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VIEW FROM THE FARM GATE: Home from home for the bluet it chicks.

Byline: eryl JONES

OUR cottage is over 300 years old. It's not very good at things like insulation and such like.

In fact, the outside walls are full of holes, which means I get to share my house with a lot of the local wildlife. At one end is an old baker's oven whose capacious chimney provides an ideal roost for bats. The various nooks and crannies make perfect nest sights for wrens, robins, wagtails, tits and an assortment of other birds.

Bluetits can be prodigious breeders and on occasion they have as many as a dozen chicks in one brood. One such productive pair nested in a gable end wall, but their fecundity was to return to haunt them. All was well when the chicks were newly hatched, but on a protein- packed diet of fat caterpillars and other tasty morsels, they grew at an alarming rate. They very soon filled the cavity in the wall and the inevitable happened. . . out they tumbled. Now I'm not a person who works every hour God sends, but I do have better things to do than stuffing bluet it chicks back into their nest every five minutes.

So in best Valerie Singleton tradition, I took a Stanley knife, a large plastic milk carton, a few screws, and came up with an instant extension to chez bluetit. It worked to the extent that all the chicks fledged safely -- and I haven't heard a thing from the county planning office. I'm thinking of taking a patent out on it.
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Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Date:Jul 1, 2004
Words:255
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