Year 2001

In year 2001 the box was not yet connected to the internet. In June and July of that year, a couple of great tits nested in the box. Nine eggs were laid, seven of which hatched. Out of those seven, only two young birds survived to live outside the box.

Towards the end of the birds’ nesting, something unusual happened- some other birds carried food into the box! They helped feed the chicks until they left the box. I believe the birds were garden warblers. On the ground below the box, I found a broken nest as well as several eggs still intact. (Shown in the picture below. The diameter of the coin is 16 mm)

I read in a book that the garden warbler is very careless in making its nest, and it is not unusual for the nest to break and fall down all on its own. I believe this was the case with the nest that I found. Despite their broken nest, the garden warbler couple was still in the "nesting mode." Therefore, when they found the great tit family only about two meters above, they helped them.

Overall, the great tits welcomed the garden warblers’ help. The only disagreement was over the birds’ bed time; the garden warblers continued to feed the chicks well into the evening, when the great tit mother was already asleep with her chicks.

The garden warblers continued to help the great tits until they left the box. I don't know what happened after that.

Video clips.

The clips are in WMV-format (Windows Media Video format). You can view them with Windows Media Player. You can open the videos by clicking on the link. If this doesn't work, try to download the file on your hard drive, then open it.

Building the nest seems to be a completely random process. The bird simply throws the materials aimlessly about the box.

Video: 98 kb, 15 sec, 240 x 176

Building the nest.

Video: 246 kb, 19 sec, 320 x 240

Now there are nine eggs in the nest. The great tit female sits on them for about three weeks while the male guards the nest.

Video: 360 kb, 56 sec, 240 x 176

The male feeds the female while she incubates. Occasionally the female leaves the nest. Sometimes she is gone for a surprisingly long time.

Video: 154 kb, 24 sec, 240 x 176

Recently-hatched chicks are very tiny. Here you can see them among unhatched eggs.

Video: 264 kb, 36 sec, 240 x 176

The female carefully cleans the nest. Here she eats the shell of a hatched egg.

Video: 196 kb, 30 sec, 240 x 176

The chicks grow rapidly. Here the male feeds them...

Video: 265 kb, 21 sec, 320 x 240

..and here the female. As you can see, the male and female both have their own way of doing this.

Video: 236 kb, 21 sec, 320 x 240

Food comes in, and excrement goes out. It comes in a sort of wrapper, so it is easy to carry out of the box. Here only three chicks remain.

Video: 126 kb, 19 sec, 240 x 176

Sometimes both the male and female are in the box at the same time.

Video: 187 kb, 29 sec, 240 x 176

Only two chicks remain. Both of them survived. Here is some kind of flight training. It is probably not a very good place to do that...

Video: 231 kb, 36 sec, 240 x 176

Here a stranger feeds the chicks. It is probably a garden warbler whose own nest and eggs are destroyed.

Video: 173 kb, 13 sec, 320 x 240

Here is the assistant again. This time it also feeds the great tit mother!

Video: 256 kb, 20 sec, 320 x 240

Here is an example of the garden warbler visiting the box after the great tits are already asleep. The mother is a slightly angry about this.

Shortly thereafter, the birds left the box.

Video: 165 kb, 13 sec, 320 x 240