The Bird Box Diary

February - 2002

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5 February - A lot of activity today. The box was occupied for several hours in total this morning and early afternoon. By 2.15pm the visits had stopped.

Mid-morning there was a twenty minute period during which there were three brief occasions when there were two birds in the box. There was no aggression between them, although the first one(A) one went into a slightly submissive crouched position when the second bird (B) entered. After a few moments the first bird left.

This sequence happened several more times before noon, and at other times the other bird came to the entrance while one was inside.

Although the video images are not of good quality, it was possible to distinquish between the two individuals. Bird A has a bolder eye-stripe behind the eye, and its back/wings seem to show up as slightly darker.

Significantly (I hope), a small amount of moss has appeared in the box today. Last year this first omen of things to come had occurred by the end of January.



An even more encouraging event occurred around lunchtime when bird B carried out a process that I first saw last year after the first nesting material was brought to the box.

After spending some time inspecting the floor of the box she(?) went to the front right corner, lowered her front down onto the floor and, wings flapping shuffled diagonally across the box, pushing the moss into the corner where it was photographed tonight.

Tonight I replaced the low resolution CCTV camera with a higher resolution one, so images should be clearer from now on.

13 February - Back home this afternoon after six days away, I eventually took a moment to check this evening and found that in the last week several pieces of moss have been added - things look really promising now.



14 February - St Valentine's Day

On a bright sunny morning the female (I think) Blue Tit is spending a great deal of time in the box.

Just before I started writing this she visited the mealworm feeder for a snack before returning immediately to the box. In the meantime the male has been spending much of his time singing in the trees.

There is no sign of any moss being added so far this morning, but I have the video running just in case!


I would thoroughly recommend making the mealworm feeder to anyone. The Blue Tits loved it last year. It is based on a plan that can be found on an American birding site. (this will appear in a new window).

The box has openings at both ends and I have hung weighted strings about a foot from each of them. These are used every time a bird visits the feeder.


Around 12.30pm, after a prolonged inspection of the box the visitor decided to remove a coarse looking bit of moss (pictured,right). I noticed this behaviour a number of times during last year's nesting, but I can't suggest a reason for it.

An hour or so later a replacement piece was brought into the box during what turned out to be the last visit of the day.




17 February - The return of cold weather seems to have reduced the level of activity in the box. The amount of material in the box seems unchanged, although I did see a piece of straw taken in and which has now disappeared again!

On one occasion she brought in what looked like a half-eaten peanut (pictured left). She put it into a corner while she rested of a couple of minutes before picking it up again and leaving the box with it.

Whenever she(?) enters the box the bits of moss get moved around, sometimes accidentally but often deliberately by her.



18 February - A sunny start to the day has brought a slight increase in activity during the morning. On two visits beakfuls of very fine grass were brought in.

As usual, things have gone quiet since around noon (it is 1.20pm now).





20 February - Over the last two days activity has been limited in the box with just a little bit more straw added.




21 February - What a difference a day can make! After a quiet start to the day, with few visits seen, there was a flurry af activity around noon when it seems a source of dried grass(?) was too much to resist.



That session lasted about 20 minutes before all went quiet again, except for a brief moment when some Sparrows perched in the branches of the Birch tree and she guarded the entrance to the box. She repeatedly displayed with fanned out wings and tail, as though the Sparrows could see them through the wooden front of the box.

The Sparrows ignored her, and did not seem interested in the box.

22 February - Another opportunity to compare birds occured this morning when the male (? -image 1) entered the box. No sooner had he landed when the female arrived (image 2) and he crouched at the side of the box until she landed next to him (image 3). He left immediately, leaving her in charge again (image 4).

There was no sign of aggressive behaviour between them.

The dark bands on the head of the male are much bolder than those on the female in these images.

Click on the picture for a larger version.

This afternoon what I think was the female (video not running so I could not rewind and check) came into the box, picked one of the largest bits of straw and removed it from the box. I watched through binos as she preched on the Birch tree and dropped it. It caught on a branch so she picked it up again and dropped it a second time so it fell to the ground.

23 February - After a bit of a technical problem was sorted, I set up the webcam last night and it was still working this morning!

Perhaps a bit early for exiting viewing, but I did not want to leave it until later in case I encountered problems that needed sorting.



The afternoon saw what amounted to a replay of yesterday's encounter with the male (? - right) entering the box, looking around and then dropping to the floor as the female entered. He left immediately with no aggression shown by either bird.


I also saw more of the large bits of straw removed and dumped outside. This is very puzzling. Has she changed her mind about it? Was it brought in by another bird? I don't think this was the case as I watched it being brought in and I am sure it was the 'owner' at work. By the end of the day there seemed to be only one 'large' bit of straw left in the box.


24 February - A cold, wet and thoroughly miserable day did not encourage much in the way of activity.

The picture shows the box tonight, emptied of nearly all of the straw we saw brought in just three days ago.



26 February - To start with, a note about the webcam. For some reason, the image available on the web seemed to stop refreshing at 3.14am this morning. My computer was uploading images without problem and they were getting to my site. I have got round the problem by changing the filename for the image. I hope this does not cause anyone problems.

This morning we have seen a number of visits, including a prolonged rest period, although no new nesting material has appeared. This is hardly surprising as it has rained all night. The sun is shining now (at 10am) but we are getting occasional heavy showers and it is very windy.

27 February - A dry day has seen frequent visits to the box. Around lunchtime, some moss was brought into the box Unfortunately, I was out and the video ran out of tape before the moss arrived. This image was captured late in the afternoon.

The step forward today is a good sign.


28 February - A good number of visits seen during the early morning. I have only seen one piece of straw brought in so far but, as the picture (webcam image 10am) shows she is in the mood for organising what is already in the box.

She is using her feet to push the nest material into the corner of the box - as she left, she almost took the lot with her as it had caught on her foot!

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