The Bird Box Diary
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25 May - A brief note today. Last night the box remained empty and the only signs of life in there today have been this spider on the camera side of the glass, and the buzzing of a fly picked up by the microphone.
The parents have been coming to collect mealworms all day, and early this evening, as I watched their comings and goings I caught a glimpse of what I must assume are our fledglings. At least, I definitely saw six of them. The picture shows one in the branches of my neighbour's fruit tree.
The parents still prepare the mealworms before carrying them off and they were happy to take them from a dish that was right by me - sorry, I didn't take any photographs.
The box is empty again tonight.
26 May - A bright but showery morning and I have not seen or heard the fledglings during the morning.
However, dad is still as busy as ever collecting mealworms. He continues to remove the head and guts at this stage, and then flies off down a couple of gardens, much as he did in the daytime yesterday.
There have been no visits to the box.
The parents continue to take mealworms away form the feeder. The two linked pictures show one just arrived in the box as another leaves, and then prepares the mealworm on one of the strings that hang near either end of the feeder.
The adults are also spending more time at the peanuts and at a feeder that has sunflower kernels in it.
Numerous people have e-mailed me about the mealworm feeder. I first mentioned last Spring that it was a design that I found on an American birding site run by Christine Tarski. It has been successful throughout the year and, in the nesting season it has been a great help during bad weather.
There were five in the Birch and one, possibly two in the Leylandii but getting a picture of them was problematic as there is a strong breeze blowing, making the trees sway continuously. Here at least, are two of them.
The fledglings have the occasional peck at the tree, but most of the time they are still waiting for their parents to feed them. A lot of preening goes on as they wait. I'm still seeing the parents gutting the larger mealworms before giving them to the fledglings.
30 May - I had lilttle time to watch the birds today as I had lots of sorting out to do before we escape to Cornwall tomorrow. As a consequence there will be no diary entries until after the end of next week.
The Blue Tit family was in the garden this morning, with at least one youngster spending time in the Hawthorn. On of the last tasks before we leave tomorrow will be to top up the mealworm feeder. I filled the sunflower kernel and peanut feeders today.
In the rain, the lighting conditions made getting any pictures was a bit of a lottery, but here are three. The top two images show a wet fledgling begging for food on a Buddlea stem. It was given a Sunflower kernel which it then pecked at before eating it.
The lower image is of a second fledgling under the shelter of our veranda roof. In the larger version of the image you can just make out the remnants of the wide gape of the chick.