NLRG was formed in 1957 to help in the study of birds in the Lancaster and District Birdwatching Society area. There are currently 12 active ringers. Species currently being studied include: Pied Flycatcher, Bearded Tit, Sand Martin, Twite, Goosander, Oystercatcher and Grey Wagtail. Migration has been studied for 28 years at Heysham. We welcome anyone who wants to observe, help or perhaps wish to become a ringer. Photo: A Heysham-ringed Twite on the Mull of Kintyre (thanks to Eddie Maguire)

Saturday, 11 June 2011

Pied Flycatcher on autopilot?

Whilst checking nest boxes/utilising the energy provided by a piece of Bakewell tart/walking off the fat-store remnants of a triple-headed cone from Mr Whirl at Hartlepool headland, I approached Box 56 along the stream below Thrushgill clearfell

This seemed to be a clear cut case of empty box, flattened heavily soiled nest, no sign of any birds in the vicinity - typical of a Pied Flycatcher brood which would have left about 5 days ago. The nest was thrown out and the box cleaned. As soon as this was done, a/the male Pied Flycatcher suddenly appeared, making a racket and wing-flicking - the usual anxiety behaviour around an occupied nest

Furthermore it then followed me for a good 70m to Box 57 where an ex-Great Tit nest was similarly removed. During this process, the PF "defended" this box as though it was its own, calling,wing-flicking and approaching within about 2 metres

I moved on further up the river and it immediately lost interest. All previous alarm-calling had been limited to examination of/proximity to Box 56 with no prior example of being followed so far upstream to the vicinity of Box 57

Two pristine boxes if it wants to commandeer the/a female for a second brood!
Or is this just 'autopilot' behaviour?


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