Feeding on Poppy seeds.

Throwback Thursday travels back to Cheshire in the 1980s. The juvenile Eurasian Blue Tit is feeding on a Poppy seed head.

The photo is interesting for a couple of reasons. The juvenile Blue Tit is ringed. I did some research and the closest ringing location I could find was three miles away in a straight line. Which means that this juvenile has already travelled some distance from where it was ringed. Being a juvenile it could have been ringed when it was still in the nestbox.

Also interesting is that the bird is feeding on Poppy seeds after pecking a hole in the seed head. I have seen adult Blue Tits feeding this way. So did the juvenile bird learn this behavior by watching an adult or is it instinctive behavior to peck open seed heads?

Eating Poppy seeds.

The last nestbox photo.

After the last young Eurasian Blue Tit left the nest I started checking the nestbox in the early morning and late evening. I was checking to see if any of the birds returned to use the nestbox as an overnight roost site.

This is what I saw 48 hours after the last youngster left. Those are Bird Fleas on the sides of the nestbox. I spent the rest of the day itchy, psychological as I never found a Flea or bite on me.

Bird Fleas in the nestbox.

The eleventh young Eurasian Blue Tit.

The eleventh youngster in the nestbox wasn’t ready to leave. All its siblings have left and are being fed and taught to survive by the adults. At times I could hear one of the adults calling to encourage the youngster out of the nestbox but it wasn’t leaving. Despite having ten young to look after the adults would still bring in a caterpillar occasionally for the one left behind.

I checked that the youngster was still in the nestbox several times during the day and it was still there that night. I got up the following morning and the nestbox was empty. The bird must have left the nestbox as soon as there was some light in the sky.

Left alone.

It would occasionally get up at the entrance hole but wouldn’t leave the nestbox.

The last young left in the nestbox.

The young are leaving the nest.

It’s time for the young to leave the nestbox. I watched and photographed as the young left one by one. Ten of the eleven young left over the space of about 90 minutes. The eleventh youngster will be the subject of the next post in this story.

The fourth youngster leaves the nestbox.

Leaving the nestbox.

The ninth youngster leaves.

Number nine leaves the nestbox.

Close to leaving.

The young are getting close to leaving the nest. They’ve been getting up to the nestbox entrance hole and looking outside. At this point they will leave any day now and as they normally leave the nestbox as soon as there’s enough daylight for them to see I’ve got my alarm clock set to be at the nestbox half an hour before sunrise.

Looking out of the nestbox.

They’re also exercising their wings in preparation for flying the nest. This doesn’t go down well with their brothers and sisters at times.

Exercising its wings.