A Photo a Week Challenge: Babies

My contribution to the A Photo a Week Challenge is two photos this week. The prompt is Babies which got me thinking about bird species with young.

That made me think of two very different species that nest in tree cavities and will also use nest boxes.

This is a Common Merganser, a larger species of duck that needs a large tree cavity or nestbox. As soon as the eggs hatch the female carries the young to the water in her bill.

A Photo a Week Challenge: Babies

 

These are Eurasian Blue Tits. There are two adults feeding recently hatched young in a nestbox. Unlike the Common Merganser these young are born naked. It will be approximately 21 days before they have grown flight feathers and can leave the nestbox.

A Photo a Week Challenge: Babies

July Squares: (Eurasian) Blue Tits.

A contribution to Becky’s July Squares: Blue photo challenge.

Having posted a grumpy Great Blue Heron as part of the challenge it didn’t occur to me how many birds there are with blue in their common English names until writing this post. Expect to see a few more bird species before the end of the month.

An adult Eurasian Blue Tit feeding young with a caterpillar. When the photo was taken they were simply Blue Tits and they had a different scientific name.

Eurasian Blue Tit feeding young.

Feeding Recently Hatched Young.

One from the archives taken in Cheshire in the late 1980s.

Having documented the complete nesting cycle of a pair of Eurasian Blue Tits in 1987 I went on to photograph other species in different nestboxes over the next couple of years.

Here an adult Great Tit (Parus major) is about to feed some recently hatched young with a small yellow green caterpillar. While it looks as if the bird is looking at the camera it was just the timing of the shot. It was dark inside the nestbox, I was releasing the shutter a second or two after hearing an adult land at the entrance hole.

Feeding Recently Hatched Young.

Old and New

The new Weekly Prompts Photo Challenge is Old and New.

I had a few ideas for the challenge before thinking of some of my nestbox shots of adults feeding young.

This shot is quite a rare event with two adults in the nestbox together, normally there’s only a single adult in the nestbox once they’re feeding young. Taken using a specially constructed nestbox in Cheshire, England.

Two adult Eurasian Blue Tit feeding recently hatched young.

Eurasian Blue Tit nesting story

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.