW

#BeCareful_ItsNotOver
There's been no action here for almost 24hrs, could it be that the nest is complete & she's waiting the right time to move in?


--
Seems she's making a liar out of me... back again moments ago with more fluff!
Can't be far off though.
 

Attachments

  • Bird Box_15.jpg
    Bird Box_15.jpg
    76.3 KB · Views: 8
Last edited:
Warning! This thread is more than 2 years ago old.
It's likely that no further discussion is required, in which case we recommend starting a new thread. If however you feel your response is required you can still do so.

Users who are viewing this thread

Top