Long-tailed Tit and Blue Tit nesting close together

During May 2013 I have spent time each morning and afternoon sitting in the doorway of my shed looking at a wall of my house. It's an interesting wall with one window in the lower part which has a clematis growing up the left hand side and a pyracantha on the right hand side. At the start of the month the clematis was almost bare of foliage, and it had just been pruned. The pyracantha had a nest box fastened to the wall behind it. No birds had nested in it for a few years. The two nests were about 3 metres apart and about 4 metres above ground level.

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In the first few days of the month I began to notice Long-tailed Tits (right) were taking an interest in it. They began to fly in with nesting material and I was delighted to realise that they were building a nest. Shortly after I became aware of activity around the pyracantha and at long last the Blue Tits (left) looked as if they might use the nest box.

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By the middle of the month activity was growing every day and I could see the Long-tailed Tits carrying insects and caterpillars into the nest in the clematis. The Blue Tits were also clearly feeding chicks in the nest box. The clematis had plenty of foliage and was coming into flower.

Feeding the Long-tailed Tit chicks was obviously a very demanding activity and the parents were flying to replenish their energy by feeding on suet balls in a nearby feeder (below).

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By 25th May the Long-tailed Tit chicks had obviously fledged and activity around the clematis finished.

This morning (28th May) the Blue Tit parents were still very busy and they also were taking food from the suet balls. I don't think it will be long now until their chicks fledge and fly away. I hope they come back next year but I understand that Long-tailed Tits are unlikely to use the same nest again.

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