Our bluetits are already searching the reserve’s oak trees for nesting sites.
Small holes in tree trunks are their preferred choice and a small hole in an oak tree is perfect because this is where the winter moth (Operophtera brumata) caterpillars will hatch at just the right time for the bluetits to feed them in their thousands to their nestlings.
Images, taken over the years by the late DKG, of bluetits exploring the holes in the reserve’s oak trees.
But bluetits are nothing if not adaptable. While they are prolific users of garden nest boxes, they are also quite happy to nest in holes in walls, letter boxes, street lamps or waste bins. Sometimes they choose extraordinary places.
Once the pair has found the right nest hole, they will guard it until the female is ready to begin nest-building: a good nest hole is a valuable asset, competition is fierce and piracy is rife. In late March or early April, she will build a nest of moss and leaves in the hole, and line it with hair, down and feathers, all glued together with spiders’ webs, while the male continues to keep watch.
This is the start of a long busy spring for our bluetits.