Hi Helen and welcome to the forum. I hope you get some good pics of your young if the blue tits do produce this year. Whether or not the jays will disturb them I'm not sure, but others on the forum may be able to help.
Lot to learn
I don't really know the answer but will bump your post to get someone more expert to help you.
In reply to nairnred:
Hello Helen and welcome from me at the very top, in Caithness. Not sure about y our question, hope that both hatch and fledge with no problems.
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
In reply to Catlady:
Hi Helen and welcome to the community from me too (in Cheshire); think you'll need an expert to answer your question about the Jays v Blue Tits but with Jays being part of the Corvid family of birds they do eat eggs and chicks but hopefully there is enough alternative natural food around as their preference seems to be peanuts although only kibbled nuts should be put out during nesting season (this is to prevent the possibility of young chicks in the nest being fed whole peanuts by the parents and choking on them).
I have had plenty of Jays in the garden although not nesting but never seen them attack a nest box although have seen Magpies, Crows and Great Spotted Woodpeckers target boxes. I try prevent predation by stapling quarter inch wire mesh to three sides of the box (sides and underneath) and a metal hole plate on the entrance to the nest box. Of course, the Corvids can still reach in and drag chicks out as they grow and are close to fledging. Hopefully the Jays will keep enjoying the kibbles nuts, suet, seeds, etc., and leave the Blue Tits alone. Good luck and hope you see some beautiful chicks in a month or so time.
Just an added note; do not attempt to add any mesh to the box now until early autumn when nesting season is over. No boxes should be removed or disturbed now breeding season has started.
"Each kindness shown to birds or men is sure to flutter back again"
In reply to HAZY:
I am not an expert on breeding jays, though do have plenty of them in the local area. I doubt anyone can state jays won't predate blue tits. However, jays are naturally a woodland bird, so I am guessing you have woodland nearby? If so, you are more likely to lose your blue tit eggs or young to great spotted woodpeckers. Crows, magpie and jays are capable of predating fledglings whilst they're blundering about soon after leaving the nest. But, so are cats and other predators.
I think nest boxes, unless sighting near easy perches, or badly designed, should be good enough protection from corvids, so I am fairly sure you won't have any issues caught on camera. If you do have branches within a few cms of the nest hole, worth removing them when you know the parents are away from the nest.
Got to admit, although I'm happy with my blue tit nest each year, I would trade it for a jays. (though I appear to have a coal tit pair nesting this year for the first time which I wouldn't trade!.....especially as they've stored/dumped tons of birdfood all over the garden that would otherwise go to waste or be eaten by the rodents)
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