Spring things by Vince Lea

One of the great wonders of Spring is seeing a long-tailed Tit nest, this is possibly the most elaborate nest of any British bird.

The main body is made of moss, held together with spider webs so it is stretchy when the chicks start to grow. They build it like a rugby ball shape with a small entrance hole at the top! Outside, they stick little fragments of lichen on it, perhaps as camouflage or weather-proofing (I’m not sure).

Inside they make it as cosy as a high TOG duvet, with about 1500 or more feathers, collected up from hedgerows and so on (not their own feathers). This means that the little female bird can incubate her large clutch of maybe a ten or even a dozen eggs! The nest takes about 3 weeks to complete, then they pause until the place they have built it turns green with the leaves opening, then start to lay the eggs. I checked this one, no eggs yet. It will make a nice story for the nest blog I think. You can just make out a pheasant feather poking out the entrance hole. I have found 2 of these on Lark Rise already this spring so we have 2 chances of a successful nesting attempt.
Long-tailed Tit nest

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