Birds of a Feather

The past couple of months have been filled with birds.  We started with blue tits nesting in the box on a North facing wall in our small courtyard garden.  The blackbirds then built a nest in a corner above the patio.  For some reason they then abandoned this and built a second one in a climbing rose right under the blue tit box.


Female blackbird

Then the robins moved in.  In the centre of the garden is a Himalayan palm tree (Trachycarpus Fortunii) with some old leaves hanging against the hairy trunk.  They found a route in from the top and constructed a nest from the coir-like fibres of the trunk.  Next we noticed that the wren was darting into the same tree, but from below the old leaves.  The male wren builds several nests and the female picks one and lines it.  She chose this one, so we now had another two nests with little space between them and only a couple of metres from the other two.

There is a camera in the nest box so we could see that the blue tits had ten or eleven eggs and hatched about seven young.  It’s always sad that some die and we don’t know how many they managed to get out of the nest if any.  The blackbirds fledged at least two chicks.  The male was looking after the first to fly and we fear that the magpies got it one morning.  The female is still feeding another, which hides amongst the shrubs.




The robins have also fledged and although we have never spotted the chicks both adults and the female blackbird are back and forth to our patio door demanding meal worms.  Unlike the sparrows they are bold enough to approach when I’m sitting on the patio eating my breakfast.  D has even had the robins eating from his hand.

A few days ago I noticed that sometimes one of the robins would return to the palm tree with its goodies.  However, instead of going in at the top where their nest had been it was entering where the wren’s nest was.  Sure enough there were little beaks poking out of the hole and the robin was not only feeding its own young in the garden, but that of the unfledged wrens as well.


Wren chick

This morning the three wren chicks flew the nest and settled initially around the pond.  The robin was continuing to feed them along with their own parent.  I’d never heard of this but according to this article by the British Trust for Ornithology it is quite common.  Mother wren has since hidden them away in the bushes so I’ve no idea whether the robin is still lending a hand.  It is back looking in the window now with that look that says that I’m failing in my obligation to provide dried worms on demand.

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