The little bird’s big survival plan

A blue tit

A blue tit

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How lucky we are such a colourful and acrobatic bird is so abundant.

Not only abundant but also confiding to the point of nesting in almost any nest box we provide for it.

I have had them building nests within days of a box being erected.

How many children have had their interest in wildlife kick started by staring into a nest box full of blue tit eggs or chicks?

When I say full, that is exactly what I mean.

Blue tits lay large clutches of eggs to ensure at least one or two chicks survive the attentions of cats, crows , magpies, sparrowhawks and other predators.

Not just predators, even an unfavourable spell of weather can kill blue tit chicks.

Prolonged rain at fledging time is an obvious hazard.

However, nest boxes in direct sun can be just as dangerous to chicks by overheating and dehydrating them.

One way or another, blue tit chicks have a perilous time of it.

Thankfully, to keep the population level, an adult blue tit simply has to replace itself.

If it can rear one chick to adulthood it has done its job.

You may be sad to learn that so many of the chicks in your nest box will perish, but if that wasn’t the case we would be up to our oxters in them by now!

Nature knows what it is doing.

George Hogg, Hogg Estate Services, Wildlife Management