Sharing the excitement of having Blue Tits nesting in our garden!

Watching wildlife is my favourite way to spend time.  I just adore watching bees, butterflies, and birds – I find it both wonderfully relaxing and supremely uplifting.  My life is very busy, but I find that after spending just five minutes watching wildlife I feel rejuvenated.  Our garden is pretty tiny, but I do all I can to attract as many forms of wildlife as possible to this little patch of earth.

We set up our wildlife pond to create a habitat for newts, dragonflies, damselflies, and provide a place for birds to bathe and drink.  Fairly often, as I’m heading over to the pond I’ll notice a bird fly out from this area as I approach; I usually only see the bird in flight for a moment as it propels itself up and over our fence at lightening speed, but more often than not I will feel almost certain that I’d disturbed a female blackbird.  The birds don’t hang around when I’m in the garden, which was why I felt pretty excited when I managed to take these pictures of a Blue Tit bathing in our wildlife pond!

A water feature provides birds with a valuable source of water for drinking and bathing. I was so happy to see this Blue Tit making good use of my wildlife pond.

We have a pair of Blue Tits that we often see on our bird feeders.  I’ve named these Blue Tits, ‘Ken’ and ‘Brenda’, after two of my favourite people – Ken and Brenda Bowie.  I’ve honoured my friends in this way because I have so many happy memories of spending time with Ken and Brenda in their kitchen and conservatory, watching their resident Blue Tits come and go from the nest box in their garden.  I think of Ken and Brenda whenever I see a Blue Tit, so naming our Blue Tits in Ken and Brenda’s honour felt very fitting.

Brenda the Blue Tit had a great time bathing in our wildlife pond!

To help the birds that visit our garden, we have a bird feeding station with various bird food on offer, including Cotswold Granaries Sunflower Hearts and Cotswold Granaries Bird Food; Cotswold Granaries sent me these products to try and I’m sure the birds in my garden are very grateful!  I have a small, specially designed Niger feeder, which I fill with tiny black Niger seeds; these are especially popular with Goldfinches.  I find that coconut halves filled with a suet seed mix and suet blocks, made from a mixture of suet and seeds are very popular with the Blue Tits and with all the birds that visit our garden.

The weather has been crazy this month!  We’ve experienced vast amounts of rain, goodness knows how many hailstorms and even some thunder and lightening.  This May, I’ve watched the largest hailstones I’ve ever seen in my life, battering the plants in my garden time and time again!  The wet weather will be leaving our bird food soaked, which will make it more liable to rot and become mouldy in a shorter period of time than usual.  I’ll be keeping a close eye on our bird feeders, if they look as if the seeds have started to degrade, I will dispose of the bird food and clean out my bird feeders.  After washing, I tend to leave the feeders to dry out thoroughly for at least a day before I use them again.  I don’t fill my bird feeders up to the top, as I don’t want to waste food, which can happen if we have inclement weather and the seeds become wet.  I try to set my feeders up so they empty on rotation, one after the other – this way I always have bird feeders that are in use and others being cleaned or drying.

Brenda the Blue Tit pictured bathing in our wildlife pond.

A pond is so beneficial for wildlife, but If you don’t want to install a pond in your garden, a bird bath will help.  You don’t have to get anything expensive or fancy – a clean, shallow bowl of water placed on the ground will give your garden birds drinking water and a place to bathe; it will also help hedgehogs, too.  Make sure you clean your bird bath regularly; then rinse it out and fill up with fresh water.

I find it so relaxing and uplifting to watch birds bathing in our pond. I’ve never seen a rare bird in our garden – the birds I usually spot are Blue Tits, Blackbirds, and Robins. Often, a bird will fly out of the pond or from the ivy as I approach.

I don’t use any pesticides or insecticides in my garden.  I won’t use slug pellets or any kind of slug deterrent (apart from if I’m running a Trial – see my Slug and Snail Trial here).  I positively welcome aphids, caterpillars, slugs and snails into my garden.  I truly enjoy watching insects and look out for them in my garden.  I get just as much pleasure from spotting insects as I do from looking at my plants – the two compliment each other perfectly.

It was wonderful to watch this Blue Tit (Cyanistes caeruleus) bathing in my wildlife pond.

Blue Tits are wonderful pest controllers, they peck off aphids, caterpillars, and other insects.  Many gardeners use sprays to kill insects, but I’d advise against using any pesticides or insecticides; instead I advise gardeners to encourage birds, frogs, toads, hedgehogs, and wildlife into their gardens.  If your garden is free from aphids then you won’t attract ladybirds, and any ladybirds in your garden will struggle to survive, as many of these fascinating beetles predate upon aphids.

Lots of birds bathe in our wildlife pond, but rarely do I manage to get a photo. This Blue Tit is nesting in our garden at the moment – which is very exciting!

My garden isn’t home to any rare birds, but I get so much pleasure from watching Blue Tits, Blackbirds, Coal Tits, Great Tits, Long-Tailed Tits, and the other birds I observe in my garden.

I often see Blue Tits feasting on aphids and caterpillars on my garden roses – they move very quickly, so it’s not easy to get a photo!

We’ve been hoping to attract a pair of Blue Tits to nest in our garden for some time; we set up a nest box a year ago.  So, this month, we were absolutely thrilled to discover that Ken and Brenda Blue Tit are currently nesting in this box!  I felt a surge of happiness as I looked over and saw Ken Blue Tit fly out of the nest box and then return a few minutes later with a caterpillar in his beak.

I don’t have a camera in my nest box, so I have no idea how many eggs were laid and I don’t know how many chicks have hatched. I often see a Blue Tit flying back to the nest box with insects.

We’ve seen Ken and Brenda Blue Tit taking caterpillars, spiders, flies, and other insects into their nest box.

Here’s another photo of one of the Blue Tit parents coming back home to the nest box with a freshly caught insect.

Here’s a film of Ken and Brenda Blue Tit in my garden.  The sound of running water that you can hear in the video is the waterfall in my wildlife pond.

We’ve not seen any baby Blue Tits yet.  I don’t have a camera inside the nest box, so we have no idea how many eggs the Blue Tits have laid and I can only guess how many chicks have hatched.  I am trying not to intrude on their territory, so if we hear the Blue Tits cheeping or we feel that we might be causing the birds any stress or anxiety we leave the garden and go indoors.

To see an update from my wildlife pond in early summertime, please click here.

Other articles that may interest you……………..

For lots of gardening advice for June, please click here.

To see the spring update from my wildlife pond, please click here.

To see my vegetable plant pages, please click here.

For more articles about gardening for wildlife, please click here.

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