The first mixed family at SDU!

While I was out ringing the rapidly growing chicks at SDU this weekend I came across something unusual, and very exciting! When I reached box 82, on the edge of the woods, I had a quick look in to ensure the chicks were large enough to ring. All looked good and I began the process of removing chicks one at a time to ring them. I was running on autopilot, but something stopped me after the 3rd or 4th chick. I picked out a chick which was very small in my hand in comparison to the others. It isn’t unusual to see a age or development difference within a single brood. In some situations the smaller, less developed chicks have hatched one or two days later than their older bigger siblings. But this chick felt completely different.


Mixed brood in nest box (8 great tit chicks and 1 blue tit chick – red arrow) Photo: Jen Lynch

I turned off my “autopilot” and had a closer look. To my amazement the chick was not a Great tit (musvit) like it’s brothers and sisters, but a Blue tit (Blåmejse). There were 9 chicks, 8 Great tits and one Blue tit. This is the first time I have observed a mixed brood, but it seems it’s not a unique occurrance! A long running nest box project in Wytham Woods, close to Oxford in England, has also reported a mixed brood in one of their nest boxes recently. The parents (both Blue tits) are taking care of 6 Blue tits, and 3 Great tits! We will keep a close eye on this box and try to find out who the parents are!

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, Denmark, Environmental Education, Nest Box, Wildlife and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to The first mixed family at SDU!

  1. Pingback: The first mixed family at SDU! | Gaia Gazette

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