Since the 16 February the nesting started. The weather is cold: 0° C in the morning. The first green moss strands were brought. The female tit which prepares the nest alone. The male, enters the nest after a small dance, tail raised and wings lowered, but does not seem to be tolerated any more in the nest. He comes out as quickly as he is went in, as if he had firmly been requested to leave at once. Then he encourages her, and sings perched in his birch, beside the nest. Also, now and then, he brings her some offerings.
Sometimes, the billfuls of moss, too large, have difficulties to pass trough the door and remain partly hung at the entry of the nest. After a first good layer of moss, a layer of straw and dry grass completes the nest.
At the end of March, weather is very cold. Frost in the nights. In the afternoons temperature attains only 2-3° C.
Works are in progress in all the nests. A “moinette” mows our asparagus with application. And sets out again with large mouthfuls of leaflets, a little prickly perhaps, but each to his own!
At last, she comes!
During of the day, she continues to adapt the nest to her taste and not
only the interior.
She would like to enlarge the entry hole!
What does she want?
Her blue cap is ruffled at the entry hole.
Before taking a small rest in the sun.
The nest seems almost finished. She still adds there some beautiful feathers, she does not resist.
10 April: Today she went to bed much earlier than the other days, while there was still light.
This morning, one egg!
It is always quite cold during the morning, 5° and 10°C in the afternoon.
We will have to wait until the 18-19 April, the 7th egg, for her to spend much more time in the nest. Weather is better, beautiful sun and 16°C. She leaves much later in the morning. He always sing, but disappears during long periods in the course of the day.
April: 8 white eggs, stained with brown red, arranged
Now she broods,
and she will brood alone. He comes to nourish her. He calls from
and she answers by small "pips". Small quiverings of wings and tail
raised for both, like future chicks when they beg their caterpillars.
Then he enters the nest. She has the bill largely opened to receive
the caterpillar. He does not remain and immediately sets out again to
seek another billful. Weather is hotter (22°C).
22, 23, 24 avril: 9 eggs. 22°C. She leaves in the morning a short moment but quickly returns to brood. She arises in the evening around 17h to nourish herself, and returns towards 20h before the night.
This morning, 7h the first chick!
Temperature is 15°C and the weather is overcast.
8h15 here is the second.
He works. He enters with a caterpillar, which she takes to distribute among the chicks.
She distributes the caterpillars brought by him, to the two chicks.
If she is not there, he takes care of the
distribution. He remains with precaution on the edge of the nest to
give the beakful.
9h 20 birth of the third chick. She
assists it. Then, on several
occasions we see her with a half eggshell, she eats the shells, because
remains in the nest and she needs to recover all
calcium of 10 eggs!
he arrives, it is always with a yellow green caterpillar,
divides. Sometimes she eats one of them. The small chicks have a large
head which they do not yet manage to raise. With enormous
still closed and down feathers around the eyes. Large yellow bills to
receive the piece of caterpillar. They do not have yet the reflex
to open the bill and she must move the billful over the small chicks to
invite them to open the bill. They will learn quickly, in
two days they will open the bill at the arrival of one of the
parents. Sometimes the billful is… a little large!
Rainy night, overcast, 15°C. The fourth is born this morning. A brood of 4 chicks all naked, all pinks. The brood is complete, the 6 other eggs will not hatch, perhaps because of the bad climatic conditions.
11 May: The chicks grow very quickly. Their bills have enormous yellow moustaches.
12 May: Sun 22°. They do not see yet but are increasingly active. Four days and we begin to guess the quill of the feathers, in particular on the wings. She remains less in the nest and the supplying is made by both parents.
14 May: Beautiful caterpillar, for four yellow pits with their small orange points. The quill of the feathers grows and they are not more pink but dark now. They have 7 days. A chick starts already, to half-open the eyes, especially with such a beautiful insect!
15 May: Up to now the chicks were nourished with beautiful green, tender and fleshy caterpillars. Now the mode changes. In addition to the green caterpillars, more and more insects are supplied to supplement the meal. The eyes are half-opened.
17 - 18 May: They grow bigger! Four beautiful “chickens”, which leave more and more the bowl of the nest and flap their wings. Their eyes are quite open.
As for the parents, there is the household...
And, four great bills to be nourished...
Many journeys in and out are needed!
And some acrobatics...
To bring back the menu... insects, caterpillar
At the beginning the menu of youngsters is exclusively made up of large quite fatty green caterpillars. Then, coleoptera, insect larvae, flies and aphids supplement the menu.
Lastly, well later, some shelled seeds of sunflower and catkin seeds of birch, willow or poplar which abound at this period of the year.
The chicks, beakful after beakful, will become Mésanges…