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Saturday, 26 November 2011

The Birds And The Bees - And It Looks Promising For The Blue Tit Nesting Season

Hi Folks!

I'm still very busy these days but I managed to get a great camera shot of a Blue Tit bird this morning whilst it was investigating my bird box.

In fact there were three birds 'flitting' around, presumably site seeing the local property market.  They all seemed interested in this renovated bird box on which I had worked during the summer.  One bird in particular appeared fascinated with it and I presumed it was the male.  His companions, which I judged to be females, did not venture quite as close as he to the entrance since it is not yet the breeding season. So he will not be trying to entice a female just yet, but no doubt he will be practising his sweet talking chat up lines over the winter months.

I watched him go in and out a few times but the ladies seemed reluctant to enter just yet, perhaps turning their noses up at the property and wanting a better one with hot and cold running water, an en suite, solar panels, a dish washer and all the mod cons.  I detected also a little animosity between the other two birds, which is why I was prompted to think they might be females. My imagination was kindled and I pictured a humorous clash between the two jealous females competing for this attractive gentleman.  One might have said  to the other, "Now listen lady, and listen good - that man is taken!".  The other might have replied, "Oh really! he didn't tell me that, so obviously he hasn't decided yet, has he?".  The first and more aggressive one might retort angrily. "Hey! Now listen again lady.  There are two things I never share. The first is my toothbrush, the second is my man. Now back off!"

Whichever lady he might eventually choose I imagined this poor little fellow might have his work cut out to convince his would-be mate that this property is a highly desirable detached one bedroom residence, complete with bird bath/swimming pool, and situated in a very select area near a good secondary modern school.  And boy, you can't ask for much more than that.  Further, the property has been revamped during the summer months and has a new roof, complete with lead flashing.  Whatever you do don't tell the magpies!  Further, would you believe,  this little gem of a house has been furnished with a nice coat of paint, both externally and internally - what more could any bird want?

Still, there's no way of pleasing every female, some of whom seem decidedly choosy.  Take a tip from me fellow, work on your Buff Bod, get into shape, develop your Wit and your Charm and forget about the house - then they'll come flocking to you..

On a more serious note during the summer I dismantled the box and gave it a thorough clean inside and out because two years ago we did not have Blue Tits nesting there but some very strange visitors.   You may remember we had a nest of Bumble Bees residing at the same address.

"Not a pretty sight, honey", thought the Blue Tits that year, so they missed out big time on five star accommodation.

A breeding pair of Blue Tits did return early last year, beating the Bumble Bees back to the scene, completely out manoeuvring them by exercising early squatting rights.  Once they had taken up residence an angry Queen Bumble Bee returned and seemed determined to repossess the property and we saw a battle royal ensue - with both birds repeatedly dive bombing the bee who eventually gave up and went elsewhere.  Well done Blue Tits. Hooray!

Those brave little birds had something else to contend with as well because higher up, attached to the house wall, a pair of Great Tits then took up residence and built their nest in my larger bird box which I actually built for sparrows.  I have had Great Tits nesting there regularly but to date no sparrows. Great Tits are larger than Blue Tits and usually bully them and chase them away. Not so last year, I am pleased to say.  Here's a shot I took of a Great Tit entering his or her abode.

It is very strange and rare that both species seemed to tolerate each other last year - normally they are both very possessive regarding their territories, particularly the Great Tits. But the Blue Tits had got there first and after they had won their battle against the Queen Bumble Bee they were determined to stand their ground against the Great Titsl.  It seems that both species were situated on the edges of their agreed territories, with the Blue Tits flying out of their box in a Westerly direction and the Great Tits in an Easterly direction, so they stayed out of each others way.  I've never seen this situation before, or read about it, but I am hoping for a repeat situation this coming season.

I did purchase a handy camcorder so I could capture some of last season's activity on video.  Unfortunately both sets of birds had flown the nest the very day I had planned to film them.  I was rather disappointed and annoyed but never mind I am ready for them this year.

During the summer I cleaned out the bird nests - birds will not nest in boxes with existing nests in them.  Part of the courtship ritual is to build a nest together, so they are not in the least interested in furnished properties.

Also during the summer I cleaned out a lot a 'rubbery' residue from the previous year when the Bumble Bees had taken possession.  It was a nasty, sticky mess.  I took the whole thing apart and rebuilt it and incorporated a new roof. I'll write more when the birds nest and try to get some video clips.

16 comments:

  1. Wow blimey I didn't realise one could make houses for birds, but we did have dove house growing up, well it was so long ago. It is really nice to see and hear stories of your blue birds nesting Eddie., thank you.

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  2. Oh how exciting! House hunting is always good to lift one's spirits. So I am sure the Blue tits are ready to get started!
    Sounds like five star accommodations for sure!! With a pool? How divine!!
    Yes! Take plenty of pics!
    Hugs
    SueAnn

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  3. Whoa! That sounds like a lot of work, Eddie, but you did a noble and great job. The birds must be very happy.

    xo jj

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  4. What a pretty little bird. I bet they didn't like sharing with bees.

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  5. You are really lucky to get all those birdie visitors. Ours only stop to eat. But then you do have some posh houses for them.
    Maggie X

    Nuts in May

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  6. OH! I do hope you are able to shoe us some video of the Blue Tits in action Eddie - I would love to see that =-)

    The bird houses are beautiful, not surprising considering who made them!

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  7. Great photo! I miss my old home that was a sanctuary for birds with the pond and the fruit trees :( I used to watch the mama and papa duck, now that young man knew how to attract the ladies.

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  8. So...you are now "bird talking" eh?
    :))
    I miss the birds here. They have gone (almost all of them)...and I can't wait until spring when they return. I spend toooo much money on bird seed, etc. for them....sigh...but I love feeding them and love knowing that they know where to come for a 'bird feast.'
    Lovely and humorous blog....of course.
    Hugs to you, my friend.
    Jackie

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  9. Great job on the birdhouse re-do! What lucky little birds they are and I especially liked the the pool and the first girl bird's spunky attitude! LOL And glad that you got rid of those pesky bees, as I'm allergic to them. LOL Looking forward to the videos!

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  10. We've just spent days cleaning up the bird houses and notice the Bluebirds back at their old haunts, too...we've put in lots of seed and dried berries...they love that, lol
    love your blue tit's home...I'll bet he does, too!
    hugs
    Sandi

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  11. I'm looking forward for your next observation with the camcorder... Fascinated.

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  12. Catching up as best I can Eddie. Loved this post...we put all kinds of houses up , even for the bumble bees.

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  13. I was here earlier, read this in its entirety, but did not comment because I did not trust myself to make a comment that did not go into ribald territory. I still don't trust myself, but I wanted you to know I was visiting, so there you go, Eddie!

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  14. were they klepto bees?

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