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Friday, 19 September 2014

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Cumbria blue tit enthusiast films birds

A Cumbria bird enthusiast flocked to record the movements of blue tits after finding dead chicks in his birdhouse.

EM Bluetit fight

The man in charge, who wishes to stay anonymous for the birds’ security, has set up more than £500-worth of equipment, including a new laptop, to film blue tits in a Lindal birdhouse.

His £120-a-year website has transformed birdwatching by featuring a live feed inside the birdhouse to give fans a view of their life.

The video is automatically recorded so that he is able to watch the videos back.

He set up the website after discovering dead chicks inside the hut about four years ago.

He said: “I became interested in what had happened to them.

“I have always enjoyed wildlife, but it’s mainly in the last few years I have looked into it.

“I have a nest behind one of the garages in the back garden.

“I thought, I wonder what actually happened, why hadn’t they grown properly?”

He set up a £45 camera in 2011 to watch the birds and hoped to catch their eggs hatching.

He added: “The camera I had then was much cheaper so it didn’t pick up small movement like the eggs hatching.”

He has since bought a £70 camera which connects to his laptop via a cable through his garden.

He says he has been amazed by the behaviour of birds.

He said: “Last year they made a nest but didn’t lay any eggs.

“But they were sitting on the nest in the same way there would if there were eggs. It was very strange.”

He hopes with his new high-tech equipment he will be able to track their movements continuously, as opposed to the situation now when clips are displayed every five seconds.

He said: “I’m hoping to record it continuously when it gets exciting rather than five-second shots. We have no idea what their lives are like.

“On Wednesday a bee got into the nest and the bird was clearly scared. He was trying to peck at it to get it out, until eventually the bee flew away.

“When a bird has been sleeping in the nest since Christmas and another bird comes in there’s literally a fight. They’re quite territorial.

“They don’t really think about it. It’s just their survival instincts.”

He said each day he watches back that day’s footage, which lasts at least an hour and comprises of 100 clips.

He said: “One year a bird disappeared and never came back so I think he was killed by a cat.

“If I had my choice I would ban cats because they chase birds.

“The cats in the area know they are not welcome and I get the hose out on them if they do.

“I don’t want people to come round and disturb them.

“I can go outside and mow the lawn and they’ll happily come and go. I think they know me now and know it’s safe when I’m there.”

To see the website visit http://lindalbluetits.org.uk/.

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