OK. It looks like I’m going to have to wait until Autumn to replace the camera. We were back online for about a week, then the camera stopped streaming properly. It appears to be broken, though I can see it on the local network. However, I will be able to produce clips from my recorded files.
In the meantime, we have chicks! All of the eggs have hatched.
The resident bird damaged the aerial on the original WiFi camera while roosting in there over the winter (she’d actually torn it off). So rather than risk that again I decide to go for a fully wired system, and that took a little time to install. It would probably have been quicker if I’d have got off my backside and done it, instead of just thinking about doing it, but what the hey.
In the end I was lucky. I put the new camera in precisely one week before we noticed a lot of twigs under the box. It took another several weeks for me to get round to running cables and drilling holes in the shed and garage, and finally draping cables I have yet to fix properly.
Watch this space (and the updates below).
30 March – Early this morning she deposited her first egg. Apparently, they lay one egg a day (more or less) for about two weeks up to around 10-12 eggs, then start to incubate them. While they are laying, they spend all day outside eating because each egg takes a lot of energy to produce (it weighs about 20% of the parent), then roost with it at night. The eggs remain viable unless they freeze.
31 March – A second egg laid. She comes in to roost around 6pm-ish each night. The male must be sleeping somewhere else.
1 April – Now, a third egg.
2 April – Four eggs. Bear with me while I sort out the stream above. I can see everything on my home network, but I was fiddling and have broken something in the software!
3 April – A fifth. And she came back in at about 8am and covered them all up, which suggests that might be the last one.
4 April – No. Now we have a sixth. She is visiting the box more frequently during the day.
5 April – Now, a seventh egg. She’s been in and out all day with fluffy stuff to create the nest bed.
6 April – We have an eighth egg. She is has been incubating them, so I guess that one was the last.
7 April – No. One more. We have nine eggs now.
8 April – She’s now incubating them and the male has been in for the first time to ‘feed’ her. He’s not very good at it yet.
9-13 April – Not a lot of drama right now. The male only came in that one time, and I am assuming (from what I have read) that his work begins properly when the chicks hatch. The female spends over 80% of her time on the eggs, going out occasionally for a short while presumably to feed. She turns them over frequently during the day.
I have a mealworm feeder on order which I will put up away from the nest box to try and help her.
14-19 April – I’m expecting the eggs to start hatching anytime now. She pops out for a few minutes to feed – and she is using the mealworm feeder I set up on the tree about 5m away from the box – and then comes in to incubate. Periodically, she turns the eggs.
21 April – At around 3.20pm the eggs started to hatch.
22 April – And I was able to confirm that at the moment we have nine chicks, so all the eggs hatched.
Incidentally, I always wondered where the egg shells went after birds hatch. The mother eats them immediately (certainly in the case of Great Tits, anyway). And the male is now coming in regularly with grubs and caterpillars. He feeds the chicks himself sometimes, though he also passes food to the female and she feeds them.
29 April – I wondered what happens to the poop the chicks produce. Given that the they’re being fed huge grubs and insects throughout the day, there must be a lot of it. This is why there is a a clean nest, and it is fascinating to watch.