Bluetit Diary    Mar 2021 (5)



Saturday 13th March, 2021

This is a very smart bird having a look at Box2.

I do hope (s)he decides to take the box over.  Ever since we started this diary 20 years ago, both our two main boxes have had a nest built in them each year.  It would be a shame if we were to miss out for the first time this year.

In Box1, this is Ernie, waiting for Ella to follow him in ...

... which she dutifully does!

This time Ernie doesn't immediately shoot off. Has he got something in his beak?

Whether or not he had, he didn't try to give it to Ella but just shot off again ...

... leaving Ella looking puzzled.

Perhaps Ernie wants to feed Ella but doesn't quite know how to go about it.

Only one second later, Ernie is back and this time he definitely has some food for her in his beak.

Again, he doesn't actually go inside the box, but just flies off again.

This leaves Ella even more puzzled. What is Ernie up to?

Three seconds later he is back; again he has something in his beak.

This time Ernie actually goes into the box.

But his nerve fails him and he doesn't offer the food to Ella, but just flies off again.

You have to give Ernie 10 out of 10 for persisting (or 0 out of 10 for being such a vacillating wimp!), for in two seconds he is back again.

Again, he goes into the box. You can see that he still has something for her in his beak.

The two birds are facing each other in the box with their beaks nearly touching.

Ella tries to help by moving slowly forwards towards Ernie. That doesn't seem to help as Ernie retreats.

But then finally they both move forward and their beaks touch.

I think this is where Ella finally takes the food from Ernie (the first feed of the season, perhaps) ...

... after which they separate ...

... and Ernie flies off again ...

... leaving Ella to think about it all.

If Ernie continues to take that long to feed Ella, he won't be much use feeding their chicks - if there are any of course!

Ella still seems to have the food in her beak.

I wonder why she doesn't eat it.  It's almost as though she is trying to decide what to do with it.  Later, of course, she will be expecting to feed it to one of her chicks, but now she should just get on and eat it herself!

Ten seconds later she is still undecided.

Now it looks as though she is placing it on the floor. Perhaps she is just doing what she would do if there was a chick to feed.

It's gone from her beak now.

30 seconds later, Ella leaves the box too.

Seven minutes later, one of them is back in the box ...

... shortly followed by the other. It is not clear to me whether it was Ernie or Ella in the box first!

There doesn't seem to be any food involved this time.

The second bird to enter lands fairly near the first.

They stay like that for a short while.

Then suddenly the first bird leaves.

This leaves the other bird in the box by itself.  But which bird is it?

As this bird has a wide headband, I think it must be Ella, but the dark patch in the middle of her head band seems to have disappeared.  perhaps it was just dirt?

She then does a nesting wriggle to prove that it was Ella.

After which she messes about doing nothing for a short while ...

... and then she, too, leaves the box.