The Bird Box Diary
March(Part 1) 2003
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1 March - St. David's Day, and the first straw -
Today started quietly, as most days have so far, until sometime after 10.30am. when the female made a routine visit.
As she inspected the floor she was surprised by a Robin peering into the box. Strangely, she hardly reacted to it at all. There was no displaying, no defensive posture, and no aggression at all.She simply waited until it left and carried on, the visit lasting over three minutes.
She was back in twice more during the next five minutes, very actively checking every corner of the box.
Then came the moment that I have been waiting to see ( except, I was out, and so have to rely on a video tape which is now in the bin because it was faulty! This also means that timings may not correspond to those on any webcam images seen this morning)...
Not long before 11am, she entered the box (pic1) with the first piece of straw, which she just dumped before leaving straight away.
About three minutes later more arrived (pic2). This time she stood and looked for a little while before turning her back to the camera, going down onto her front and doing a 'shuffle' (pic3 - a rather pointless exercise at the moment) before leaving.
Less than two minutes later a third delivery was made. This was flicked over to the left of the box before she left again.
Click on the image to see a larger version
After that bit of excitement, and in increasingly wet weather, she only visited the box once more, around 12.50pm, when she did nothing with the straw and stayed only a very short time.
2 March - The female was in the box before 8am this morning.
During the visit pictured here she decided that one of the pieces of straw brought in yesterday was unsuitable and removed it!
A quarter of an hour later she was in again and this time the webcam caught her doing one of her shuffles on a empty bit of the floor.
Later, this action will help to push material into the corners of the box.
During the rest of the morning there were only three more brief visits. Then, between noon and her last visit at 2.11pm she was in the box nine times, including one during which she did her shuffle again before picking up and removing another bit of straw.
Last night I thought it might be a good idea to provide a ruler so that the depth of the nest can be estimated. I will also make it possible to judge the size of the birds.
3 March - I have not had time to go through the videos today, but it is obvious that no progress has been made on what has turned out to be a very dull day, weatherwise.
I saw several visits during the early morning, with the female going into the box before 8am. The webcam captured this shuffle, so it does look as though she is still in a positive nesting mode
4 March - An otherwise quiet start to the day was interrupted by the attentions of a Sparrow.
The BT went into a somewhat subdued display at the entrance. With wings and tail spread out, she sways from side to side. Her beak is open and her head is turned as she sways, and she stays silent, except for the sound of her wings being spread rapidly. She was not very agitated by the event, and spent a short time back on the floor of the box before leaving.
Shortly afterwards a male House Sparrow appeared at the entrance, and spent some time looking in before departing without any attempt to enter.
Just over half an hour later, it was the turn of the robin to look in again. It seems that it may be checking for possible nest sites. I shall have to watch the other boxes in case one of them is chosen in the near future.
5 March - The wait goes on. On a dull morning, with mild weather (11C at 10.30am) and damp conditions outside, there have been only a few visits to the box so far, with nothing brought in.
The shuffle has been seen a couple of times, this one caught by the webcam.
6 March - Even a bright, sunny morning with the temperature up to 12C at one point this morning, has not brought any more straw to the box!
Nevertheless, it was business as usual, with a number of visits during the morning, including this encounter between the male (crouching on the floor) and the female. The usual sequence occured with his crouching as she entered and then leaving as soon as she landed.
The empty box was sorted by the female shuffling three times while I was watching.
By 9.10am I have only seen two visits so far, the first coming immediately after the female had taken a few bits of this apple, hanging on the Hawthorn. That first visit was only brief, but did include a quick shuffle.
This webcam image was captured during her second visit, when a bit of sunshine helped to brighten up the box.
8 March - A dull and sometimes wet day with a cold wind blowing. The familiar pattern of morning visits has continued, with most occuring in the half-hour after 11am.
During one of those visits she got a little bit annoyed with a Sparrow in the Birch tree and displayed briefly at the entrance (left pic).
I saw just one shuffle during those visits.
9 March - The day started much as usual, with visits starting by 8am. At about 8.40am the female spent several minutes in the box, most of the time crouched down in a corner as though resting.
Then I went out for a few hours, making the mistake of forgetting to put a new video tape into the recorder before leaving. What do I find on my return - moss in the box!
I have no record of when it arrived, other than to say it was between 11.20am and 1.30pm.
Crouching until she had landed (pics 2 and 3), he left immediately.
10 March - This morning I made sure that the video recorder was kept recording in hopes of catching a follow-up to yesterday's moss delivery.
Visits by the female took place throughout the morning and several shuffles were seen as she pushed the moss and straw into the corner of the box. However, by the end of the morning there had been no further deliveries of nesting material. I don't think the male entered the box, although he did appear at the entrance several times.
Visits carried on past lunchtime, until, around 2pm this delivery of straw was made, the only one today. With a flick of the head it was scattered in the lower left corner of the box where it has remained ever since.
There were a couple more visits in the middle of the afternoon, but during these she simply stood in the middle of the box and looked around before leaving again.
This morning's first visit was at 7.37am, with six more in the next hour. There were several shuffles seen during those visits.
At just before 8.45am the female entered the box and, as happened a couple of days ago she went to the corner and rested there , pressed up against the glass for nearly two minutes before leaving again.
Then, an hour later, and after a couple more uneventful visits, she decided to have a major shuffle, heading into the corner where the moss and straw lay.
As she brought her head back up it was surounded by a necklace of straw which seemed to annoy her. She grabbed a large mouthful and flew up to the entrance.
She seemed to change her mind and dropped it back onto the floor, paused for a moment, and then grabbed the largest bit of straw and removed it from the box.
She was soon back in the box and shuffling across the floor again. Then, after another pause she suddenly picked up the moss and left the box with it, returning moments later with a smaller piece of it.
I have watched this business of having 'second thoughts' during previous seasons, but it is still a puzzle as to why they do it.
There was no nesting material brought in during the rest of the day.
However, the Blue Tits are active in the garden and this one seemed to spend a great deal of the day singing in the Hawthorn. I think it may 'our' male. As I watched it another BT came to the Hawthorn several times on its way to feed.
13 March - Another single piece of straw was added to the box at lunchtime today. Unfortunately, my PC has had a major crash and is not available to use this evening so I cannot include any webcam images. In addition, the problem means that the webcam is not operating tonight and may not be back in operation until sometime tomorrow.
14 March - The game of nestbox snakes and ladders continued today when at lunchtime the female brought in a long piece of thin straw which she then removed again a short while later.
I hope to add a picture later, but I need to get away from the computer for a while this evening, having spent most of the day playing my own game of S & L with the machine during the process of getting it working properly again. At 6.20pm it is working properly so I am optimistic!
This webcam image, grabbed at a time when the computer was behaving shows the BT on the way out with the straw. It seemed to have trouble deciding how to get it out through the opening.
The sequence shows the box up to 11.20am (pic 1) before a piece of moss was brought in (pic2 - the webcam captured the mage a moment too late). The next two minutes brought two more deliveries (pics 3 and 4). The last image (pic 5) shows the state of the box afterwards.
It remained exactly like this until 1.55pm when this visit took place during which a bit of shuffling took place. Since then the box has remained undisturbed.