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Girl power! Female bird builds colossal nest

[Friday 28 May 2010]

A female Great Tit has built what appears to be the biggest nest ever made by this species. The monster nest, constructed inside a revolving compost maker, is four and a half times larger than a normal Great Tit nest.

Female Great Tits build their nests alone, usually in a nest box or in a cavity of a tree. However, in Draycott, Gloucestershire, one female had different plans, pushing herself to the limit to set up home in a compost maker. This large cavity has been filled with clump after clump of moss and wool to make the most palatial pad in the neighbourhood.

Across the UK, hundreds of thousands of birds are currently building nests, incubating eggs and rearing their young. In gardens, householders are keeping a close eye on nesting birds, such as Great Tits, through the British Trust for Ornithology’s (BTO’s) Garden Nesting Survey. Spring started slowly after the unusually cold winter but nests are now brimming with eggs and young, and the first few fledglings are also starting to appear.

Dr Tim Harrison, BTO Garden BirdWatch, commented “Great Tits are resourceful birds that are quick to explore novel feeding and nesting opportunities. Amazingly, after constructing an enormous nest, this female Great Tit went on to lay eight eggs – around three quarters of her body weight!”

He added “If you have a nest in your garden, great or small, we want to hear about it through the BTO’s Garden Nesting Survey. A free colour wallchart of nests and eggs is available to help people get involved. With human population size and urbanisation ever increasing, the importance of gardens to breeding birds is essential to understand.”

For your free wallchart and survey pack, please call the BTO on 01842–750050, email nestingneighbours@bto.org or write to:

Garden Nesting Survey
The Nunnery
IP24 2PU.

Alternatively, visit www.bto.org/gns for more information.

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