Good season for Long-tailed Tits

Despite the necessary restrictions on travel, I was able to keep tabs on the progress of five Long-tailed Tit nests during the spring (all on or adjacent to private land to which I had access). Remarkably, all five appear to have been successful – young hatched in all, when last visited were close to fledging, and all five nests were still intact a few days later (nests attacked by a predator are usually torn to pieces). Normally this species has a very high nest failure rate (around 80-90%), e.g. of 20 nests I monitored in another county last year, at least 15 failed – a dozen of them due to predation. Even though a small sample size from a highly localised area (all the nests were within 2 km), it suggests an outstanding season for the species – an impression reinforced by the family parties in evidence elsewhere (e.g. a flock of 14 at Nelson on Thursday 4/6).

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