Saturday, 6 June 2015


Gail and I made what was probably the last check for the season of our Pied Flycatcher boxes and only one word sums it up and that is 'disaster'! Last night when I was calculating what we might ring based on last week's visit I came up with a conservative estimate of perhaps 80 pulli, and we actually ringed just 24!

Out of 21 boxes that we checked this morning eight contained dead young. Five of these were full broods that had died and the other three contained some dead birds amongst remaining chicks. As last week brood sizes were small with Blue Tit broods of 6, 3 & 4, and Pied Flycatcher broods of 6 and 5. It was pretty disheartening to find three broods of dead Pied Flycatchers including a brood that we ringed last week. I know that this is the worst year for me at this site in terms of losses over the 14 years that I have had boxes at this site!

 Pied Flycatchers (older birds above & younger birds below).

On the positive side the young that were in the boxes that we ringed this morning and those that had survived from last week looked fairly healthy and I think they will probably fledge okay. I imagine that this is a picture that is emerging up and down the country. Fingers crossed for good over winter survival and a good breeding season next year!

 Nuthatches about to fledge.

It's Open Farm Sunday tomorrow and I'm leading a walk on a local farm, so I'm looking forward to that, but it's yet another day not birding on the patch!

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