The Bluetits have failed to raise their brood again this year but this time we know who the culprit is.
A few days ago we heard the Bluetits nestlings beginning to make noises and the parents were going in and out evry few minutes so we were hopeful that they would get to fledge. We came out one morning to see nesting material on the floor around the box and were concerned that the nest had been robbed again or that the parents had been killed by a cat or Jay like we thought last year.
However, the parents continued to make their frequent trips and we could still hear the young so we were hopeful that all would be well.
Unfortunately, that isn’t going to be the case. Last night as we were sitting having our tea, we saw a Greater Spotted Woodpecker at the nest box, with its head through the entrance looking in the box. Finally, after a few minutes with the parent Bluetits panicking around, the Woodpecker flew off with a nestling in its beak. The parents continued to work at the nest this morning but this afternoon they were coming back to the box but not going in and departing with food still in their beaks. The Woodpecker also came back and looked in the nest but didn’t make any effort to take anything out so we assume that the nest has been cleared out and the Woodpecker will have to go somewhere else.
Having looked around the web, it seems that this is not uncommon so at some time before next spring we will have to redesign the box so that the Woodpecker can’t reach in. Our plan is to replace the front panel (which is a piece of half inch softwood with a piece two or three inches deep so that the Woodpecker will have more difficulty in reaching in. At the same time, we’ll put some wire mesh around the outside of the box so that the Woodpecker won’t be able to drill holes through the sides.
Ah well, Woodpeckers have to feed their young.