Blue Tit Nest Box

So we put our first next box camera up at the start of the year and come April we had our first ever residents. I’ve absolutely loved watching our out of blue tits over the past few weeks but I have a question regarding the fledglings. As far as I’m aware the eggs hatched on the 23rd of May and are 3 weeks old today. 9 eggs hatched altogether and 6 of the chicks fledged yesterday (sat 12th June). Of the three left in the box, 2 fledged about 8am this morning (sun 13th June) and only one is left in the box. So far I haven’t seen mum or dad come back to feed him. Is there anything we can do? Will he just fledge when he’s ready or will the mum move on with the other 8 fledglings? Thank you  

  • Hi Lauren, it's good to hear that all but one blue tit chicks how now fledged successfully. The adult birds will attempt to coax the remaining chick out with food but will wait till it leaves the box to actually feed it but after several failures they will most likely give up trying and ignore that chick as they have to then feed the fledglings who will have flown to nearby trees where they will be heard calling for food. Sadly, the chick will not last long without food and the rule of nature is that you do not intervene but keep an eye on the box to see if the adults will make another attempt to temp the last chick out of the box.. Sounds like it is early days in your case as two chicks only fledged this morning so I would wait a little longer today to be absolutely sure that the adults are not returning to tempt the chick out. To be honest, they will usually only try several times and then ignore it in order to care for the others that will be demanding food constantly as they continue to feed chicks for three weeks or so after they leave the nest..

    The rule of law is not to intervene with nesting sites/boxes and leave it to nature but its hard when you can see it on camera and have a chick reluctant to leave the box.
    If you are absolutely sure the adult is not returning at all to the box, you can try gently tapping on the box to see if the nestling will respond thinking the parent is coming back with food and then depending on the style of box, if you have a lower panel section you remove under the nest hole you could take that panel away (without handling the chick) to make it easier for the chick to fledge in case it can't reach the nest hole; we had one remaining chick reluctant to fledge when the parent couldn't coax it out of the box and the parent birds gave up returning as they had to then tend to the other chicks that had fledged in nearby trees so we first tapped the box and heard the chick move so knew it was still alive, we then removed the bottom front section and it flew out a minute later as we stood well back away from the box to watch; we did not touch the chick. Had it not flown, we would have had to let nature take its course. Bear in mind if you do open a section of the box then the chick is naturally more vulnerable to predation just as they are in the early days of fledging.. One important note .....do not be tempted to place any food inside the box as the chick will not feed itself, it is still dependent on its parents to feed it.
    Good luck and hope this chick leaves the box shortly; hopefully it can hear its siblings so may be more tempted to brave exiting.

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    Regards, Hazel 

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

  • In reply to HAZY:

    Hi Hazel,

    Thank you so much for your reply, I have since seen mum coming back to feed him so hopefully he will successful fledge soon. He seems to look healthy and as you mentioned it’s both a blessing and a curse to watch when you have a camera. It’s been a delight watching them and learning about them. As you say it’s early days so hopefully he just need a little while longer to pluck up the courage. I really appreciate the advice.
  • Hi Lauren, hope the remaining chick is coaxed out the box by mum. Great advice from Hazel. It is such a good and interesting hobby, watching our featherd friends.

    Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

  • Just an update, come back from our afternoon out and the box is now officially empty. So happy all 9 chickens fledged in our first year of having the box up. Thank you everyone for your advice
  • That is very good for 2021. Very difficult in a good year, but 9 fledged this year is remarkable. Must have a good, suitable food supply.
  • Hi Lauren, glad to hear the happy outcome, some nestlings just take a little longer to fledge but all successful thank goodness. Thanks for updating us.

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    Regards, Hazel 

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