Blue Tits

We have a Blue Tit bird box, which is used each year.  Normally about now, we clean it out.  However, the Blue Tits are visiting the bird box, and appear to be spending time inside.

It is too late in the year for another brood, and we don't want to clean it out, incase they are taking up residence again in the box.  We have not looked inside as we do not want to disrupt or disturb them. Does it have to be cleaned each year?

  • I'm no expert, but I say would wait until you're satisfied they're no longer using the nest box.

    If they do have another brood, they will be more than welcoming the undisturbed access, especially as the nights will be getting colder. In the interim, just enjoy watching them going about their business and take comfort in the fact they must like the nest box.

    Mike

    Flickr Peak Rambler

  • Hi Vivienne,     It is very rare a Blue Tit would have a 2nd brood (unless the first one failed early on) and as you have indicated, certainly not this late in the season.    Often birds such as blue tits will go into boxes to hunt for insects such as spiders and may use the boxes to roost in particularly when the weather gets very cold.   Personally, I do clean the nest boxes out every end of season at this time of year and would suggest it was better to take the boxes down now, give them a good clean with hot soapy water,  thoroughly rinse them out and air dry them out before replacing them.    Best if you can get them up before end October so they can roost in them should the weather turn much colder.     I doubt you would be disturbing them at this time of year, more likely they are just seeking out insects and will find plenty of those elsewhere and around the under eaves of the house or shed, etc.    

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    Regards, Hazel 

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

  • In reply to Mike B:

    Yes, the box has been used from the moment it went up. It is one of those wood/concrete ones, has been excellent, and still in top condition.
  • In reply to HAZY:

    Yes that makes sense. Will clean the box out, it is one of those woodcrete ones. I always leave it out all year, incase the birds want to use it for shelter in the winter. The box has been used since the time it was placed in the tree, probably one of the best boxes we have ever used.
    Thankyou.
  • In reply to VivienneV-34940929:

    VivienneV-34940929 said:
    it is one of those woodcrete ones

    I have also used the woodcrete boxes with great success and even had a pair of Nuthatches successfully using two of them last year so would definitely recommend them especially to anyone who has great spotted woodpeckers around as they are so much safer - until the nestlings start growing and begin to pop their heads out of the nest hole !      Took me a while to clean those boxes out at the end of the season as the Nuthatches use a muddy (concrete type) mix to narrow the nest hole entrance and I had to chip off the concrete   !      Good luck for the birds next breeding season and also hope the blue tits or other bird use the box for roosting in over winter.

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    Regards, Hazel 

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

  • In reply to HAZY:

    Been working in garden, and wildlife garden this morning. Cleaned the bird box out, washed, and dried and re-sited. All that was in there were a little group of ear wigs, which were emptied safely.
    Filled the insect houses with more straw ready for winter, as apparently we are expecting a frost on Wednesday night.
    Interestingly, all the tit family (probably apart from long tailed), are in the garden this year. Let few years very few, mainly gold finches. Our neighbours are having work done around their bungalow, and I noticed a lot of the other birds stayed away, even our rooks. But the little tit families appear more confident and less caring re: humans. The work is taking place away from our wildlife garden, but there have been work vans, and noise. Noticed today that other birds are wandering back now it is quieter, and most of the work is at the back.
  • If you get long tailed tits they love raw pastry and will take it from a fat ball feeder or square fat cake feeder:    plain flour, lard (half fat to flour ratio as with normal pastry but don't add salt)  add sufficient water to bind together but so it is not sticky.   I usually add a little bird food to the mix such as berry suet pellets or sunflower hearts or crushed peanuts;  I have even added a small handful of grated mild cheddar cheese but not too much due to the salt content.   The pastry will freeze if you make a large batch which you can defrost the day before you need it.     The tit birds love it and you can place little bits of the raw pastry on twigs, shrubs, etc.,      It is a good extra food option that is cheap to make and can make a large batch, freezing some for later use.  

    This long tailed tit couldn't wait for me to put the pastry into a feeder holder and put pieces of it on the twigs    !!!    It came straight down so I just placed my hand out for it   !

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    Regards, Hazel 

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

  • That pastry roll looks good enough to eat Hazel and as for the adorable lolly pop on your hand, I would be ********* myself with excitement!!

    Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

  • In reply to Catlady:

    Yes, isn't it brilliant.
  • Was an old photo I put on Catlady, it was just to show Vivienne about the pastry and how the birds love it. No garden now - just a courtyard at the moment but we did have 2 blue tits, 2 great tits and 3 robins in it !

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    Regards, Hazel 

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