Bluetit Diary    Jun 2013 (6)



Thursday 6th June 2013 (cont)

Sometimes a chick will seem to decide that it must leave the nest box and become fixated on the exit hole.  This chick has just such a demeanour.

True enough, it flies up to the hole ...

... and after hesitating for over a minute ...

... it just vanishes into thin air!  (From the perspective of the other chicks of course!)

Away it goes!

In spite of now having most of the chicks outside the box, the parents still seem to be able to find time to look after the chicks that remain in the box.

Another chick has that "I've got to go!" look about it.

True enough, it soon flies up to the hole ...

... and flies out of the box.

Immediately after, another chick decides to go.

This one doesn't hang around for long before it, too, takes the plunge.

There are now just two chicks left in the box - and it's still only 7:45am!

Somehow the parents still seem to be able to keep an eye on them.  This is Scruff with yet more food!

Shortly after, she is joined by Sally (or is it Sam?)  These two chicks are being well and truly spoilt.  There are ten chicks outside, all I'm sure clamouring for attention, and yet two of the three parents seem to be able to spend the time necessary to get the last two chicks to leave the box.

Inevitably, the last two chicks are the least developed and most timid chicks of the lot.  They are used to being able to hide beneath the other bolder chicks.  Now they are each trying to hide beneath the other which results in some amusing behaviour.  They also huddle in the corner for comfort - better the wooden corner of the box than nothing.

We have an example her of parental behaviour that I'm sure I have seen before.  Sally brings a mealworm and starts to feed it to one of the chicks.

Then at the last minute, she takes it away again and flies out of the nest box with it.

It's almost as though she is saying "You can have this when you get outside!"

Or perhaps there being only two of them, they are full of food!  They appear to have no interest in this little green caterpillar brought in by Scruff a little later.

Anyway, shortly after the eleventh chick flew up to the hole ...

... and flew out of the nest box!

Now there is just one chick left in the box.  It has never been by itself before!  It huddles in the corner for comfort.  (We have seen this behaviour most years before the final chick fledges).

It doesn't hang around for long though.  About six minutes later, and this probably seems to be an eternity to the last chick, it is on the hole looking out.

So the last chick of this unique brood is on its way.

Twelve chicks, three parents all working happily together without either of the females appearing to be dominant, this must be our most interesting year yet!

See you next year!