Nest building and egg laying is in full swing in the garden with most nest boxes now occupied. Thick evergreen shrubs like yew and Juniper provide ideal nest sites for garden birds and the Blackbirds have laid 4 eggs in the nest constructed in the Yew. It is likely to be work still in progress with a couple more eggs to be laid yet. Bushes like this provide great cover from predators and also insulation and shelter which came in useful on Sunday morning when it snowed!
I watched some interesting bird behaviour last week as two Blue Tits investigated a nest box. What first drew my attention to the site was the dancing movement of a blue tit up and down a branch outside the entrance to a bird box above the track to the house. A second Blue Tit flew down and proceeded to peck around the entrance to the Box. This continued for a couple of minutes before the birds changed positions and continued the activity repeating these ‘shifts’ several more times.
The birds were clearly not enlarging the entrance hole- they don’t have the beak power to do this and in any case as a standard 33 mm hole aperture in the box, they could enter and exit without any difficulty. I came to the conclusion that the process was all about the excitement of selecting a new home and this ritual was about mutually confirming its suitability and considering its features and facilities. Without the anxiety of having to arrange a mortgage etc, I am pleased to report that they are now in residence and nest building has commenced.
Jonathan25th April 2016