Urgent advice needed for blue tit brood

I have a camera nest box in the garden with 11 six day old blue tits in. Everything was fine until yesterday morning when the mother has gone missing. I guess she's taken by a predator. Father has been in and out all day and this morning feeding and removing waste, but I'm worried that he's got too much to do. The chicks stayed on their own overnight and I'm worried that they'll get cold or abandoned and all not survive.

Can anyone suggest anything to save the brood? The garden has feeders of heart seeds and fat balls.

  • Hi Billy,    if the nestlings are older, closer to fledgling time (ie., days)  and have reasonable feather coverage they may be able to survive during slightly cooler nights unless the temperature drops significantly but if the female is no longer roosting in the box with them they will loose heat very quickly during the night;    all you can do is perhaps supply something like live food (mealworms) during the daytime for the other adult to collect,  perhaps put into a dedicated feeder    so larger birds cannot access them;  these live foods would assist the other parent bird in feeding chicks that need a constant supply of insects throughout the day;   always place food well away from a nesting site/box and remember never put food inside a nest box.    Live worms are best but you could use dried soaked for a few hours to rehydrate the worms)  mealworms are more akin to the natural foods they eat rather than fat balls and are vital for the chicks early health and growth but they are on the expensive side.     11 chicks is a lot for one parent to feed alone so sadly they may not all survive.    Good luck,  it's a tough time for adults to keep their chicks fed, let alone when one may have been predated and there is only a single parent bird left to feed the chicks.   Of course, I realise to order/buy feeders during this lockdown time would take days but the feeder is an excellent one to use to feed smaller birds and saves money on bird food in the long term.       Meanwhile,  if you can try lob out a few mealworms when you see the adult bird around it will see them;  once again try not put food near the nest box or any nesting site which could alert predators to the presence of chicks.    

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    Regards, Hazel 

    "Each kindness shown to birds or men is sure to flutter back again" 

  • Thanks Hazy.
    I've ordered some mealworms online. I'll get something from a local shop today. I just hope father keeps going.
  • In reply to HAZY:

    That feeder is the one I got last week (or maybe the week before), it does a brilliant job of keeping the bigger birds out, including starlings if you're inundated with those, and it was delivered in two days. The blue tit and sparrows were using it within an hour of me putting it up
  • In reply to HAZY:

    Hi Hazel
    The update is that I've received the 500g of live mealworms this morning. I top up the two small bird feeders I have, and father is taking the mealworms (after preparing them) to the chicks every few minutes it seems.
    Some starlings are able to grab the mealworms from the feeders, as are the great tit parents from other birdbox.

    We've put some chopped up potato in the container with the 500g mealworms and hope that they don't go off before I use them up. Should I spray them with water mist to stop the mealworms drying out?

    Many thanks for your support - we know we have to support dad for approx. another 11 days. He seems to be working so hard, but he seems up for it.