2014 update - (28th April)

We have a female great tit who has made a nest in one of our nest boxes. This is the first time that we have had nesting birds for a number of years. Sadly a change of computer means that none of my video or WinTV capture cards will work with the new computer and the USB 'EasyCap' video capture device does not work with Windows 8! In the past I have enabled video streaming from the nest box to the Internet, but sadly I will not be able to do that this year.

Great tit nest box diary from a previous year

By late March, two of the three boxes with cameras installed had recorded some activity. One box had a roosting blue tit every night since early December, so it seemed likely that this would be used in spring. Fortunately I was right, and by early April a pair of blue tits was filling the box with moss at phenomenal rate. Great tits made their preliminary exploration of a second box on the first day of April (see pictures immediately below) but delayed nest building until 23rd May. I know it's colder 'Up North' but this seems particularly late!

IMAGES FROM 'BOX 2' - Great tits

Click on any of the pictures below for an enlarged view

1st April - (the first pictures with the new camera - Henry's 3046LA)

The first visit Low flying, or maybe  testing it for size! The first visit by two birds Initial inspections are always very brief

Motion detection software (Active Webcam from Pysoft.com) detected these great tits and automatically saved the images to the computer. Computer software such as this is invaluable for those fleeting moments that you would normally miss.

Click on any of the pictures below for an enlarged view

23rd May - I had given up all hope of this nest box being used this season. Most people have reported chicks by now, yet work on this nest is just starting!

23rd May - 10:59
23rd May - 16:22
23rd May - 16:36
23rd May - 23:06
The first nesting material Compacting the moss Definitely more than a passing interest! The first night in the new home!
The first nesting material
Compacting the moss
I'm more optimistic as the day goes on!
The first night in the new home!

6th June - 6 great tit eggs
6 great tit eggs

It's hard to imagine that just 14 days ago this box was virtually empty, but now the nest is complete and 6 great tit eggs have been laid. (The last was laid on 1st June)

Those who expressed an interest in the nesting birds earlier in the year may have the link to the live web cam. If so, I hope you're enjoying the action.

16th June. No more pictures yet. Sorry. There is no male bird to help with the feeding, just 'mum' and a surrogate dad (me!) plus lots of mini mealworms. The male great tit was last seen on 30th May. I think that something bad has happened to him, as prior to that he was an attentive partner. This is going to be a tough job! The great tit chicks hatched on 12th June, are now 4 days old and growing well. At least 'mum' has agreed to take care of the chicks' toileting arrangements if I provide the food. Updates later.

29th June

4 healthy chicks - 18 days old. A regular supply of mealworms has helped these 'one parent chicks' to survive and grow to the healthy state you can see in the picture to the immediate right. Unless something terrible happens to 'mum' these chicks should all fledge in the next few days. I'm monitoring her regularly, just to be sure!

2nd July - All 4 great tit chicks fledged today - 13:10, 13:30, 16:35 & 17:25, twenty one days after hatching. It was debatable if this story would have a happy ending, as there was no male bird throughout the entire rearing period. It proves the value of mealworms at this critical time. I can relax now! Watching it all via the live webcam is no substitute for viewing the action live on your own computer or TV, with accompanying sound. I hope it may have inspired you to install your own nest box and nest box camera in readiness for next season. See links below.

Relevant links
| Nest boxes - FAQ's | | Nest box plans | | Installing a nest box camera |
| Spring / summer feeding tips | | Mealworms | | Previous nest box diary |