Monday, 2 November 2020

Nest box adoption scheme: Year 1 update

In February 2020, the Lower Windrush Valley Project put up 12 small bird nest boxes along the Windrush Path near Standlake, 6 open fronted boxes and 6 with a 32mm hole. The boxes were purchased using funds raised through a nest box adoption scheme and supported by Linear Fisheries.

Box locations

The sections of footpath selected for the boxes have excellent surrounding foraging habitat for small passerine birds, with hedgerows containing berries running alongside much of the path and insects attracted by the lakes and streams. As the planting around the gravel pit lakes and surrounding footpaths is relatively recent, the trees are generally young and thin, with few holes present for cavity nesting birds present due to their small size and good health. These boxes therefore make a great artificial alternative for such cavities, and will allow passerine populations to breed and grow in the area.


Nest box use in Year 1

Unfortunately, due to the Coronavirus pandemic we were unable to run the ringing sessions we had planned in May. Information on breeding attempts in 2020 is therefore based on what was found when the boxes were emptied after the breeding season to remove old nesting material, which can contain parasites that could remain and infect any young birds in the boxes next year.

The boxes have proved hugely successful, with 8 of the 12 boxes showing evidence of use and successful breeding confirmed in 5 boxes. Looking at unhatched eggs within the boxes, it can be assumed that they were used by blue tits and/or great tits. We were surprised to find an occupant in one of the open-fronted boxes – a pipistrelle bat was using it as a safe place to roost!

Our little owl boxes have been installed, in suitable locations along the Windrush Path, and we are excited to see their use next season.

Box type

Number

Date checked

Result

Open fronted

1

22/10/2020

No evidence of use

Open fronted

2

22/10/2020

No evidence of use

Open fronted

3

22/10/2020

Small attempt at nest building made

Open fronted

4

22/10/2020

No evidence of use

Open fronted

5

22/10/2020

No evidence of use

Open fronted

6

22/10/2020

Successful breeding – 2 unhatched eggs*

32mm hole

1

22/10/2020

Successful breeding – chick remains, believed to be great tit*

32mm hole

2

22/10/2020

Successful breeding – chick remains*

32mm hole

3

22/10/2020

Successful breeding – 1 unhatched egg*

32mm hole

4

22/10/2020

Evidence of use – full nest

32mm hole

5

22/10/2020

Evidence of use. Bat using box so not emptied

32mm hole

6

22/10/2020

Successful breeding – egg fragments

 * It is quite normal for some young to die or eggs to fail to hatch. A large number of eggs are laid by parents to account for losses. 





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