This year we had four new sites. We also increased the number of nestboxes to 8 at many sites, which takes the total up to 334.
The first egg was on April 10th, making this our earliest year yet. A very noticeable pattern was that the egg laying was a fair bit earlier in the south than the north, which marks a reverse of trends we’ve seen in previous years. Trees also seemed to be a bit slower to come into leaf in the north this year. You may also be able to pick out a trend for later breeding as elevation increases and this is a pattern that we see every year and which must be associated with temperature.
The breeding season began quite well with the earliest sites fledging quite a few young. However, a spell of really foul weather around June 6th led to quite a lot of nest failure – due to heavy rains preventing the adults from foraging.
Across the entire transect 949 blue tit young were fledged.
By ringing the nestlings and adults we’re learning quite a bit about their movements. Very often we find it’s the same pair at a nest in each year. We’ve also found cases of birds moving between sites – sometimes up to 15 miles away from where they hatched.
We’ve had a great field season and are looking forward to analysing all the data we’ve collected!
Disclaimer: All blue tit adults and young were handled by licensed individuals with the appropriate permits.