random bird

Living with Birds Blue Tit Nick Baker's Nesting Favourite Tweetapedia

Nick Baker's Nesting Favourites – No. 2

Blue Tit

"I’ve got to mention this bird as it’s the most frequent appreciator of the efforts we make to attract and provide resources for our garden birds."

Unlike my house sparrows - which despite the provision of dozens of boxes insist on nesting on top of them or stealing other boxes meant for other species. Blue tits are a classic woodland species, that would have nested in rot holes and cavities in trees such as old woodpecker holes.

With the loss of much old growth forest, this bird has made the jump to our gardens: when we put up a tit box we are effectively providing a hole in a non-existent tree for them. Blue tits only make one effort to nest a year. But when they do, they pile all their efforts into the one go and a record of some 16 eggs (16mm x 12mm) - although these may be the effort of more than one female.  

Blue Tit Photo

Keep an eye open for activity, including a distinctive little display flight made around the nest box, also bits of nesting material poking out of the hole are a give-away. Blue tits and their larger cousin the great tit, as well as the ever opportunistic house sparrow, make frequent use of nest material put out for them.

You can even buy little hangers in which to stuff various natural fibres - if you’ve got access to dog, cat or horse hair or sheep wool all of these will be accepted readily by your local birds. Watch carefully and it’ll also have the added advantage of showing you who's nesting where: a bird carrying nesting material is slower and easier to follow with the eye."

Blue Tit I1

Nesting Timeline

This garden favourite will start to pair up and become very vocal, the male delivering his song chirping song incessantly. Also look out for pairs courting, the female shivers her wings and begs food from the male.
 MARCH 
The nesting process starts, it’s a cavity nester and in the wild will use tree holes and even small mammal burrows in the ground. Famously takes to nest boxes and other odd sites like post boxes avidly.
 MARCH/APRIL 
The cavity is stuffed with moss, feathers, hair and wool embedded in which the single clutch of 8-10 white brown speckled eggs are laid. They hatch after a couple of weeks.
 APRIL/MAY 
The timing of the chicks hatching is designed to coincide with the hatching of moth caterpillars that in turn time their emergence to match the buds bursting. The chicks are fed for about three weeks.
 MAY/JUNE 
The twittering of large, begging clutches, accompanied by their hassled and haggard looking parents become a familiar sight around garden feeding stations.
 JUNE/JULY 

Nick’s 8 Winter Mammals