Can you beat a blue tit bullet hole nest?
WHEN the RSPB sent me a press release about unusual nest sites, including that of the robin rearing young under the bonnet of a car, and the firecrest in the Eiffel Tower, which had been using the hair from the wax model of the construction engineer who built the tower as nesting material, I thought to myself, ‘pretty good’, but I bet some of my readers can beat those, and they did.
So here’s your chance to impress, can you beat any of the following?
Take this from a regular reader, Pam: “I thought you’d like these pictures of moorhen nesting in a wheelbarrow near the centre of Glossop, and a robin nesting under the planing machine of my husband’s workshop.”
I did indeed, and if ever there was a good excuse to leave off the DIY, that must be it.
Likewise for Bill Tiny, who forwarded a picture of a robin’s nest in his gardening jacket pocket.
At the time, I advised Bill to leave the lawn to grow and put his feet up for a few weeks while the youngsters hatched and fledged.
Two other favourites, were the images of a beautiful golden-eye duck, sitting by the side of the Manchester Ship Canal.
This small duck should have been north of the border, nesting in holes in trees.
And secondly, perhaps the ultimate in rare nest sites, which should perhaps be titled, Make Love, Not War.
“Blue tit nests in hole in wall – nothing unusual about that you might say,” said a Manchester reader, “Until that is, I tell you that the hole was created by a bullet from a Kalashnikov AK47 assault rifle. A few years ago someone sprayed the front of an old derelict building at Elton Reservoir with gun shot, leaving several holes, police having found spent shells which identified the rifle.
“My wife and I were passing one Friday night, and we watched as a pair of blue tits flew in and out of a bullet hole, carrying food for young.
“The bullet must have created some sort of cavity inside the wall – perfect for a nest. Been past this weekend and blue tits have occupied the bullet hole once again.”
I thought that was a pretty good sighting, but then he followed it up a week later, with a sighting of a mallard 10ft up a tree, on her nest, in a hole.
Ironically, that is what the aforementioned golden-eye should have been doing.
The ball is in your court now, or should I say, it is your turn to feather your own nest with a selection of unusual nest site reports.
In the meantime, this year’s best yet, was the report of a ground-nesting tawny owl in Derbyshire.
Local birder Mike Price, of Hadfield, told me that he had a seen a tawny fly up from the ground while out recording – Mike that is, not the owl.
He thought perhaps the bird was on a kill, or attempting a kill, and did not investigate further.
However, when passing the same place a couple of days later, he luckily checked it out and discovered three tawny owl eggs.
While not a famous first, it doesn’t happen very often, and is most likely linked to lack of suitable nesting holes in trees within the owl’s territory.
As for my own most unusual nest site, it involved a pair of enterprising blue tits in a farm building at Woodhead, some 30 years ago, unfortunately I cannot explain where they chose in a family newspaper.
You’ll need to visit www.laughingbadger gallery.com to find out.
●● Ground nesting tawny owl site
The Laughing Badger Gallery, 99 Platt Street, Padfield, Glossop