Bluetit Diary    May 2013 (10)



Friday 17th May 2013

The eggs in Box1 have started to hatch!

This was the sight that greeted us in Box1 first thing this morning.

One egg has hatched leaving 7 to go.  Somehow the chick has been moved out of the nest cup.  I fear that unless it is returned very soon, the chick will die - if it isn't dead already!

It's odd that the parents don't seem to notice a chick out of the nest cup.  We've noticed this in previous years when a chick has escaped from its confines.

Having said that, here is Kit giving it an exploratory poke ...

... without any perceptible response.  It looks as though it is already dead.

Following this, Kelly drags the chick towards the nest cup, but it appears totally unresponsive.

She draws it even closer.  But again, there is no response from the chick.

Kit comes in again with a chick sized feed for Kelly.  This time he ignores the chick.

Kelly goes through the motions of feeding a chick beneath her, although in fact there are none!  This just shows how much of these birds' behaviour is instinctive.

By now I had assumed that the chick was well and truly dead.  However, we suddenly saw it making beak movements and twitches with its limbs so it must be still alive.

Here Kit is trying to tempt it with a morsel of food - but to no avail.  If it is not yet dead, I think it is as good as dead.  I wonder how it got out of the nest cup in the first place?

Suddenly, shortly after 10 o'clock, Kelly can be seen eating a piece of egg shell.  Another egg must have hatched.

Twenty minutes later, when Kelly gets up and shows us the newly hatched out chick.  Also, she appears accidentally to move the first chick away from the nest cup again.

Here is a better picture of the second chick.  I hope its parents look after it properly this time!

It is now mid afternoon and another chick has managed to get out of its egg.  How they do it, I don't know as the egg shell appears pretty tough and the chick is very weak - but they all seem to manage it somehow!

Three hours later and Kelly can be seen to be eating egg shell again.  This must be chick number four.

So that's the state of affairs at the end of the day.  Four eggs hatched and three surviving chicks.  There are still four eggs to go.  Probably most of these will hatch out overnight.

We'll see in the morning!