Blue Tit blog

The months of May and June are by far the busiest times for Blue Tits - with eggs to incubate and young getting bigger by the day, the demand for food is constant. These two months mark the end of their breeding season, but Blue Tits start to think about breeding as early as February. Read on below to find out more...

 
February

February
  Looking for the ideal home

Now is the time to find a safe,
warm nesting site to rear your
chicks. Location is important
- there must be a clear flight
path to the entrance hole and it
must be relatively inaccessible
to predators. Finding the
perfect partner is also a top
priority at this time!

 

 
March

March
Time to fatten up

Birds need to be in prime
condition at the start of the
breeding season - peanuts,
black sunflower seeds and suet
provide a valuable source of
nutrients. The energy this extra
food provides will be used to
produce the eggs and keep
parents in good condition so
that they are able to provide
enough food for their chicks.
 

 
April

April
 Interior design

The female Blue Tit builds the
nest all by herself with little or
no help from the male. Moss
will be taken from garden
lawns and formed into a cup.
You will know that the nest is
complete and ready for laying
when it is lined with soft
feathers, fur or wool. Blue Tits
can build a nest in a few days,
but generally it takes them
between one and two weeks.
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
Early May

Early May
 An egg a day

This is an exhausting time for the
 female. She lays one egg a day,
usually first thing in the morning.
Blue Tits have one of the largest
clutch sizes of all birds - she may l
ay up to 16 eggs, but the majority
of clutches contain 8-12.
 

 
Mid May

Mid May
 Staying put

The female plucks away her
feathers on her abdomen to
create a bare patch (called a
‘brood patch’) to incubate the
eggs. She will start to incubate
the clutch the day before it is
complete and will sit on the eggs
for about two weeks until they
are ready to hatch. During this
time, if she made a good choice
of mate, the male will bring her
some food, but she will still need
to leave the box regularly during
the day to feed.
 

 
Late May

Late May
 Time to hatch

The chicks hatch naked and blind
and are most vulnerable at this
time. They need constant warmth,
and the female will frequently sit
on them. Finding enough food can
prove difficult if the weather is cold
and wet.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
End May

End May
 Growing appetites

Feeding chicks takes its toll
on the parents as they flit in
and out of the nest box with
juicy fat caterpillars. Each
chick can eat 100 caterpillars
a day, so adults need to find
as many as 1000 caterpillars
a day for a brood of 10! By
now the chicks’ feathers are
more developed and they are
starting to look more like they
might be capable of flying!
 

 
Early June

Early June
 Take off

When the chicks are ready to
fledge, the parents will call
them from outside the box,
urging them to come out. One
by one each chick will poke its
head out and make their first
tentative flight – usually badly,
and to the nearest available
perch.
.
 

 
June and July

June and July
 Hanging out with mum and dad

Fledglings will stay with (and
be fed by) their parents for a
few weeks after they fledge.
This is a dangerous time for
young birds - they need to
learn how to find food and avoid
predators quickly if they are
going to survive. They may well
take advantage of peanuts and
sunflower seeds provided in
gardens to build up their strength.
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Great Tits breed slightly earlier than Blue Tits, on average by about a week, but the amount of time they spend incubating the eggs and rearing the chicks is very similar. Multiple brooded species such as Robin and Blackbird may be starting to lay eggs very soon, so the best time to start checking your box is now - you never know what you may find!
 

Monitor the success of the birds in your nest boxes by taking part in the Nest Box Challenge. Register to take part in the survey and submit the details of your nesting birds online.

Take part in the Nest Box Challenge