Author Topic: The hut  (Read 5322 times)

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Online ideasguy

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The hut
« on: May 13, 2009, 11:23:15 AM »
In my young days, I used to build hideaway huts by sticking branches in the ground and covering them with rushes and grass. Hours upon hours of fun.
They were great for peeping out at the wildlife.

I had grown quite a number of Hornbeam (Carpinus betulus) from seed (Chiltern Seeds) and after planting a hedge had surplus.
I decided to build a hideaway hut for my first grandchild and the children who visit.
I had a large open area (I dearly wish it was like that again now ) and in the centre of this large bed I planted the hornbeam in the shape of a hut.
It?s a U shape. (Plan to follow.)
It took a few years to grow, but it has proved very popular with the kids.
It now stands 7ft tall. Inside there?s 6ft headroom (so the big children can get inside)

Its been a shop, a secret hideaway and a play house.
My first grandson once decided to make a feature within the feature. His aunt helped him to scoop out a pond, line it with a plastic bag, fill with water, and put plants in pots around the edge. When I arrived home from work I was led out to see the result. He was very proud of his construction.

I was shearing the foliage at the weekend and when I was working my way around the inside I spotted ? a birds nest! I was delighted.
It was almost at the roof of the hut, so I had to stand on a stool to peep inside.
No eggs.
I thought I?d missed the delights of charting the process of hatching and rearing the fledglings.
On Monday evening I had a peep into the hut and to my delight, a bird was on the nest! I think it?s a thrush.

Yesterday, I told James (my second grandson ? 3years old) to be very quiet and brought him into the hut, but the bird was not on the nest.
So, I lifted him up to have a look inside and ? yippee ? we had one egg!
I brought out a mirror to hold it up to have a reflected look inside and it?s a blue egg.

Very excited that the bird should choose the hut for raising its family, and it will be very exciting to monitor the progress!


NightHawk

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Re: The hut
« Reply #1 on: May 13, 2009, 11:58:45 AM »
Nice one there George.  You've not only created an environmentally friendly structure as a play-house, but it's now encouraged wildlife to move in.

I'm a bit sceptical about the original intention of this hut though - for the children to play in - hah!  You know you had reverted back to your own childhood and it was really for you to play in.  :D (Especially having a six-foot headroom  ::) ).

We will follow with interest your nesting bird though.

Laurie.

Online ideasguy

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Re: The hut
« Reply #2 on: June 03, 2009, 03:52:43 PM »
Bad news, I'm afraid.
Over the weekend, the thrush was on the nest.
Yesterday evening, I peeped in for a checkup, and the nest was destroyed.
I'm really disappointed :'(
What would do that?
Its a private garden, so it wasn't a human.
If it were a bird, would it destroy the nest?
I'm thinking a cat, or another creature which has climbed the Hornbeam plant, but that would also be difficult as it has lots of "projections"
A rat?  :o :o
My original discovery of the first egg was May 13, so its too soon for the eggs to have hatched and the fledglings flown the nest.
How long does it take thrush eggs to hatch?

A week after discovering the thrushes nest, we spotted a blackbird building in the pyracantha which I keep fairly closely clipped to an outdoor building.
We spotted it last night returning to the nest. Lets hope it has better luck.


NightHawk

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Re: The hut
« Reply #3 on: June 03, 2009, 05:38:29 PM »
Very bad news indeed George, and distressing for you as they were turning out to be your 'extended family'.

Magpies are notorious for predating other birds' eggs, but you say that there are a lot of projections in the plant and probably difficult for birds to get in.  A likely suspect but not knowing the actual structure of the Hornbeam it's difficult to rule out another bird completely.  However, I don't think they would destroy the nest.  They would just take the eggs and fly away.

Cat, rat or other climbing creature?  Another possibility, as they would cause damage to the nest whilst trying to get at the eggs.
You would need to do a bit of a vigil or ask around your neighbours to see if they have seen anything prowling about recently.

You thought the bird was a Thrush and you had seen one blue egg previously.
The Song Thrush nests in shady places in a bush or tree and is the usual location for the nest, which will be built by the female. The nest is cup shaped and constructed from grass, twigs, and earth. The lining is very smooth and typically comprises mud or dung mixed with saliva.  The smooth, glossy bright blue eggs are spotted with black, and approximately 27 mm by 21 mm. The female incubates the eggs by herself. After the young hatch, they are fed by both parents.

Breeding starts between March and June, has between 2 to 4 clutches with 3 to 9 eggs each clutch.  The incubation is between 11 to 15 days and fledging is between 12 to 16 days.

It's most unlikely that you bird will return to this bush again having suffered an attack on its nest, which is a real shame.  :(

Laurie.

Offline roiphil

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Re: The hut
« Reply #4 on: June 03, 2009, 07:59:22 PM »
Real shame about the bird nest, When i saw The Hut i immediately hought pizza  ;D

Online ideasguy

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Re: The hut
« Reply #5 on: June 03, 2009, 11:42:41 PM »
Thanks for the detailed info, Laurie - very much appreciated.
I had a more thorough check in the hut this evening, and found the nest. I dont know how I missed it last night.
It was pretty much intact, but lying on the ground.
The materials and the lining fits the description you gave. From the incubation date you give, they may have hatched.
From my first posting, that first egg was layed on 12th May. 11 days (min) takes that to 23rd for little chicks. If it then takes 12 days, it was not long enough for them to have grown sufficiently to fly the nest though, I fear.
There was droppings in the nest, so it looks like there were fledglings.

We do have a cat which sneaks in from time to time (my dog goes frantic so it gets a chase, but still comes back!)

Today, my wife spotted a thrush flying into a thicket of Clematis montana growing through one of our apple trees, further up the garden. It was carrying nesting material!


Online ideasguy

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Re: The hut
« Reply #6 on: June 15, 2009, 09:59:41 AM »
One week after discovering the Thrushes nest, we realised a Blackbird was building in the Pyracantha, trained up the side of a Shed.

That Pyracantha has orange berries. For this past number of years Ive noticed a blackbird taking the berries during Christmas week. The fruit is untouched up to that point. It must have decided that plant is a good home as well as a good food source!

The good news is that the blackbird is having more luck than the thrush. Its almost impossible to see the nest and those thorns are discouraging enough to keep me from getting curious.
For this past week, its been carrying food to its babies. It flits around the garden all day picking up food. We've had a shower or two over the weekend and that seems to bring its quarry to the surface- judging by the amount of grubs and worms in its beak on each return trip.
Just before dark last night we had a little confrontation. There it was as on the patio (just below its nest) as I walked past to the greenhouse. I stopped abruptly as soon as I spotted it and we stared at each other. I made the first move and walked past. It didn't fly away!

Now the problem. Its nest is just above the spot where our big doggie lazes during the day. I'm petrified as to what is going to happen when those little fledglings make their maiden flight! I hope they don't crash land  :o

NightHawk

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Re: The hut
« Reply #7 on: June 15, 2009, 10:13:48 AM »
That's great news about your new Blackbird 'enhanced' family George.

Once they've all left the nest, the brood is split between the two adults, with the male generally caring for his group longer than the female, which may leave them to begin another brood.

They can have a clutch of 3-5 eggs each time and there may be two or three broods in a season.

So once this lot have fledged George, you could still get some more.  :D

You'll probably need to keep an eye out for that, and restrict your doggie's activities around the nest. (Probably easier said than done though.)

Good luck with that.  ;D

Laurie.

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Re: The hut
« Reply #8 on: June 15, 2009, 10:31:07 AM »
Ive only noticed the female so far, with the brownish colouring. The male is black:
http://www.garden-birds.co.uk/birds/blackbird.htm
I hope that hawk didn't take it!
We plan to invite our dog into the house as much as possible until the fledglings escape!
Hes notorious for attacking fledglings - all part of his nature, unfortunately.