Friday, 18 May 2012

Looking a little frazzled!

Despite our initial concerns that a local cat might have dissuaded our resident Blue Tits from nesting this season, during the past two weeks we have witnessed definite signs that they have not abandoned the nest box. In between the showers we have regularly seen the parents flying in and out with food BUT this constant effort is definitely taking its toll on their appearance  ........

This species typically only produces one brood with average laying dates usually from early April to mid May depending on latitude and altitude. In any given season the clutch can vary greatly from 2 to 18 depending on location, food source and availability PLUS the weather conditions. As everyone is aware our Spring has been wet and cold so many species have no doubt delayed or even aborted their initial nesting programmes. 
On average incubation takes 14.2 days and fledging in the southern part of the UK is normally between 16 and 22 days. Depending on the brood size and whilst I suspect that it may not be particularly large this year that requires a lot of  effort to keep those hungry mouths feed.

 In the past I have set up the tripod and operated the camera by remote but for this series I just sat in a chair on the small patch of lawn (they rarely get upset at my presence if I keep still!) and then focused on the nest plate waiting patiently for either parent to appear and prayed that I could get some reasonable shots hand-held.
I have not noticed too many instances where the food source has included a large juicy caterpillar so the youngsters are having to make do with more frequent supplies of much smaller insects although in the last few days the parents have been complimenting their diet with visits to a nearby fat ball feeder which suggests that fledging may not be too far away. 

Bearing in mind this species only weighs between 9.5 and 12.5 grams it's no wonder they are looking a little bit 'frazzled'.     FAB.

20 comments:

  1. these poor parents do look a bit fatigued and unkempt. cracked me up! but 18?!?! OMG!!!

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  2. Keep us posted! I wish them well.

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  3. Lots of information on these birds and their hard work to produce offspring. Great photos hand held or not.

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  4. I love these images Frank. I wished I could see one of those here in KY. Carol

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  5. Yup, a little frazzled! Nice post, and loved your photos.

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  6. Great news Frank! Your worries have now changed to different ones, whether the young will fledge! The poor adults do look a bit rough at this time of year, don`t they! What they endure for the continuation of their species.
    J
    Follow me at HEDGELAND TALES

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  7. You got some wonderful shots. I'm sure those birds would love some meal-worms!

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  8. Yes, they look like it is the ending, no, in fact, they are just starting, poor things.

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  9. My goodness, what we do for our kids!

    Yes, that's a familiar look from when my kids were small and I pulled an all-nighter taking care of a sick child....

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  10. Frazzled indeed. They certainly have their workcut out at this time of year. Ive noticed our nearby nesting Blue Tits have just started to return to the box with juicy green caterpillars, not quite as plump as those of last year. Good luck to them. Linda

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  11. Hi Frank,

    Poor sweet thing....ours look much the same and have also been using the fat balls to feed the chicks.
    It has been a rotten Spring for birds.........

    Great images, tks for sharing.

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  12. A wonderful post Frank and comparing your garden Blue Tits to mine I think mine are way behind at the moment.

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  13. I remember feeling as frazzled as he/she looks when my kids were infants! Now one of my daughters is being frazzled by her own toddlers, she must feel the same. :o)

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  14. Oh Frank, bless their hearts, they do look a wee bit frazzled, but still very pretty~

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  15. AWWW, they still look cute. Frank, great post and I enjoyed the photos.

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  16. Interesting that you mention about not many caterpillars Frank, its a bad sign about the lack of the early butterflies unfortunately.

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  17. Such sweet little frazzled parents. I was shocked to learn(from you) that a clutch ranges from 2 to 18. 18 is quite a crew! Beautiful birds! I hope they raise this group successfully. I'm looking forward to more updates.

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  18. Wow still excellent that they are doing it. They look pretty in bad shape indeed! Increadible... Beautiful sequence Frank!

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  19. Over-worked, definitely under-paid. Poor thing. Lovely close-ups Frank.

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  20. Oh My! I get tired just looking at them!

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