Blue tit parent dead on the nest

We have a nest box with camera. A blue tit occupied the box in late march and started laying on the 7th of April.
She has kept the eggs well-covered. However this morning we have turned the camera on and the mother (presumably)
has died and is lying across the eggs. The other parent has been in with food but flown off again.
We  live in Manchester and it has been dry and cold overnight for the past week but there is plenty of food & water available.

 I guess the it is to early for the remaining parent to brood and feed the clutch. Do we clean out the nest  straightaway?

Also is there any organisation interested in finding out what the Blue tit died from?

Thanks in advance.

Rob H

  • Hi Rob.
    Sorry to hear about the parent Blue Tit, I know by law you are not supposed to interfere with an active nest but if it was me I would at least remove the dead bird and see what happens, if she is dead on the eggs and we have warm weather I would think there would be a chance they would hatch out under her.
    Others may have different advice.

    Rob H said:
    Also is there any organisation interested in finding out what the Blue tit died from?

    You could always try these https://www.gardenwildlifehealth.org/gwh-database/

    My Flickr photos

  • Hi Rob, I'm also sorry to hear about the Blue Tit; as Alan says, bird protection law dictates that you cannot clean out a nest box, remove nesting materials/eggs/birds between 1st February and 1st September due to breeding season rules. The helpful link Alan has provided has a reporting form for dead or sick birds but you will first have to set up a user account.
    I have in the past submitted birds for Post Mortem (outside of breeding season) to establish the cause of death - the form will have a tick box system if you are willing to submit the carcass for PM and the BTO will provide details of how this is done (if they request the bird be submitted) and provide a special posting label which is licensed, etc., The BTO would have to advise you about (legally) removing the bird or eggs from the box so I would first contact them before you do anything.

    _________________________________________________________________________

    Regards, Hazel 

    My Flickr. photo  link HERE 

  • Thank you Alan & Hazy for your excellent advice. I've emailed the BTO.
    Its such a shame. The partner keeps bobbing back with food and trying to feed its mate.
  • This is why I've never had the courage to have a bird box with a camera.

    My Flickr photos

  • Update: Following Hazy & Alan's advice I have been in contact with GWH and following their instructions have removed the dead bird and it will be sent for a PM. They will inform me of the results and i will post on here when that happens.

    Thank you for your advice and support.
    Best regards,

    Rob
  • Well done Rob

    My Flickr photos

  • @ Rob, will be interesting to find out the reason the BT died; the BTO inform the ZSL (London Zoological Society) who will email you a pre-prepared label that you print off to stick on the box you send it in; you can't send the package normal way by just sticking on an address and paying postage yourself, as I found out when I asked, ...... the parcel sent via Royal Mail needs a special licensed label for transportation of any carcass. The London Institute of Zoology are normally pretty quick at doing the PM's and emailing you the report; will wait for your update but well done once again for taking the time and effort.

    post edit;    just thinking, there may be a delay for ZSL  being able to accept the bird due to Easter Holidays but they will inform you if this is the case.     Same happened to me when they couldn't do PM's for a week due to heavy work schedule and I had to take the bird to my local vet who offered to store it in their clinic's refrigerator - as it is not advised to use your own home appliance due to possible health risks.   

    _________________________________________________________________________

    Regards, Hazel 

    My Flickr. photo  link HERE 

  • Sorry to hear about your BT Rob, now that the dead bird has been removed is the other bird brooding the eggs?

    Jim

    My Pictures

  • Hi James,
    The nest seems abandoned now. The male partner was bobbing in now and then but hasn't been for a while.
    Possibly because I disturbed the nest retrieving the female BT. At that time he was in a tree close by constantly sending the distress song.

    Best regards,

    Rob
  • Update:
    Two blue tits are checking out the nest box today. One could be the 'widower' as he seems to come in and go to the site
    of the body. At least twice another BT has joined him in the box and seemed to be assessing it. That could be my
    biased interpretation though.