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Tuesday 25 May 2010

Something Strange With The Bird Houses This Year

Ladies and Gentlemen, I am now going to give a short talk about the birds and the bees.

You may remember I did a post last year about the bird houses I made for my garden, and my general observations about our feathered friends nesting there and sizes of access holes for each species. I posted it in July and it was titled, He Flew The Nest Too Soon.

I made the nesting box shown in the first photograph for a common variety of bird here in England called a Blue Tit. This variety is quite small but also very aggressive and very territorial. It's larger cousin and equally aggressive, The Great Tit, is about half as large again, and will not tolerate Blue Tits in their territory, so they chase them away - I've seen it - the brutes!" In Spring we might have had Blue Tits nesting in the first photo, they were all ready to move in but, as you can see, some other inhabitants beat them to it, the squatters! In fact the Blue Tits were beaten off earlier by a pair of Great Tits, now nesting in another box, as you will see.
Cor Blimey! That queen bee must have had a few too many! Fancy building a hive in my Blue Tit bird box! Surely it is much too small. But here they are. Come and have a look, honey!

The poor little Blue Tits stood no chance, as Elvis sang they might have been 'stung by a sweet honey bee', although these are small bumble bees, not honey bees . . . but just look at all the honey oozing from inside. It makes my mouth water but I am not going to make a 'beeline' for it just yet and if I did I would have to take the back off the box to get the honey. The weather has been very hot during the last week and when I walk past the box/hive I can hear the buzz of lots of wings inside cooling the developing bee grubs so they do not get too hot and die. I will wait until the end of the year to see if I can retrieve some honey when all the workers (females) are dead and all the drones (males) and the queen take to their nuptial flight. The poor winning drone seeking her affection has to be the strongest and flies the highest with her before he captures her heart and is promptly rewarded by her ripping off his marital prospects and discarding the rest of him as he falls from the sky. Boy! I'm glad I'm not a drone bee!

So where are the Great Tits?
I've been busy with my camera. Got ya!! Nice little bird isn't he/she!
I was watching the pair for a while and they seemed to be having difficulty for that part of the day finding nice tasty protein bugs and caterpillars for their chicks. So I dug up some Earth Worms and put them on a plate. They were watching me as I retreated. And the greedy blighters swooped down and took them one by one to their chicks in their nest. Want to see? OK.

"Thank you. Mummy! - more! more!"

"Alright, alright! I'm off but watch your table manners while I'm away!"

The birds moved so fast it was quite difficult shooting stills. It is a pity my video recorder is not working - I might buy another soon.
I am reminded by all this bird talk of an event many years ago when my family were in Dartmoor, Cornwall. We pulled into a beautiful picnic area and several people were feeding bread to the birds. If memory serves me correctly I think they were Wag Tails. I remember seeing a very skinny bird that never seemed to be able to get to the bread before being buzzed by the stronger birds. So I placed a piece of bread on my reversed palm and held it out to the bird, some 20 feet away. Much to my amazement it flew straight to me and took the bread from my hand. It must have been ravenous to overcome natural fear, but it might have realised I meant it no harm. My daughter was upset that she could not get a bird to feed off her hand. Never mind, Eddie always has a way with the birds LOL.
You see how kind and gallant I am, even to the birds.


  1. dude that is wicked cool that you fed the birds...kinda feeling like pooh bear with that honey eh? lol. just be careful..

    cool to see that techno is getting roasted...looking forward to that!

  2. are the gentleman above all!! Not surprising that that birds love you! Mickey would be proud ;-) And oh my goodness...bees in your box!!! Be careful!!! The photography in this post is terrific, Eddie!! That Great Tit is a beautiful bird! And good for you getting such a fantastic shot! Wow! You are so multi-talented... :-) Love it! Looking forward to this weekend's roast! She's great! Hugs to you, my dear friend! Janine

  3. What great shots!! Love the Great tit shot. Beautiful bird. And yes! You do have a nice way with the birds. How sweet that the little guy ate from you hand.
    Looking forward to the roast of Techno Babe...roast her slow now!!

  4. Brian is right, the honey shot reminds me of pooh be careful Eddie Queen Bees and Mama birds are very protective.
    Looking forward to Techno Babe's roast, I have recently started following her and enjoy her point of views very much.....:-) Hugs

  5. Wow...... I loved this post! Everything happening over your way with the wild life.
    That honey is amazing!
    Will probably mess up your bird house though.
    Poor little blue tits being ousted from their home.
    Apart from my blackbirds, nothing much is happening here. I have put several bird houses out. Obviously not up to scratch and the choosey little blighters have moved to better accommodation. Probably some birdy hotels up the road.
    Maggie X

    Nuts in May

  6. I have a slight fear of bees, wasps, yellowjackets, and the like. But I've always found them facinating anyway.

    If you do take the back off and get access to their hive, I'd like to see pictures of that! :)

  7. Hi folks - thanks for your interest.

    Brian - I', a bit timid to be a pooh bear! I might get my nose stung!

    Janine - Thank you me lady for those kind words. I was very patient getting those shots of the birds going in and out of the box. Problem being I was a long way from the nesting box and had to use optical zoom plus quite a lot of digital zoom and that caused lack of sharpness. Also it would have been better if the shutter speed was quicker but the digital camera has it's limitations. I am quite pleased however with the shots.

    Slommler - thanks and I did feel enormous satisfaction when the wild bird took food from my hand. I wonder what happenned to the poor little chap.

    Bernie - Yes I don't fancy being stung or dive bombed LOL

    Maggie - Yes I do seem to have some unusial guests in the garden -perhaps I should start a zoo here.

    Alyson (otherworldyone) - Yes your fear of these things is understandable but the bees are quite harmless if given a wide berth. Not like the killer bees of South Africa.

    I will certainly take a photo of the hive/box when the back is removed - should be interesting. A few years ago before I started blogging someone gave us an empty wasps nest and it was fantastic in it's design and huge.

  8. Hi Eddie, Hubby and I listened to your daughter singing. She has a lovely voice. Very nice. I can see you smiling every time you have the opportunity to listen to your angel sing.

  9. Hi Techo and hubby, James
    Thank you for your interest in my daughter's singing. Yes it always brings a smile when I hear her and people comment on her voice. Alas she does not sing in public now because she is a busy full time school teacher (also brings a smile of joy to me). For several years I was her 'roadie' when she played the pubs, clubs and cabaret spots. She sang a lot on local radio as well and we have several radio interviews.
    Thanks again - Eddie

  10. I have a little wren of some sort nesting in a hanging plant right outside my kitchen window.

  11. I've heard of these birds, but never seen one...they are quite lovely!

    I am currently writing about our experience with the aggresive starling. We built a bird house for them after they repeatedly took over our gas grill, then I discovered they are EVIL birds, known for killing other species in their nests.

    I'm harboring murderers.

    I find it amazing that bees moved into your birdhouse! And I had no idea that the bees beat their wings to cool the fascinating!

    We have carpenter bees drilling holes in our deck and porch swing. Last week, Fred sprayed insecticide into all their holes on the underside of the swing, and now they've begun drilling anew. There's a pile of sawdust on the porch floor smack down under the middle of the swing and two drones on constant guard.

    Great post, and I also throroughly enjoyed Technobabe's roast. I've never visited her, but she has me intrigued!


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