The breeding season is flying by!

Over the last 2 weeks things have progressed at an alarming rate in the woods. In about 18 days, the newly hatched baby birds develop from being blind, naked and helpless to alert and fully feathered strong “teenage” birds. When you consider that it takes human children around 18 years to reach this stage, it’s pretty impressive! After around 18-21 days the chicks fly from the nest (or fledge) and will remain with the parents for a short time.

Teenagers almost ready to leave home

These “teenage” Great tits (musvit) are almost ready to leave home (box 13). Photo: Ellen Krag Kirkeby

As you can see from the picture of box 13, once the chicks are almost fully grown, there isn’t much room left in the box! The Blue tits (blåmejse) who usually their breeding attempts ca. 1 – 2 weeks later than the Great tits are catching up. The majority of our nest boxes are occupied with Great tits, with less than 10% providing homes to Blue tits.

Blue tits in box

Blue tit chicks (blåmejse) are more grey than blue in the early stages of development. Photo: Rie Pors

At this time of year it is also possible to capture the adult birds, when they visit the boxes to feed the young birds. Some of the adult birds using the nest boxes this year, are birds which were ringed as chicks in May / June 2013, during the first year of the project.

Adult Female Great Tit

An adult female Great tit (musvit) captured in the nest box. Photo: Sara Elisabet Nielsen

 We are also very busy ringing the chicks, and this means I get to spend a lot of time in the woods, and catch up with our six teams of volunteers. It’s smiles all round as everyone gets to follow closely in the secret lives of birds!

Two happy volunteers in the woods! Photo: Jen Lynch

Two happy volunteers in the woods! Photo: Jen Lynch

As usual there is a lot more than birds in the woods. If you keep your eyes open, you can see all sorts of things hidden in the undergrowth. Here are some of the things we stumbled upon over the last few days.

Snails in the woods

Two large Burgundy/Roman snails (Vinbjergsnegl, Helix pomatia ) coupling in the woods. Also known as edible snail or escargot! Photo: Jen Lynch

Wood speedwell is also in bloom

A carpet of Wood Speedwell (Bjerg-Ærenpris, veronica montanta) can be found in parts of the woods. Photo: Jen Lynch

About sdubirds

A citizen science project set up to monitor breeding birds in nest boxes in the woods surrounding the University of Southern Denmark (Odense).
This entry was posted in Breeding Season, Citizen Science, Environmental Education, Flowers, Nest Box, SDU, Wildlife and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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