This month’s regular post from outdoors mummy blogger, Leila Balin is all about nest spotting…..
This year we have been very lucky indeed. We discovered a family of blue tits and a family of great tits nesting in one of our apple trees. Little Man was the one to spot the great tit flitting backwards and forwards and once we explained to him what the ‘birdie’ was doing he was very excited. Every time one of the parents came to feed the chicks you could hear them screeching for food and Little Man would ask to go and listen to them. We chose to keep our distance as much as possible so as not to disturb the adults so with a close watch on the hole we would pop over and have a listen every time Mum or Dad would leave the nest.
We later spotted that a family of blue tits were using the same tree but a different hole further up. We weren’t able to hear their little ones but now Little Man knew what was going on he was still fascinated to watch. Every time we would go out in the garden or head down the driveway he would point to the tree and babble about the chicks that live there.
They successfully fledged a couple of days ago and now that they have gone we have been able to get up close and take a look at the nest. Being in a hole in the tree it is tricky to get a good look but it is obviously a great spot for avoiding predators. We managed to shine a torch in there to see the nest itself and it looks like they had used moss lined with some sort of white fluff, possibly hair or tumble drier fluff. It was a classic great tit nest and had we not seen the birds we would have been able to identify it by the materials used and the way it had been built.
Getting this close and personal with nesting birds has been such a lovely experience. We’ve been lucky enough to get close without interfering and Little Man has learnt how birds look after their babies. He has developed his language skills in the process and made connections, seeing birds with caterpillars, telling us about their chicks and later relating this back to his little book on garden birds. I’m hoping to make nests in the garden with him this weekend, giving him the opportunity to think about different materials, which ones might be nice and comfy or good and strong. I wonder what sort of nest he will end up making, or if, as is his way, he will be far more interested in exploring than creating. We have spotted some wrens nesting in our honeysuckle so he might just choose to sit and watch them in wonder. We will have to wait and see.
Have you had birds nesting in your garden this year? Have your kiddies been watching with anticipation?
Leila writes a personal, nature inspired blog at Mud Marvellous Mud. She is passionate about connecting children to nature and writes about her son’s experiences as they explore together. She is trained to Forest Schools and Beach Schools level 3 and is currently studying for an Open University Open Degree.