Next Box Surveys 2017

By fosh_admin on Tuesday, July 11, 2017 - 21:19


Bill helped me carry out the first nest box inspection of the season today. We were advised to start monitoring as soon as possible, because birds are generally nesting quite early this year.

We now have 22 tit boxes suitable for inspection, of which 10 had signs of nesting activity and 12 were empty. Of the 10, 5 were in various states of build but unlined, and 5 were at least partially lined. One of these had a single egg.

So a promising start. We may find one or two more boxes used on the next inspection, but on the other hand past experience shows that quite a few nests are started and then not used. If is still early days, and if we once again suffer bad weather later in the spring, doubtless this will have a big impact.

One of the 12 without nests actually contained 2 eggs at the bottom of the box. Not sure how they got there. The box was used last year, and there were fewer chicks than eggs, so I guess it is just possible that, when emptying the contents last autumn, we left behind 2 unhatched eggs and failed to notice. Seems rather unlikely, however.

One again the 4 treecreeper boxes had not been used.

I will do the next inspection next week, probably Thursday.


Rosemary helped me today. 4 nests had eggs, one with a Blue Tit sitting.


Zdena helped me. 5 birds sitting, plus another 1 with a single egg and one more partly built since last week. So 7 active nests


Zdena helped me again. Still 7 active nests. Although a new one started last week had not progressed (and is therefore probably abandoned), one that we thought was abandoned last week has a bird sitting. Current situation:

· 1 Great Tit nest with 6 chicks

· 1 Blue Tit nest with 6 chicks (although 1 lethargic)

· 1 Great Tit nest with bird sitting

· 4 Blue Tit nests with bird sitting

So looking good. If the weather stays reasonable we should have a better year.



I was helped today by two Friends of Rushcliffe Country Park, Marijke and Marian. We are now down to 6 active nests, because the chicks in one of the Blue Tit nests were dead. Current situation:

· 2 Great Tit nests with 5 chicks each

· 3 Blue Tit nests with 5 or 6 chicks each

· 1 Blue Tit nest with bird sitting

So looking fairly good. Last week’s wet and cooler weather did not seem to take a huge toll, unlike the last couple of years, and hopefully the forecast good weather during the next week will help. My only concern was that some chicks seemed a little lethargic.


Rosemary  helped me today. Sadly another nest (Blue Tit) has failed – chicks are dead. But the other 5 nests (2 Great Tit and 3 Blue Tit) are still fine, although one or two chicks seem to have been lost. In 3 nests the chicks are about ready to fledge, so expect them to be gone when we inspect next week. The other two nests are slightly behind and will not fledge for a couple of weeks. 

From now on we only check the active nests, because we don’t expect any more to be started.



Ian helped today. We are about nearing the end of inspections for this year. Young seem to have fledged from 3 of the boxes and a 4th has young about ready to fledge. I will check out this last box next week, when I expect them to have fledged. With several young from each of the boxes concerned, this is a far better result than the previous two years. 

A fifth box failed (dead chicks) making 3 failures in total (out of those nests that got beyond the building stage). 

Unfortunately one of the nest boxes (45) was damaged This box had not been used this year. You can see that most of the front and most of the left side are missing (broken off from the bits that remain). The breaks look fresh. The remainder of the box, including the roof, was intact, except that the floor had twisted round. Although the broken off side panel was on the ground, there was no sign of the front panel (but it could have been thrown further away). Also there was no evidence of any substantial fall of a tree branch. Ian and I could not think of any explanation other than vandalism. It is next to the newish party site on Sharp Hill (although there has been no evidence of parties there this year). It looked almost as if it had been struck with something heavy like a sledge hammer. This should probably be added to the next ASB report.



The nest box inspections for this year have been completed.

As usual, nest building began in quite a few of the 22 tit boxes, but not all reached egg stage. Of those that did progress, 3 failed (dead chicks) and 4 succeeded.

· Box 38 – 4 Great Tits fledged.

· Box 40 – 5 Great Tits fledged.

· Box 44 – 6 Blue Tits fledged.

· Box 51 – 4 Blue Tits fledged.

This was a good result compared with the last 2 years, when severe weather in May had intervened.

Once again there was no activity in any of the 4 Treecreeper boxes. 

I will submit results to the BTO Nest Record Scheme.

Thanks to those who helped: Bill, Zdena, Rosemary, Marijke, Marian and Ian.