Nature > Barford bird box


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Last updated 29th May 2006

The good news is... our family of great tits all successfully left their Barford nest box on Friday 26th May 2006, but not without a little drama at the end! Follow their story.....

A single bird started roosting in the box every night from the end of February onwards. In this video (28th February) you see the bird arrive in the box at dusk.
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By April 3rd, the first nesting material was being brought into the box.
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And by April 9th, a comfortable nest was taking shape.
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By the middle of April, seven eggs have been laid. Unfortunately, the eggs are in a corner of the birdbox, so we can only see part of the nest. In this video, taken on the 25th April, both parent birds can be seen, as well as a brief view of the eggs.
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With an incubation period of 12 to 15 days, the first chicks have arrived early in May. In this video, taken on 7th May, the male bird arrives and passes food to the female. Both parents then feed the chicks. The male leaves and the female settles down on the nest again. We believe that there is at least one egg still to hatch, but they are difficult to count with the eggs in the corner of the nestbox.
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By May 13th, the chicks have grown noticeably. A parent arrives and feeds the hungry chicks.
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It's a long day for a parent great tit. At 7:00am on May 19th, the chicks are waiting patiently to be fed. They have grown in the last week and are jostling for space in the nest. Great excitement when the parent arrives with food, and shares it around!
Click for video (2.0Mb)...

Friday 26th May, and at 10:00am there is great excitement in the nest box. The fledgling birds are testing their wings, fluffing their feathers and getting ready to explore the big world outside. One by one they flap up to the entrance hole. In a short period of time, by 10:10am all but one of the young birds have left the nest box and, after a short rest on a tree branch, have flown off strongly
Click for video (18.0Mb) ....

The single remaining youngster is very reluctant to leave. The parents return only occasionally to feed their offspring - leaving him/ her alone for over an hour at one point. Human onlookers were getting worried! There is a great deal of fluffing of feathers, stretching of wings and some plaintive cheeps.
Click for video (4.3Mb)....

In fact it is a whole three hours after all the other birds have left, just past 1:00pm, that a parent bird returns one more time with food and the last fledgling is persuaded to leave for the outside world. With a final tidy up, the parent bird departs. After over a month of sometimes hectic activity, the Barford nest box is empty once more.
Click for video (875k)....

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The equipment :
Pinhole Night Vision Kit (PAK-008K)
4 channel DVR PCI Card & Software (PAK-DVRBNC)
Supplied by Pakatak who were very helpful with advice.

The kit includes camera, receiver and antenna.
The camera has four infra-red LEDs built in, which allow filming inside the box.

The digital video recorder (DVR) card is internally mounted in a free slot in a Dell desktop computer.

The set up :
The nesting box is positioned in a beech tree, about ten feet from the ground. Great tits have successfully nested here for the previous three years.

The camera is mains powered via a transformer, although it will work from a 9v battery. The camera was positioned inside the nesting box, with cable and antenna run out through a small hole in the top which was then made watertight with tape.

The camera transmits a wireless signal back to the receiver, which is taped inside a window in the house. The receiver is connected to the DVR card in the Dell computer.

Software supplied with the DVR card allows video to be viewed in real time, and recorded. Video files (AVI format) are copied into Windows Movie Maker, edited and saved in WMV format.

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  Barford birdbox

Video on this website is in WMV format.

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