Avian squabbles. On film.

December 01, 2020  •  Leave a Comment

Last week I briefly wrote about the return to our sparrow/tit camera box of our old (very old now) friend, our winter-roosting male great tit.

By now I would have expected it to have spent a week of nights with us in his customary winter retreat.

Alas no though.

The next morning (26th of November) after our male great tit had spent its first night of the season in its box and returned briefly in the morning after - the box was furiously defended by a female house sparrow (who had, to be fair, been  revisiting and nosing around the box during recent days after actually nesting in it last Spring).

You'll see in the clip above that our male great tit beats a hasty retreat from the box. It actually hasn't been back since.

You'll also note in the clip above that the aggressive defender, the female house sparrow spends a little time fighting off another visitor after she's seen off the male great tit.

At the time I speculated that this bird was probably a male house sparrow (you can hear it if you listen carefully, even if you can't see it in the clip above).

Well... a day later and the female house sparrow again fought and chased off what I'm pretty certain now is a male house sparrow (the thumbnail to the video below on YouTube should confirm that to you if you're at first unconvinced).

In the clip below then, the first bird sitting in the box is a MALE sparrow. He's quickly seen off by an angry female.

No. I have no real idea what is going on here. I could speculate I suppose and suggest that the female sparrow is staking an early claim to her old nest site. She probably wants it to herself for now - certainly no great tits roosting it in over the winter and excitable males (sparrows) can probably take a hike for now too.

All this would indeed be speculation though. (I was of the opinion before last week that it was the MALES that reclaimed territories and nest sites each winter or early spring and it was therefore the MALES that defended the territories and sites and persuaded the females to (re?)join them when ready in Spring. I guess that may be wrong.

We'll keep the camera running - and the DVR recording - and see what happens as the weather gets worse.

Will our male great tit return?

Will the female house sparrow start roosting in the box overnight?

Will a male house sparrow do so instead (like last year)?

Time will tell...



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