Bluetit Diary    May 2013 (16)



Saturday 25th May 2013

Unfortunately, at an interesting point in the stories of both Box1 and Box2, there is a gap in the record.  Apart from the post below, there is nothing between 19th May and 28th May.

And it's bad news in Box1.  All the remaining three chicks have died.  We think that Kelly, the female bluetit, was predated some time during the afternoon today and with no mother to keep them warm overnight, the chicks just died of cold.

At the start of the day, all looked well in Box1.  Here is one of the parents with the chicks, all of which look eager for food. I am still having difficulty telling the two parents apart!

Kelly, Kit and their three remaining chicks.

The weather is still unseasonably cold, but at about 4.30pm, Kelly is still around to keep the chicks warm.

However, this is the last picture we have of Kelly in the nest box.

Kit is still coming regularly with food for the chicks.

How do we know this is Kit?  Well each parent has a favourite side of the nest box it arrives in when coming with food.  Kit's favourite side is at the top of the picture.  Also, Kelly normally hops onto the nest cup after feeding the chicks to warm them up a bit.  This bird doesn't do this so it is probably Kit.

It is now ten past six and the chicks still appear to be thriving and asking to be fed ...

... but by half past six, Kit really has to bully the chicks in order to get them to take an interest in the food he has brought them.

Only ten minutes later they appear totally uninterested in food.  They are still alive as they can be seen moving sluggishly on the camera, but they do not open their beaks for the food Kit has brought.

An hour later they are extremely lethargic and cannot be roused at all.

The time is ten past eight and this is Kit's last visit to the nest box today.

By now, Kelly would normally have been in the box and mothering the chicks.  Today there is no sign of her.  The chicks are clearly very cold but at the moment they are still alive as they still make small movements from time to time.

This is the last picture taken at about 8.15 this evening.  The chicks are still just about alive but are torpid.



Sunday 26th May, 2013

It is now 8.10am following morning, and the chicks have hardly moved overnight and are now clearly dead.  Neither parent has visited the nest box since we first switched on.

We can only guess that Kelly was predated yesterday some time soon after 4.30pm and that the chicks just died of exposure overnight.