We have not seen the Great tit parents visiting in the last few days - so carefully took down the box to have a look inside - all chicks grown and flown and no dead ones in there so assuming the ones we heard all made it!
I know one is not supposed to mess around with even empty boxes until after the nesting season, but... as I took a snap of the empty nest I realised it was moving considerably.. and having seen the blighters on our camera box in the past, knew exactly what was in there.. took out the nest and the whole debris at the bottom was heaving. Managed to isolate one of the lice and got a pic and enlarged it!
This is why we keep our duck and hen houses spotless!
Those poor Great tit babies must have been so relieved to get out of their biting/itchy house.
Box saturated with boiling water and back in place now, just in case!
and, of course, I am suffering from phantom itching now!!
Thank you Paul - I have to say I have a good camera that is usually on the idiot setting.. one of my sons takes brilliant photos and uses all the different settings.. sadly although he has tried to teach me, I forget and so use the auto settings - so I must own up and take no credit for any photos that turn out okay other than luck in birdie being in the right place :-) But compliments truly appreciated XXX
Can only see 3 chicks, one of which is a bit less well done than it's siblings, but as I took pics it struggled to the top so hopefully mum and dad will give it some extra helpings.. both parents are bringing in food constantly and do not mind me being about - they just chirrup around me with food in their mouths and move in immediately I step one pace away. Of course, do not know how many eggs were laid in the beginning.. might have been a small brood to start with. They are certainly not short of food, those parents are bringing in grubs etc. while ever there is daylight.
Great pictures again Delilah! I built my first nest box in 1970 as a ten year old and mounted it half way up a popular tree in our back garden. It was used by house sparrows. After the season had finished I took it down and pulled the nest apart to see what had been used. A day later I had to be "de-loused" with the "Vosene" treatment!!! I was itching like mad!
Never again! I spray my boxes with flea spray through the hole and leave them for a day before I tackle the old nest in used boxes!
benn... yes, I, too, have been the unwilling host of bird lice in the past and a not very pleasant experience! We were driving home a few years ago and saw the traffic had all backed up along the river's edge - there was a sorry looking bird in the middle of the road, flapping about. No one would get out, so I did and picked the poor creature up meaning to bring it back to ours where I would see what could be done. Within a few seconds of my husband driving again, with me cradling the bird, I was aware I was crawling all over.. had to get husband to stop the car asap and I jumped out and had to leave the dying bird in some long grass in peace - to cut a horrible itchy story short, by the time we got home I just jumped in the shower with all my clothes on and took them off under very hot water - the lice were even inside my underwear and shoes, and all over my hair of course. All clothes, even my shoes, went in the washing machine. The car had to be sprayed, too. I found out later that clearly the poor bird had been dying and the lice knew and were off to fresh pastures.. whilst I know they cannot live on humans alone for long, they will bite and I was covered in hundreds of tiny red marks all over. So I feel for birds, I really do!
I was getting a bit concerned that the parents, although spending all day bringing food, seemed only to be bringing spiders... not very big and not very juicy, to my mind anyway.. but then captured the tatty one bringing in a nice green grub! All 3 babies look fit and healthy, thank goodness. Such a small brood, but will never know if they ever had further siblings, although I am sure there were 4 the first time I took a peek inside. Must get that camera back working for next year.
Gorgeous gorgeous gorgeous photos Delilah ( well the mites aren’t gorgeous but you know what I mean ). Stunning captures of the blue tits and babies in the nest. You have a real talent. You have made me itchy just reading your posts so i’m off for a shower. Sue
You are both so kind.. but honestly it is the camera.. I have it on auto, wait for a decent shot and then crop the pic afterwards and give it a bit of contrast.. I learned photography at art school back in the 70's but we had SLRs then.. and dark rooms etc.. and we did the developing ourselves but I was never that interested, preferred illustration.. but cameras these days make photography a real pleasure! As do your comments, which I much appreciate but I cannot take too much credit, sadly, bless you both.
Last Edit: May 22, 2019 19:24:25 GMT by Delilah: sp
Both parents still feeding all day long - took a pic yesterday and found there really ARE 4 chicks, not 3 - and all are healthy! Took another pic today whilst parents briefly out of box, one of the chicks was very fluttery, tried to fly out of the open lid, landing on my hand and not letting go... had to put it back and close the lid quickly! Do not want them fledging in the evening... maybe tomorrow if it is a nice day, the parents are more vocal than of late and maybe they are trying calling them out.
2nd photo only shows 3, the 4th is underneath! The chick looking up was the one clinging to my hand trying to get out!