Bluetit Diary 2011 -  May (12)

Tuesday 17th May, 2011

Joy and Dave's chicks were the first to hatch and so will probably be the first to fledge - this we expect to happen at the end of this week.

Here are both parents in the nest box.  Joy has just finished feeding a chick and Dave is in the middle of doing so.

Unusually, both parents feed the chicks from the same side of the nest cup - to the right of the entrance hole.

Even though it is still fairly early (about half past seven), several chicks already appearto have had enough breakfast.  Here only 5 of the 10 chicks are clamouring for food.
Several of the chicks exercise their wings from time to time by having great wing flapping sessions.  This chick is facing the corner - perhaps to stop him from taking off!
A pair of flappers!
More wing flapping.
Our bluetit chicks do not appear to be suffering from lack of food as reported by several members of our forum.  To try to quantify this, I have counted the number of times each parent brings food to the nest box during a half hour period.

Joy and Dave are easily distinguished by their head feathers.  This is Joy ...

... and this is Dave!
Another bout of wing flapping - this time in the middle of the nest box.
Ten contented looking chicks.

The following table gives the number of times in each half hour period, each parent came to the nest box.

   08.00  11.00  15.00
 Joy    12   16    15
Dave    17    8    16
Total    29   24    31


These figure imply that food was brought to the chicks about once each minute throughout the day, which means that if this food was evenly distributed, each chick would get a feed every 10 minutes.  Seeing some of the enormous caterpillars that were brought in, this appears to be quite a lot to me.  To judge by the chicks appearance, it seems sufficient anyway!

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