It is turning into a most unusual spring for our nest box study areas. I have just looked at the details for the six schemes that I run and this has been the most extended start to the season I can remember. For tits Warton Crag is typical. A visit yesterday revealed a brood of five Great Tits over half grown and starting to get their wing feathers while two other nests had incomplete clutches.
A visit today to my Roeburndale scheme at a higher altitude revealed that the first Great Tits had yet to hatch and some were just starting laying. Pied Flycatchers were present in good numbers with at least nine males singing and visiting nest boxes. However there were only five nests all partially completed. By this time last year two pairs were incubating and almost all the others had incomplete clutches.
One assumes that the warm weather in late March got the early birds started then the cold unseasonable weather since has inhibited them.Will the cold weather mean a shortage of food when the young hatch? The Warton Crag Great Tit brood suggests that they are fine at the moment for they were well fed.