Bluetit Diary    May 2020 (4)



Wednesday 6th May, 2020

It looks as though there are still at least four unhatched eggs in Box1.  I wonder whether these are just very late hatchers, or eggs that will never hatch?

In Box1, Chris brings some food for Chloe.

He passes it over.  Males are often apparently reluctant to pass food to the female, and I think there was a bit of hesitation here.  However, they soon get used to it as the chicks get older and more demanding!

After he has passed the food to Chloe, he stays around to see it being fed to the chicks.

Then he goes!

It looks as though Chloe is having some trouble persuading a chick to take the food.

Clearly, there are at least 4 unhatched eggs in Box1 ...

 ... and at least 1 in Box2. 

In Box2, another of Daisy's eggs has hatched.

She eats the eggshell as female bluetits often do.

An hour has passed since the last picture of Box1, and Chloe still has 4 unhatched eggs.

And Chris is still bringing food to her.

There are clearly more than 4 unhatched eggs here - 6 perhaps?

And still an egg that hasn't hatched in Box2.

If you look carefully, you can see 8 beaks here, 7 of which are gaping wide!

This is the start of an episode that could easily ended in disaster.  Daisy looks as though she is having a nap while keeping the chicks warm.

Suddenly, she starts delving in the bottom of the nest cup.

Whatever she is doing seems to have pushed a chick outside the nest cup!

At this stage the chicks cannot see.  I'm not sure whether they can hear either!  The ejected chick therefore careers off in the wrong direction - away from the nest cup.

It seems to be very vigorous in its movements, but they are randomly taking it away from safety!

Daisy doesn't appear to recognise it as one of her chicks and totally ignores it.

She even leaves the nest box for a while.

The chick proceeds to thrash around without any sense of direction.

Daisy returns, but again ignores the chick.  She again leaves the nest box.

It has now been out of the nest cup for 3 minutes and is still thrashing around unpredictably.

All the other 7 chicks are gaping for food.

And again here.

Suddenly, the ejected chick moves in roughly the right direction.

Another twitch leaves it agonisingly close to home!

Will it get back into the nest cup?

Yes - it finally, and I am sure more by chance than deliberate choice, it falls into the nest cup.

Finally, you can see here that it is gaping for food along with its 7 siblings.  I hope it is none the worse for its experience.

This was the last time I saw 8 gapes in Box2.

Here are 7 gapes.

And again here.

It's pretty late now - 20 to 8 - I wonder where Daisy is?

This concern about Daisy made me realise that I hadn't seen Drake for ages!  As a result, I examined the video record until I found him.  His last visit to the nest box was yesterday, Tuesday 5th May, at 8.10am!  No wonder the chicks seem hungry!  Until that time on yesterday he had been coming to the nest box assiduously every 5 minutes or so with some food - and then he suddenly vanished.  I'm afraid that if he doesn't reappear first thing tomorrow morning, the chicks are doomed.  No lone female can manage to keep chicks this young warm and at the same time adequately fed!