Tuesday, June 16, 2009

It's a bird's life

It's been a dry Spring and all the conditions have been right for a successful breeding season for our birds. But yesterday I was reminded of the daily trials they encounter - even when things are looking good.

I was walking my dogs - getting a little bit of fresh air after a day in the gallery - and had headed off to see if I could find a long-tailed tit's nest. I had spotted a long-tailed tit flitting in and out of a bush the day before. Their nests are notoriously difficult to find, but I thought I'd take a closer look.

When I arrived at the spot where I thought the nest might be, there was trail of broken eggs, including this red-legged partridge egg above and a pheasant egg. Looked like the work of crows to me - they tend to raid and carry eggs to a particular spot before they break into them and gorge.

To make matters worse, when I did eventually find the long tailed tit's nest, not far from this scene of carnage, it had been pulled out and the top had been ripped off. This was more likely the work of magpies.

If this wasn't enough, this morning a red start nest that I'd been anxiously watching the development of, had also been ripped apart.

Luckily there is still time for the birds to try again for a successful brood before the season comes to a close.
Bits of the red start nest on the ground.

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