Last weekend, I noticed a couple of female blackbirds collecting nesting materials and then disappearing in various directions with beaks full of grass and bits. Standing in the garden, I tried to see where they were going and hoped one would choose to nest within cabling distance of the house! One female seemed to be going into the holly which is part of the large hedge that borders my garden. Last year one female built three nests along this hedge line, in the blackthorn part, and the magpies raided all three. They sat in the field and watched where the blackbirds were going in and out and then just came in for an easy meal. This female tends to enter from the garden side though and I am hoping that, by doing this, she will not draw so much attention to herself.
The holly is pretty dense and despite looking, I could not decide where she was building. Earlier this week I saw her again and, now the nest is bigger, I could see where she was building. The site is very close to clay cavern, so I planned on unplugging that camera and using an extension cable to run from there up to this nest site. This would avoid another cable into the house. I had a spare camera and set it up in the house, estimating the focus after seeing a branch directly above the nest that I could attach the camera to. It is essential to plan the whole thing before going anywhere near the nest, as I don’t want to disturb her at all. I knew it would take me less than a minute to get the camera up if everything was sorted beforehand.
I waited for her to visit the hedge and as I saw her leave, I quickly climbed the ladder and cable tied the camera into place, using a small portable monitor to ensure it was facing the nest correctly. I trimmed one thin twig that obscured the view and then I was out and back inside to check the image.
I have been rewarded today with some super views of this female building all day! It is pretty addictive watching her return, almost every minute for much of the day, with beak full of nesting materials. She then places these in the nest cub and then presses her body into the cup, ‘paddling’ with her legs, pressing the materials outwards. By turning and repeating this procedure, the nest cup forms. I recorded a few clips today for those who missed it and will continue to try to capture clips of this process.
We will have to keep our fingers crossed that she is successful in her bid to raise a family here. Keep an eye out on y live cameras for this nest, my first for 2013!