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May 2008 -1-

May 1st

1er mai

Some grey, a little rain, some sunshine, 14 °C.


9th day of hatching. Again these little green things that seem to be fresh leaves.

He continues his comings and goings.



OK, I know: the menu is not very varied.

Promised, tomorrow I will try the caterpillar!


2 May

A little mist in the morning and then superb weather. 14 -21 °C.

Tasting in the nest box.

Watch VIDEO   (412ko 12s)

She entered the nest box with her prey. She starts by observing her eggs, hey no, they are not yet hatched, and then gobbles his spider.

(The video is from the 29th, I did not
had the time to watch all

                                                                               The  promised caterpillar!


Mésange à longue queue

A cousin, the long tailed tit, just as busy hunting caterpillars.

Mésange à longue queue

[Aegithalos caudatus]

It is a small cousin of tits, it does not belong to the same family (Aegithalidae family instead of Paridae). It builds its nest in the fork of a tree. A superb nest ball shaped, closed, built of lichen, bark and spiders silk, filled with feathers, with a hole exit.

This small ball of feathers is all the time in motion. She lives within big the families. You see one, then two, then three, then ... a dozen, often in an Indian file, perching where the previous one did, just a moment and then fly off.

(Bois de Vincennes)


4 May

Beautiful weather, beautiful, beautiful, like yesterday. Sun, blue sky, 24 °C perfect.

She still broods. She is impatient, often rises, make a short tour outside. Stays often at her window. He passes regularly with many large green caterpillars.

He has just signalled his presence.
She leaves the nest bowl, and lazily comes to the door


He enters and gives her the caterpillar.


Once the caterpillar is eaten, she leaves.


Leaving him there.

Shall I follow?

Well, she leaved?


She is not here, shall I have a quick glance.
Yes, on reflection, it's now or never.


Well! A few seconds of contemplation.
He does not often has an opportunity like this one to see the brood.

Ok, coming, coming.


The hatching approaches. Normally on Tuesday, but I will begin to monitor closely tomorrow.


Here is again the morning singer. Tonight he paid us a very long visit, perched on the opuntia (not in good shape cactus, it suffered during the winter). Visit punctuated by incessant "pink-pink-pink." It is so beautiful and, even if the melody is a bit dull compared to his singing in the morning, all in variations.



5 May

Beautiful red sun this morning. Blue sky. Nice day, 24 °C

She still broods; turning regularly the eggs, head plunged into the nest bowl. Breathing fresh air at her window. She brings every day some new fresh leaves.



The rose buds begin to open.


The passage of caterpillar is sometimes difficult to make. For this beautiful brown prey, he will take a long time to release. Both pulling the bug each in another direction.
Wanted to ensure that the hold was good, or wanted to share?
The prey is big and round, not easy to hold. Looking closely, one end is already crunched, it looks like a headless bug.

Le relai
Handover. Perfect, this one.


Operation complete.

15h53, and Bebe1 is hatching.

I nearly failed to see it. In previous years, females had a characteristic attitude, attentive for a while, seeming to listen, waiting at the edge of the nest bowl, a little aside of its eggs. And we saw clearly the egg before the hatching. This year the eggs are hidden for the first hatchings.

My attention was fortunately drawn by the fact that it has her head in the nest bowl. Nothing exceptional in that, but she moves very delicately and seems to eat something. I start the video, you never know.

bb1Yes she eats something. A tiny piece of white. She intervenes very early, just as the egg begins to crack, and she cuts a tiny piece that she eats. She opens the egg. But alas, she hides the nest bowl, we see very little. She assists the chick and eases it out of its shell, which she eats immediately.

First appearance of number 1. The egg at the top right.

Coquille 1

It is not easy to see. The confirmation arrives only when we saw the piece of shell that she swallows with difficulty, doesn't goes easily. Then she moves a little, and we see better number 1. I greatly shortened the video, the original last 4mn.

Watch VIDEO   (852ko 37s)




Coquille 2

A large black closed eyeball. They open their eyes only after a dozen days. 

And the second piece of shell found, is swallowed

It's just three minutes old and already it opens its beak. But his mother thinks more important to warm up him first, he and the eggs remaining to hatch.

It will wait until 16h16 for his first feeding.



16h16? It's just after the hatching, and he just comes with a huge caterpillar. And his signal also unleashed the pictures ...

No, but do you realize the size? You overdid.

She took a little bit and turned back! He remained nonplussed with its huge bite. He ensconced himself and eventually devours it.



He takes a long time to finish his meal.

Meanwhile, she feeds Number 1.


Petite chenille

He quickly understands and brings now tiny caterpillars. The size is good. He can enter the nest box. His incessant comings and goings will begin. They will both participate to the feeding.



Delicacy of first feedings. Bebe1 is satiated and the caterpillar ends eaten by the parents.
Watch VIDEO   (876ko 25s)

17h31: birth of number 2. Again we do not see much because she hides the nest.
She just ate the shell, digestion seems a little difficult or something outside disturbs her, yet there is nothing visible.

Watch VIDEO   (712ko 14s)

18h09: turn of number 3. 

18h19: No. 4 

20h48: No. 5 will wait until the evening. This time we can see, at the beginning of the video, the egg opens and that she enlarges the opening. She removes the 1st half shell, leaving him wearing the other half shell.
Watch VIDEO   (1580ko 1mns)

[The videos are in IR. Of course, is more beautiful in colour but we did foresee all. And with the colour camera, and the position of lighting, when perch on the edge of the nest on one side, there is an ugly shade over the nest bowl and it becomes impossible to see any detail.]


6 May

Marvellous day today.

5:50 in the morning, here is number six.

We had to wait until 10 am this morning to get acquainted with number 7.


And his small Chinese cap. Where he falls head first, projecting a leg.



Watch VIDEO   (1580ko 1mn32s)

.The father is there delicately and gently feeding his chicks. She comes with a caterpillar. She gives it to the chicks; he has not yet finished.

"There! give me your caterpillar, I will do faster. Return to work!"

Watch VIDEO   (950ko 29s)

."I nevertheless told him that it should be small caterpillars!"

He finds himself a little embarrassed by a too large prey and a feather still bigger.
The mother withdraws the big caterpillar from the small throat and crunches it soften it.

A little takes the position and presents its bottom. A small bag go out, the faecal bag that is recovered by the mother. For now she eats (yes, everything is useful). Later the bag will be removed and thrown away from the nest by one of the parents. Cleanliness is the norm among tits.

The nest stays clean.


Watch VIDEO   (2994ko 1mn18s)

The feather? The father annoyed ("What an idea what she keep such things!") threw it out. Look at the video you will see why.


Incredible! Gee, he fights for cleaning up!

Watch VIDEO   (572ko 13s)


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