Bluetit Diary    May 2020 (18)



Saturday 23rd May, 2020

Well, today is the day I am expecting the chicks to fledge!  I therefore set the system to start at 5am as early in the morning has been a popular fledging time in the past!

The time is 5.02am and you can see that a chick is already looking out of the nest box.

Chloe brings food to the nest box and decides to feed the chick in the hole rather than go inside.

She soon forces her way into the nest box - presumably to see how the chicks are getting on.

All of them are wanting to be fed!

The chicks don't seem very enterprising.  All they seem to be doing is what they have done since they hatched - wait to be fed!

I don't know what food Chloe has brought them.  I haven't put up a fat block at all this year.  I hope nobody nearby has one.  This food doesn't look like a caterpillar to me!

Chloe spreads it around all the chicks.

Again, once she has gone, all they do is sit back and wait for the next feed!

Suddenly a chick in the middle of the nest box decides to fly up to the exit hole.  Yes fly!  This is probably the first flight it has taken in its short life.

Once there it perches on the hole and looks outside.

And looks ...

 ... and looks ...  

 ... till finally another chick becomes impatient and pushes it out of the way.

Now the second chick looks outside ...

 ... while the other chicks in the nest box pretend nothing unusual is going on. 

This chick must surely go now.  It's over half way out already!

But no - it's all to frightening outside the nest box.  Remember, this might be the first time it has really looked outside.

Will it - or won't it?

Yes - the chick goes!

Or does it?

Has it got itself caught or is it trying to change its mind?

It looks as though it is caught up on something.  (Though it is difficult to think what there could be there to catch it!)

Somehow it pulls itself back ...

 ... and collects itself for another go. 

But again, it seems to be caught somehow.

It looks as though it is just hanging there, not knowing how to get free.

A close-up shows the chick just hanging there wondering what to do.

Suddenly it's free and it drops down ...

 ... and attempts to fly!

Chick number 1 has fledged!

The remaining chicks in the box are as usual a mixture of boredom and disinterest. 

Soon another chick takes a look out of the box.

However, whether from fear or the fact that they aren't quite ready yet means that it soon gives up the idea.  In spite of the fact that several time in the day, a chick jumped up to the hole and looked out, no more chicks left the nest box today!

Both parents continued to feed the chicks regularly during the day.  I hope they are also looking after the chick that did fledge first thing this morning.

This time it is Chris with food.

Now it's Chloe's turn.

This is the last picture of the day.  It's a quarter to nine.  The feeding rota has finished and the chicks are settling down for one more night in the nest box.

Surely tomorrow must be the day they all leave the shelter of the nest box and go out into the big wide world!