An Empty Nest

I’ve got some bad news I’m afraid.

On Wednesday, we  had seven chicks in the nest. They seemed very active, cheeping loudly and were obviously very hungry! Some were bigger than others, and the smaller chicks were getting squashed under their larger siblings. So I  was disappointed , but unsurprised when we came down to only 4 chicks in the nest on the Thursday morning.  The weird thing was that 4 of the smaller chicks remained, not the bigger, more vigorous ones.

The parents were still feeding the remaining chicks, although the chicks didn’t seem to be grabbing the food like before. Sometimes the parents had to try 3 or 4 times before one of chicks would actually take what was being offered.

Yesterday we were down to three chicks. It was cold and windy here and the mother seemed to struggle with keeping them warm and feeding them. Their chirps were very quiet and they didn’t seem that enthusiastic about food.

Then this morning we came down to this.

Empty blue tit nest

No babies. No mum or dad  tit. The kids are devastated and I will admit to having shed a tear or two.

What happened? I guess we’ll never know.

Our nesting box has a tit plate on it, a metal plate around the entrance hole that restricts the size of the birds that can enter it, so we are pretty sure  they weren’t all killed by a larger bird or other predator. The nest doesn’t look like it has been disturbed either.

None of the chicks looked all that well yesterday, so maybe they succumbed to some horrid virus? Or maybe just died from cold and starvation and the parents removed the bodies this morning.

Google has also thrown up another possibility; perhaps it was another blue tit who killed the chicks?  Horrid as it sounds, apparently this does happen sometimes.

We’ve also been dealing with another birdie crisis today. Our robin babies, who have been nesting in our sunroom, decided to fly the nest today. And The Puppy got one of them.

baby robin

As far as I could tell, it wasn’t physically hurt but it was shocked and died shortly after.

Cue more tears from the kids. Especially DD1 who apparently now hates The Puppy for killing the baby robin. And, of course the dog hasn’t really done anything wrong.

I do get some comfort from knowing that as far as the parent birds go, they won’t be grieving the same way as human parents would. They robins will just get on with their lives and  look after their remaining chicks, and the tits will try again next year.

But I can’t help thinking Nature can be pretty cruel sometimes, can’t it?