May 26th   Leave a comment

The weather is finally on the turn, moving at last from March to May. Quite a few birds are feeding chicks now and it will have been hard for them to find enough insects, but at least the chicks are still somewhat insulated from the weather in their nests. I have a pair of great tits and blue tits feeding chicks in bird boxes in my garden. I think they have at least a week before they fledge. When they do, they will be at their most vulnerable to cold weather and particularly rain, so a good forecast is good news. Chicks fledge with fewer feathers (or at least not as well developed) feathers, than adults. They still can rely on feeding from their parents, but only for a couple of weeks, especially early in the season when their parents will desert them soon to start another brood. They need to learn to forage, find shelter and avoid the sparrowhawks: many don’t manage to do this. The highest mortality for small birds happens in the first couple of weeks. Early breeding species like robins, song thrushes and blackbirds have already fledged their first brood chicks. I have noticed an increase in song thrush song the last few days which suggests to me that their chicks probably didn’t survive too well these last couple of weeks and they are already renesting. The later season nesters – the swifts and the corn buntings – have been treading water but they should now be speeding up. Fingers crossed that the good weather does materialize.

Song thrush and newly fledged chick – some chicks have fledged already, but the starlings, tits and buntings will start fledging chicks in the next couple of weeks (JA)

Posted May 26, 2021 by wildcrail in Sightings

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