Blue tits - the final chapter

Its been 19 days since the first of the eggs hatched and today the last of the chicks have left the nest.

 It has been a busy time for the parents whilst they constantly fed them and kept the nest clean. The mother has been attentive and tried to keep them all fed and at times it almost looked like she was doing a head count, before then diving under the chicks and seemingly ensuring that none got lost under the brood. After all she did have eight to look after and in a nest box that has got to be a tight squeeze.

Initially the mother was sitting in the nest overnight to keep her brood warm, but as they grew and space became limited the chicks were left huddled together for warmth, as by this point they had a reasonable amount of feathers.

It was two weeks before the first of the fledglings left the nest, they were both of a good size and this freed up room in the nest for the others. It was also apparent at this point that one of the chicks hadn’t made it. A few more days past and she tried in vain to get the next two chicks to leave the nest. They obviously thought they were onto a good thing and made no attempts to leave.

Yesterday we lost a second chick and overnight we lost another. It is hard to believe that they can survive for so long and then die. I don’t know if it is just survival of the fittest, the others were bigger and stronger and maybe they got most of the food.

Today the last two chicks have left the nest, making that four fledglings in total. Whilst the nest now lies empty the fledglings cannot be too far away. I keep seeing the blue tits in the garden and they keep disappearing into the hedge at the back of the garden. All I need now is a glimpse of the new additions to the family.