Blue tit chicks disappeared?

Hi,


We have a little blue tit nesting box with a camera in and around 10x days ago we had 9x eggs hatched and everything seemed well.

We've kept an eye on the camera and mum and dad have been coming back and forth although a couple of days ago we struggled to count all 9.

This morning however we've put the camera on and the nest is completely empty?

The hole hasn't been made bigger and we're really at a loss to explain what's happened here?

  • Hi Darrell, sounds as thought the nest has been predated. Other birds will take chicks, depending on where the nest is, cats or other wildlife that can get at the nest will d the same. Very sad, but this is nature and we have to take the good with the bad.

    Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

  • Hi,
    Thanks for your response - we're trying to work out what would have got in, it's impossible for a cat to get to the hole as we've used chicken wire above where it's located, there's been no damage to the hole either, we can only assume that they've died and she's got rid of them - weirdly enough, a blue tit (no idea if the same one) was in the box a little while ago, fussing around the gap where the eggs / chicks were, sat down for a while and then flew off again, really confused
  • Possible that they did die and the parents removed them. Could have been from illness or if you have had a cold spell and food has not been readily available, this could also have caused the problem. Do you have Magpies around, I think Woodpeckers also, but not 100% will take young chicks. Another possibility could be squirrels, do you have them around. Maybe the parent came back or it could be another looking at the nest, they normally only have one breed a year but it is possible for more.

    Edit, could have been that they were taken and it was the mum back looking for them?

    Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

  • If it is standard size, with usual 25/26mm nesthole, most likely evicted by an adult blue tit. No other explanation imo. Woodpeckers can break in from elsewhere, but I am sure you would have noticed another hole. If the nestbox entrance is larger than recommended for blue tits, then other possibilities exist.

  • In my bluetit boxes I have had several occassions where youngsters disappear but never all of them. Examining the camera has shown bluetits removing those that have died or sometimes pushing their bodies into the surrounding nest material. I very much doubt the parents would remove all the dead chicks before abandoning the nest so I think predation by something is possible. Depending on the position of the box things like grass snake, weasel or even a young rat are possible as it is surprising how small a hole they can enter.and squirrels can sometimes hook eggs and chicks out of a box with their paws
  • I think the size of entrance hole would need confirming re predation. For a grass snake to raid a blue tit nest, or rat, it would need for the nestbox to be located inappropriately.
  • Hi - so sorry to hear what happened. I posted back last week to say that something had attacked my blue tit nesting box and upturned the nest. Something had definitley tried to pull out what was in there to the extent that an adult blue tit was trapped inside as the entrance was blocked up with the nest material. One chick had been removed and all 7 were dead at the bottom of the box...heartbreaking. My feeling it was squirrels as there are several in my garden. There was no obvious damage to the box. All 8 were thriving from the footage the night before.
  • Hi - so sorry to hear what happened. I posted back last week to say that something had attacked my blue tit nesting box and upturned the nest. Something had definitley tried to pull out what was in there to the extent that an adult blue tit was trapped inside as the entrance was blocked up with the nest material. One chick had been removed and all 7 were dead at the bottom of the box...heartbreaking. My feeling it was squirrels as there are several in my garden. There was no obvious damage to the box. All 8 were thriving from the footage the night before.
  • In reply to JoH:

    I responded to both posts. I don't think it was a squirrel in either case. I am not someone who buys into squirrels being innocent of raiding nests. They do. But, in both cases, how is a squirrel going to get a chick out? A correctly sized entrance hole would prevent access, unless the lid was broken or open.
    For yours, Jo, you said the box was nailed to a fence and had been there for 5 years. There is a chance a cat brought it down as fence location risks that. More likely, the box came away from the fence due to nail rusting, fence deteriorating, etc. Once down, rodents could have got in.

  • The box was still firmly attached to the fence so nothing had brought it down plus in September last year it was reattached to the fence and it was done securely. Having watched a YouTube video of a squirrel actually getting its head inside a nesting box i'm inclined to stick with that theory. However I guess we will never actually know but in September it will be moved.