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Elizabeth and Malcolm's Bluetit Pages
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Dying chicks in nest boxes - the BTO's reply

 
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Strixaluco



Joined: 24 Mar 2005
Posts: 5464
Location: Mayford, Sy

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PostPosted: Tue May 22, 2012 12:34 pm    Post subject: Dying chicks in nest boxes - the BTO's reply Reply with quote

I recently contacted the BTO, asking if they were aware of these problems. I've already posted the reply in a thread here - but I think it might be seen by more people if it's in a new thread.

"With both Nest Box Challenge and the Nest Record Scheme we are getting more reports than usual of Blue Tit and Great Tit nests failing at all stages. Lots of nests were built or half-built early in the season but then left until a a week or so ago. Other nests have been abandoned on eggs and still others abandoned at various stages of chick growth. One result of this is that there are now tit nests at all stages, as some repeat and others start late; not the synchronous nesting we're used to seeing. Availability of the correct food could well be a reason for failures--I don't know what this season has done to the timing of peak caterpillar abundance--but also the rain will have made foraging difficult for adults and the low temperatures may even have made females spend longer brooding, further reducing foraging time".

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Elizabeth
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hfriel



Joined: 19 Apr 2010
Posts: 667
Location: Dublin

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PostPosted: Tue May 22, 2012 1:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for that information Elizabeth.

It explains a lot as I have two abandoned almost finished nest boxes and
Patsy still sitting on her eggs on day 14 and a half of incubation isn't that strange after all.

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Helen
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Strixaluco



Joined: 24 Mar 2005
Posts: 5464
Location: Mayford, Sy

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PostPosted: Tue May 22, 2012 1:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

We reckon 11 or 12 days for incubation, hope Patsy's eggs are fertile! Becky laid 9 eggs, but only three have hatched and the chicks are now ten days old. We've never had anything like this happen before - it's certainly a strange year.
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Elizabeth
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Stokkers



Joined: 17 Mar 2011
Posts: 26
Location: Wisbech, Cambs

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PostPosted: Wed May 23, 2012 3:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Only counted five little beaks this morning and just before I was picked up to go to Path Lab, i saw one of the parent birds take out a little bird. I thought yesterday that one of them looked a lot smaller than the rest. Those remaining seem to be growing feathers now, though they still haven't got their eyes open yet.


Nest box - Great Tits - 23.05.2012
Nest box - Great Tits - 23.05.2012
Poster: Stokkers, viewed 40 Time(s)

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Ken

http://www.kenstockley.co.uk/nest/index.htm
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Stokkers



Joined: 17 Mar 2011
Posts: 26
Location: Wisbech, Cambs

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PostPosted: Wed May 23, 2012 7:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Think another one has gone.

Like yesterday, it's the smallest one of the last five. It just seems to be shoved around the nest by the others. Haven't seen it respond, for the last few hours, when the parents come in to feed the others.

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Ken

http://www.kenstockley.co.uk/nest/index.htm
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Angelo



Joined: 17 Apr 2010
Posts: 462
Location: Waltham Abbey

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PostPosted: Thu May 24, 2012 8:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yeah very strange year ! One dead in my lot as well, but the remaining 8 seem ok

one dead
one dead
Poster: Angelo, viewed 43 Time(s)

8ok
8ok
Poster: Angelo, viewed 36 Time(s)
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Caz



Joined: 05 Apr 2005
Posts: 63
Location: Dorset

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PostPosted: Sun Jun 10, 2012 11:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Interesting about the timing of Caterpillars.
There are two Oak trees at the back of our house & both came out earlier than normal. The activity in our nest box seemed to start earlier too & the Blue Tits fledged on 19th May.....earlier than they have done before, did the birds know something?

Not having a nestcam, I have no idea how many eggs were laid or hatched, I saw one fledgling on the fence by the box on the 19th.
Will know more once the box is cleaned in October.

Caz
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Jo



Joined: 25 Mar 2006
Posts: 9
Location: UK

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PostPosted: Sun Jun 10, 2012 6:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sadly my birds didn't make it. Out of the 9 eggs, all hatched, but could count either 5 or 6 looking good on Thursday (day 15 since hatching). On checking yesterday morning, all babies were dead in the nest. Very sad sight. Weather was terrible on Friday, so I wonder if this affected Mum & Dad's ability to find food.

Hope for a better outcome in 2013.

Jo
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