The bird nesting season always brings its successes and its failures. Today I was saddened by one of the failures, but there is still plenty of time left for successes.
As I reported on 31st March
, there has been a fair bit of nesting activity going on in the garden. My suspicions of nesting by Robins (Erithacus rubecula
) were confirmed when I took a peek at an open fronted nest box that I installed last year in a narrow passageway between a shed and a neighbour's leylandii hedge. (The feature article Renovating and repositioning nestboxes
describes how this nestbox was made from an older box for hole-nesting birds.)
The gap between the hedge and the shed is so narrow that I could not look into the box without risking disturbing the birds, but I could see from the side that a nest had been built in the box. Last Friday I noticed one of the adults carrying a small faecal sack away from the nestbox - indicating that at least one young bird had hatched. Since then I've regularly seen the parents take invertebrates, gleaned from the garden, to the box. However this evening when I went to the garden I was soon struck by the absence of the parent birds. Fearing the worst I squeezed behind the shed and, with a torch, looked into the nest box. I could see at least one egg and one very small and apparently lifeless chick. There was no sign of predation at the nest, so I don't know what has caused this failure. Perhaps one of the parents has been killed or some other factor induced them to desert this nest.
On a brighter note, I do occasionally see the blackbirds (Turdus merula
) going into the hedge at the spot where I previously saw them building a nest - so perhaps they are incubating eggs now. Likewise the blue tits (Parus caerulea
) are still sometimes to be seen around the nestbox on the birch (Betula sp.
) - they may be incubating too. I have also seen a great deal of activity from a pair of dunnocks (Prunella modularis
) around an ivy-covered flowering cherry - there's plenty of cover in there for a nest or two!