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Small Nestbox Monitoring

Wednesday, May 20th 2020

There are over one hundred small nestboxes at Foxglove and each of them are checked by the birdringers in the spring. The first 'round' of checks has been carried out this week and there has been quite a good take up.

It is a huge task and has taken several days to complete. 

In most cases tiny, young chicks were found snug in their lined nests. These newly hatched ones were still blind and without any feathers at all.

Blue Tits and Great Tits line their mossy nests with wool and hair. The ones pictured here are just beginning to grow some feathers. 

In a few cases the young birds were completely feathered and almost ready to fledge. There seem to be more Blue Tits than Great Tits this year (last year the balance was tipped the other way) and the Great Tits seem to be further developed with several clutches ready to fly like the ones pictured below.

Some nests still contained eggs too. The nests with eggs and small chicks will be returned to over the coming weeks so that the nestlings can be ringed. All of this data is submitted to the BTO (British Trust for Ornithology) as part of their Nest Record Scheme. Their data are used to assess the impacts that changes in the environment, such as habitat loss and global warming, have on the number of fledglings that birds can rear. The boxes are also part of an Adopt-a-Box scheme and sponsors will receive a letter later in the year about the 2020 breeding season. This scheme gives people the opportunity to sponsor nest boxes and bat boxes on the reserve and was set up to help us raise vital funds for our conservation efforts.

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