Saturday, 30 April 2016

Long Tailed Tits garden nest building

After 4 weeks of stopping and starting, our Long Tailed Tits looked to to have completed their complex nest in our garden. Its our first ever LT Tit nest and being so close to our studio window (just 20 feet away) it's causing lots of distraction and interest for me.

There have been at least 3 birds building the nest in a scrappy patch of honeysuckle and bramble close to the house, on the garden boundary. By luck, I noticed  the birds collecting feathers and moss from day one and we watched as they cleverly weaved and built a moss and feather platform. At the beginning of the nest build, there was a lot of activity for about a week. It ended abruptly. The birds simply stopped, disappearing and leaving us rather deflated for probably 10 days. Interestingly despite the cold weather and presumed lack of insects, they didn't even return to feed on the garden feeders, something they had being doing since the new year.

To my delight they returned back to the garden, and in the last week they've built a typical cupped - shaped nest before developing further and adding a dome on top. Whilst they've been building the nest, bramble and honeysuckle have grown and obscured the whole nest so it would appear to be a secretive and safe site, out of view of predators, so must stand a good chance of success. Long tailed Tit nests have a high proportion of failure and are often raided and abandoned. A search of Google images for Long Tailed Tits nests show many that are poorly hidden in full view of  Jays and Magpies, so whilst our garden nest is going to be hard to view and follow progress on, it should be safe and successful. I say this knowing they've already come under the scrutiny of a Kestrel whilst nest building and our plucky birds have also joined in mobbing a Jay away from a nest site that was helping itself to a wood pigeon's nest.

Our Long Tailed Tits have happily been collecting Goose Down courtesy of a tear in my Jack Wolfskin coat