Breeding for our songbirds is unpredictable and often hangs by a thread. If you have been watching Bill Oddie’s Springwatch, you will have seen 9 eggs hatch and the chicks fledge. In our case 5 survived from the original 9. But if one of the adults loses its mate the story is much more bleak……
Mark Webster wrote to this website
24 May 2005
I have been watching your blue tits footage with interest, but not logged on for a week so only just seen the fledgling footage.
I have a nest-box up too with a black & white CCTV camera inside and found it fascinating watching the 'inner' activity live. Sadly things have been going from bad to worse: since 3 of the 7 eggs hatching on Sunday 14th May (2 in the morning and one in the evening) both parents started feeding a lot. It would appear that the male then disappeared on Tuesday 16th or Wednesday 17th and I concluded Wednesday night that he has gone, presumably killed by a cat or other predator. The female was popping out to feed the 3 young occasionally. but still sitting on the nest most of the time. I phoned the RSPB Animal Welfare dept for advice on assisting and put some mealworm out in a small pot following their advice. (They did say that it has been a bit colder this season so they expect less eggs hatching and more abandonment as has happened in previous cold springs like 2002.) I'm not sure if the female blue tit touched these though. The 3 young were at least growing a lot and after on..........but I have looked at your own site as guidance to how long things take to progress; with slow feeding then maybe the development is a bit less with my 'neighbours'.
Thanks for sharing your video footage on the web.
Regards, Mark Webster.
2nd June 2005 – replying to our request to record his experience
Thanks for your reply. I am happy for you to use any of my feedback if you like. Sadly it wasn't good news with my blue tits; after I emailed to say only one of the babies was left alive, I woke next morning and turned on the TV to see that the last baby was laying dead in the nest. The mother kept popping out and returning to it, sitting on it for a few hours, before finally accepting that all her brood had perished and she left the box. I've not seen her returning to the box since leaving it. I decided to remove the dead baby, but had heard that eggs cannot be legally removed from nests until between August-January, so will leave those in for now.
I've been tuning in to see Springwatch on BBC2 this week which has loads of bird-box footage and other animal photography, so great to see all those doing well. There's a good chat page on their website too if you are after more feedback on birds.
Let's hope the boxes do well next year for us all.
Regards, Mark Webster.