This is my 1st Post on here so hope you can help
I have a web cam nest box and Blue Tits have nested in there yearly. This year 8 eggs were laid & 7 hatched but one by one the babies are dying . A few died very young. We went down to 5 babies - they now have feathers and are at the preening stage and look a good size. Since yesterday morning - there is now definetely only 4. I'm worried and just don't know why this could be happening!! Is it the weather or some disease??? The parents are doing a good job feeding them. I almost dreading checking on them each day just incase anoher one is missing.
Hi elsie welcome to the forum.
I'm afraid this is one of the drawbacks of having a camera box, you're witnessing something that is happening up and down the country.
It could be down to the weather we are having including the lack of suitable food for them..i've just opened up my nestbox that has had Blue Tits nesting, i know some have fledged but there were five very young ones dead inside.
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Hi Elsie and welcome
This is happening all over the place just now, We never saw this before camera boxes.
The reason why tits lay so many eggs is becouse only a few survive.
Hope some of yours do, But even if they fledge magpies and sparrow hawks await.
Its a tough life
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It's very upsetting when not all "your" baby birds survive but it's nature's way. Birds lay lots of eggs because they won't all survive. Of those that do fledge many will die in the coming months.
In nature if you produce one baby to replace yourself , you've been successful.
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My first post too and sadly the same problem. I have a camera box and "my" bluetits started nest building during the warm spell we had in March. The first egg came in mid April and eight chicks hatched from a total eight eggs just over a week ago. There are now just two chicks left alive. Its very sad to witness nature.
Hi oldsailor welcome to the forum..yep i'm afraid it just shows what a rough life they lead even before they leave the nest.
We are also having the same problem. It's the first year we have had a camera nest box and were enjoying watching their activities. When all 10 eggs hatched and all birds were alive a few days later we were optimistic. Then the smallest seemed unable to get any food despite trying very hard and died. We lost 1 baby every day after that until we were down to 5. A couple of days later we have lost another one. It's very sad and the enjoyment we once had has been taken away. Both parents seem to be doing a good job. What I would like to know is can we do anything to help them? Is this rate of death normal for bluetits?
Hi Birdlover i'm afraid there is nothing you can do and from what i've seen on the forum it is probably normal and why they have so many young.
The average clutch size is 9 eggs, while the average nest produces 6-7 fledged chicks, so it is normal to lose a few in the nest. Of course, it is very upsetting to see this first-hand. The cold spring we're having won't be making things easy for the parents as they search for food, because insect activity will be reduced.
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that's so sad to hear. we just lost all of our blue tit chicks on friday 11th, they were only a week old- we think something happened to the mother as she didn't come to sleep in the box that night or afterwards. the male continued to return to the nest with food that day, but none of the chicks responded to him, and had all died by the next morning.
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After watching the earlier stages for the first time i.e. nest building, egg laying, eggs hatching I think I lost a bit (no, a lot) of my objectivity. This morning there were 3 chicks but it was obvious that only 2 were being fed despite all 3 heads coming up. It was as if the parent birds had given up on 1 and decided to let it go. Like Elsie, it is now painfull to open the camera in the morning.
I put it down to the recent weather change. Our GT box produced 10 egg which all hatched, parents were feeding at a great rate and all 10 chicks were growing fast, box became so crammed and chicks were double-decking when 10 days old. Then the weather in my area, Suffolk, turn rather chilly and I noticed the parents were only feeding every 10-15 minutes, I,m assuming food supplies dwindled due to the cold. now have lost 4 chicks. parents only seem to be giving the small supply of food to the strongest chicks.
I fear you might be right. We lost 3 more chicks over the last 24 hours and the remaining one is looking weak. Parents also seem to be giving up although it is still being fed. I will be very surprised if it survives another day. It really is terribly sad. Only hope this won't be repeated.
I've been reluctant to post an update on the 4 remaining Blue Tit babies just in case I was tempting fate but as 48hrs have passed without any more fatalities ...I'm pleased to say that the 4 of them are doing O.K. They are looking quite big now and I don't think it will be long before they leave the nest box ...I hope they survive!! It does sound like this dilema is happening all over & I really think this is due to the weather. It was such a joy to watch last years brood of 8 evolve and interesting to watch their parents showing them how to have a bath in our water fountain. They seemed to stay together for some time after leaving the nest so hopefully I will get to witness 'my' 4 babies do the same.
Thanks for all your support
Still have two chicks this evening, I just hope that they may survive. With regard to location and weather conditions, I live in North Somerset and the birds started to nest-build during an unseasonal week of warm weather in March. Following that it turned cool/cold and very wet. It has stayed that way until yesterday when it brightened up and got a bit warmer.
I don't know if it is relevant but up to now I haven't seen the infestation of caterpillars on nettles yet. Not taken much notice in the past so can't say if it is late or not. I do remember in other years though seeing masses of caterpillars on nettles at some time of the year.
I have just written to North Somerset Council tonight though, complaining that our playing fields verges (mainly nettle) are being chemically sprayed again this week.