The Bird Box Diary

The Chicks Hatch - 2002

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3 May - Day that Hatching took Place







On a Bright, sunny morning the next stage of the Blue Tits' Spring efforts is under way as hatching starts around 8.30am

Chick #1 -

I shall have to check my video recordings to confirm it, but I think this was the first of the chicks to hatch.

The female ate the shell.




As I wrote this at 8.54am mum left the nest and I was able to get a first clear glimpse of a chick. The egg on the left was developing a crack.


Chick #2 -

As I watched it widened as a second chick made its way into the world. This was the best view of hatching I have had in three years of watching the box!



Here, dad brings an oversized morsel as the second chick struggles to discard its shell. He has been in and out like a yo-yo since hatching began.



This closer view of the second chick emerging from its egg was captured from video. While it struggled to get the shell off its head, mum and dad were busy passing back and forth to each other the caterpillar that the male is seen with in the image above..

When the shell was finally removed, the female ate one half and the male took the other out of the box.




The doting parents look down in wonder as one of their first chicks begs for food.




As dad looks on, one chick spreads its wings(!) as it lies on top of a couple of eggs (10.30am). It is amazing to think that in three weeks this little thing will be transformed into a fully feathered flying Blue Tit.



There are no signs of further hatching as yet and mum has to continue with her incubation duties between tending to those first hatchlings. The male frequently brings her food during these periods and a lot of passing back and forth takes place between them.



In fact, at this stage food is being brought in faster than the chicks can cope with, and a number of times the male has taken the food away again.

Chick #3 -

Just before noon mum left the nest allowing a view of the third chick struggling out of its shell.



Chick #4(?) -

Mum pulled out (and ate) another piece of shell at 1.29pm, suggesting that another chick has joined the throng. A head count will be needed to confirm this.


Chick #5(?) -

More egg shell was removed just before 2pm. The picture shows the male on the left passing food to his partner before removing the shell from the box.

There are still four intact eggs!


Chick #6(?) -

2.20pm saw the emergence of another large shell fragment which mum dumped at the side of the nest cup. A few moments later the male appeared with a caterpillar which was eaten by the female. He then left with the shell. Three more to go!


Chick #7(?) - I popped out the garden for a minute around 2.55pm and missed another large piece of shell being removed by mum.



Chick #8(?) - Around 3pm two more shell pieces, looking like the two halves of a shell appeared, one being left at the side and the other end being eaten (the picture).




Confusion! - at 3.20pm I can still see two eggs in the nest cup, I think a re-count will be called for!

I've been away from the computer for a couple of hours, but at 7.45pm the egg situation appears unchanged. Mum has just returned from a late trip and may be settling down for the night. I will wait a bit longer before I turn off the visible light in the box. Having thought she was in for the night, she left again at 7.57pm.

During her absence the microphone in the box picked up faint chirps being made by the chicks as they waited. The webcam image shows six of them hoping for a feed.Mum was back in 2 minutes, although she did not bring any food.

Last year an egg hatched at just after 4am on the second day so it will be a case of watching the video first thing tomorrow.


This image from a video recorded earlier this evening, shows a couple of the chicks a bit more clearly than the webcam images can. They are blind, and will remain so into the second week of their development. You may just make out the tufts of downy feathers that stick out at the tops of their heads.

They are surprisingly mobile, although they can only hold their heads up for short periods.

2002 Bird Box Diary Index........Egg Laying.. ...bIncubationb......Chicks Week 1