Nestbox Diary - 2007

April (part 2)

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12 April - Egg laying is over.

There was no egg laid today, so we are now into the 13 day countdown to hatching on or around 23 April.

I'm taking a day off from watching the box, but there are a couple of other bits of nesting news-

We already have the Blackbirds nesting in the Ivy tree, and today a Wren was also showing a lot of interest in it and singing very loudly. I know that the male builds several nests to tempt his partner, so shall have to watch out for it. Just over the fence at the bottom of the garden (so I can't claim this one for the garden) a pair of Wood Pigeons are busy nest building in the conifers, while at the house end of the garden, House Sparrows are taking hay (that I've put out) up to a couple of the nest boxes.


13 April - (large images to be added tomorrow) - Incubation has continued with out any obvious problems today. I won't do a detailed breakdown of the day until sometime next week to give me chance to catch up with other jobs, but I thought I ought to make a note about the fact that both parents take turns to incubate.

I saw several 'change-overs' during the day, and this one was typical. 

The parent that was sitting on the egg seemed to be very relaxed,



but that changed as soon as another bird approached the entrance. It leapt up as if to defend the box, but dropped its wings as soon as its partner entered the box.

They passed each other very quickly, but then there was a relatively long pause, with the exiting partner perched in the exit, and the incomer keeping very still in the corner, not moving until the other bird had left.




Then it settled on the eggs, taking up much the same position as the partner did.



It was interesting to compare feather patterns on the two birds. The incomer has larger white tips on its feathers. These match the appearance of the female at egg laying, so it seems that this sequence started off with the male having his turn at incubating the eggs.


16 April - Incubation continues without incident. I'm afraid that it hasn't been possible for me to spend time going through the recordings these last few days, but I will try to do a detailed day's record before the end of the week..


19 April - I'm finding it very difficult to sit down for long enough to go through a day's recordings at the moment so coverage of incubation is far less than I would have wished. With time running out before hatching is due I really do hope to do that detailed record of one day before it's too late!

I forgot to order a supply of mealworms ready for the big day, so I shall have to go out and buy some tomorrow!

Straw rings in Swift boxesI did do a little bit of nestbox work this afternoon. Having read the reports of Swifts already been seen in the South-East, I took the advice given in the BTO Nestboxes Guide and added platted straw rings to the Swift boxes. Although I don't know what the best size for the rings is, it seems that they may help to make the boxes more inviting!

I also added some IR LEDs to the boxes, although I will need to check the connections again tomorrow as they are not working tonight.


Away from the nestboxes, a Wren continues to go in and out of a old nestbox in the Ivy tree, which is brilliant news, and will be even better if a female chooses it as her nest. High up in the Ivy the female Blackbird is recovering from a Magpie raid on her nest while her partner continues to sing loudly from the nearest high spot.


20 April - This morning I've completed preparing the Swift boxes by sorting out the infra-red lighting - a bad connection in my loft was to blame for yesterday's problem.

It is getting very close to hatching time for the Starling eggs now. If my calculations are correct I would expect it to happen the day after tomorrow.

Just in case it's tomorrow, I thought I'd include this image of the female as she is just about to settle on them for another session.



It's not likely that I will be able to do the detailed day's record from the incubation period now, but I will keep one day's recording so that I can go through it when I get more time.


Click on the images to see larger versions -

2007 Nestbox Diary Index.....

First Chapter (Jan/Feb).................March ............... Next Chapter (Hatching)