[Insert your very own schoolboy comment here – you know you’re thinking it.]

Last year our trusty old wooden nest box was used, as usual, by a pair of Blue Tits (Cyanistes caeruleus). We could hear the chicks chattering away inside in between feeding visits by the parents. Unfortunately, for the first time that we’d noticed, at least one of our resident Great Spotted Woodpeckers (Dendrocopos major) became very interested and started chipping away at the wooden box.

Well, there’s nothing like a pair of tits to get a pecker interested. [There, not wishing to disappoint readers that’s my schoolboy comment.]

old nest boxGSWs are well known for attacking smaller birds’ nests. We sent off for a tailor-made metal plate designed to reinforce the entrance hole of the box and I glued thicker pieces of wood onto the sides and front for added protection  – our determined woodpecker was chipping away at the sides, as well as the front. The result was not pretty but it did serve its purpose and the clutch of Blue Tit chicks fledged successfully. Happily my meddling didn’t deter the parents.

We needed a new nest box and preferably one that was armoured. We finally settled on a Vivara Pro Seville [yikes] 32mm nest box made from a composite material called WoodStone, which I got from the Natural History Book Service. NHBS broadened from its beginnings as a bookshop into a wildlife equipment supplier. Our smart new box arrived and felt more like concrete; very strong.

Until recently we’d been disappointed that, though our garden remained full of birds feeding, none seemed to be showing any interest in the smart new nest box. Maybe it was too smart and needed to weather a bit?

Apparently not; we were relieved this week when disinterest changed and a pair of Great Tits (Parus major) took possession, ferrying in nest material furiously. This was very exciting; we’d always had Blue Tits before so Great Tits would make an interesting change.

Foxcam had to be repurposed. [Puke!]

Great Tit entering-1I set the camera on its tripod on top of our patio table and aimed it at the nesting box. It managed to snag a couple of shots, though the birds were too fast most of the time and eluded Titcam, which is a bit slow to trigger. Here’s one of our Great Tits entering, though it’s dropped a few bits of nesting material in squeezing through the hole.

Nest building continues apace. We saw both adults gathering material from our “lawn” (I use the term loosely), though that was soon used up and they ventured further afield.

Posted in 2021 Fox Tales

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