Baby blue tits attacked and killed in nest

When we switched on the nestbox camera yesterday a most gruesome sight was waiting for us! All seven healthy blue tit chicks had been ripped to pieces - literally torn limb from limb and body bits all over the inside. It was so upsetting I’ve disconnected the camera - don’t want my son to see it. It is a RSPB box with the blue tit size hole and we’ve had broods in there for the past four years without interference. What could possibly have done this? Husband thinks a mouse or rat but no idea how they could have got up that high into the tree. So worried it might happen again. What might have happened? The mum was attentive but no sign of dad for a few days so she had to leave them to find food. 

  • Sorry to hear that Norfolk.

    I can't comment on the predator. But I know that the tube lip on certain cast concrete boxes is designed to stop predator entry. See, for example, nest box 3 SV at www.schwegler-natur.de/.../

    Two years ago (we're volunteers in a project involving hundreds of these boxes), there were big losses to mammalian predators, despite this type of tube lip. I don't know if the project lead ever got to the bottom of who was responsible, but as I believe he's in close contact with the manufacturer they are working on modifications.

    Sorry again, and for not being able to help more -
    Dave
  • We watched the mother kill 5 healthy 8 day old chicks. Dad was still feeding them, but she literally pecked them to death in 24 hrs. It was horrific. She has abandoned the nest complete with chick body parts. It was carnage.
  • In reply to Shropshire:

    Sorry for the destruction. Out of interest, how are you sexing the individuals involved, and how are you identifying them as both being the parents?
  • In reply to Dave - CH:

    Thanks for your reply. I will look at the nest boxes in the link - very helpful information. Also thank you for volunteering for this project and giving your time for something so worthwhile - much appreciated.
  • In reply to Shropshire:

    How awful for you to see such a horrific thing happening, it was bad enough viewing the aftermath! I wonder if this is what happened with our nest too? Thank you so much for your reply.
  • In reply to Norfolk:

    Thanks Norfolk. That's very kind. Don't often hear that.

    We shall (genuinely) think of you next Sunday, when we're on Osprey spotting duty. And the alarm goes off at 3 a.m.

    All the best, and good luck---better luck---with the boxes.
    Dave