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May 2008 -2-

7 May

Always wonderful time. 25 °C.

Birth of number eight this morning at 8:20.
Not easy to count!

There seems to be nine beaks!
I have not seen the latest.
But I have not reviewed all the photos from last night.


Both parents feed the little beaks always hungry of small green caterpillars.
Watch VIDEO   (200ko 5s)



A chick protrudes through the mother's feathers.

Sometimes, a little stirring of the nest, gets a chick stuck in a strange situation. Mom is energetic.

Watch VIDEO   (1508ko 38s)

It is tiny, but you can observe the long tapered legs of tits.

Secouez moi
Shake, shake!

Watch VIDEO   (1020ko 31s)

With her, all small feeding is always followed by a mattress refurbishment. And when we say mattresses...

Upon hearing one of the parent's arrivals, all small beaks open as a corolla.


Always the household chore.
Mom consumes,  papa exits and throw it out.


8 May
Wonderful, wonderful day.

Great sinkholes and small sinkholes will be both served. You can see the age difference between the two chicks.

Watch VIDEO   (1749ko 52s)

.A large opened beak with a triangular orange yellow tongue, surrounded by the yellow beak border, encourages the feeding. They have a little down on the head.

The feeding starts at daybreak. It takes place from time to time until all the chicks are sated. Then the chicks can stay alone sometimes 10-12 minutes. It is hot; the mother did not warm up her chicks the whole day.

Feeding sequence by both parents.

They come alternately in the nest box, meet from time to time and feed the chick singly.

Watch VIDEO   (1290ko 24s)


On the menu, a small spider. They are very difficult to catch before entering the nest box, because they go very fast. They did pose for a moment only when a parent is already there. The other waits a moment, if the first delays too much, the other finally enters too.
They do not meet anymore outside for a feeding.



They change very quickly. These 3 photos are from 6, 7 and 8 May.

On 6, they are pink and they can hardly raise their head.

They become darker; the small duvet is denser and greyer. The heads darkens.
On 8, you begin to see the black line on the spine which will blacken more and more and where soon will emerge the first back feathers. The wings feathers, backs and tail's will be the first to break leaving bare the rest of the back.


They are crowded at the centre of the nest one over another, usually keeping theirs head out in the middle of the heap, all little beaks at the centre, opening a corolla at the arrival of a parent. The smaller ones often find themselves rejected 
the periphery.

When caterpillars become butterflies!




9 May

Same dream weather.

We are changing every day. The small wings become black, the back line blackens.


As for the eyes...

Big legs and Iroquoian hairdressing.




They chirp. Trough the open window we hear them, and they stir constantly.
An idea of the speed at which they can jig. The video is in IR, the movement is better rendered.

Watch VIDEO   (722ko 17s)

Of course, always continuous feedings. They grew up and stand upright better. The movement blurs the beaks in the colour camera.
Watch VIDEO   (538ko 14s

They already make attempts to leave the nest bowl pushing brothers and sisters.



Little surprise!

While viewing the photos of the day, I found ten beaks! The smaller, previously invisible, leaved the crowd. And number ten remained hidden until now; I had neither seen #9. I wondered what happened to the last egg...


As yesterday evening,  butterfly is again on the menu tonight. The time must be favorable.


Weather is nice and warm but dry as well.
The birds pass by the trough, sparrows of course, but also two and three greenfinches (one chick) 


10 May


It's hot. At night, she sleeps preferably on the edge of the nest. She do not need to warm up her chicks all night and, surely, she sleeps better this way than on a mattress ten small devils.




May 11

Sun, sun ...

In the nest box.


The small hole next to the eye? An ear, soon to be quickly hidden by feathers.



The pins of the back and wings feathers.



We cannot see the beginning of the tail feathers yet.


The head quickly becomes very dark.

We can see here that the feathers do not develop right away on their backs, which remains pink.

Caterpillar stuck.
Once the prey is placed in these small beaks, it is well held. When the caterpillar is too big, the mother has difficulties to withdraw it from the small throat. The complete sequence lasts five minutes: for 5 minutes, she will try to recover the caterpillar which stifles the small chick. Then she will try to put the prey in another throat without success, she will eventually eat it, herself. The sequence here is shortened. This is not so rare that a big prey remains stuck half-swallowed in a small throat. Look at the bill next to the mother who can maintain strong prey.

Watch VIDEO   (3698ko 1mn40s

These are webcam pictures, unfortunately, their definition is far from good.

Take a little turn at My Bit of the Planet, go to "Nestbox latest" from 1 May. You'll find extraordinary photos by David Jones, details of small great tits, (enlarge his photos to see), as in the beak details, where you can see why it is so difficult to remove a prey to a chick, see the small soft "hooks" at the palate used to bring down food into the esophagus.


And outside the nest box?


The housekeeping from the outside.


Housekeping in flight.
Both parents now throw the bags.
And  ten small digestive tubes produce! A caterpillar, a bag.

It is the queue at the entrance: Mom goes out and Dad awaits eagerly for the entry to be free...


 Nez à nez

Or not ..
So we end up nose to nose.

Or, she is forced to leave somewhat vertically. Ops! At the top, there is a leg that has not yet leaved, while the other is already down.


Some beautiful acrobatics on exits. , they take sharp bends.

En vol26


The menu of the day.

Well, I know, when you see this... but the dishes are very well received and if we are to believe the chicks, delicious, yes, yes. Bon appetit.

Parents travels are incessant. As sonn their prey is delivered and swallowed, they leave immediately. Only the mother lingers from time to time to re-bedding. It seems that the insects thrive with the heat, there are many of them at this time.


12 mai

Always a wonderful time. 24 °C

NichoirThe nestling is reduced to seven chicks. At the evening of 10th, we saw no more than 8 beaks raise when an adult arrived. They are a bit large to remain hidden. Yesterday evening, a chick found himself outside the nest bowl and stayed there. The mother watched and then ignored him. In the morning he was no longer there. Thus.

The food? They are well fed regularly.

Too hot? It's hot in the day, 27 ° Saturday, but the nest box is in the shade from 11.30, (the terrace is NE), except for a few rays at 14h.
The vegetation has now grown sufficiently to cast shadows.


Too great age differences? Between the five first born and the last born, two days have passed. At the speed of their development, the gap is important. It seems  that the weakest, often find themselves a bit jostled by the bigger.

Both parents are caring and do numerous comings and goins.

Both parents are here at their usual place. The father up on the photo and mother in the bottom right. The beak beside the father contains his last delivery.


At rest, they have a amazing trend to point all of them in the same direction.




They are only one day older and we see more and better the feathers pins. (Larger pictures)
Admire the ear.
They make their voices hear..


When I saw him pass, I wondered what he was carrying: a huge butterfly. It is 17h, it's the time.

The mother always makes its vigorous stir.
But now everyone go out in all sides.


Thirst! Everyone his trick.

She prefers to drink in these acrobatic positions in the saucers of orchids! Not easy, it must pass the bill into the slot of the suspension. I've never seen drinking in the trough, here attended by a young sparrow, really young, that a "moinette" leaves here since two days.


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