This morning I noticed a Dunnock, sitting on the trampoline net with a leaf in its beak. It looked around and then flew... straight into the nest box! Over the next half hour, the dunnocks flew back and forth, stopping for a look-round, then into the nest box with their leaves, twigs and bits of grass and stalks. It was obvious they were building a nest and we were very excited. I texted D. at work, to tell him the great news.
That was 9am. At 11am I got my camera and went to the upstairs window, hoping to catch a photo or two of the work in progress.
This is what I saw:
See that bird? That is Not a Dunnock!
If you look in the bottom right corner of the first picture, you will see the nest box among the leylandii.
The bird in both pictures is a Robin.
The other robin was in the willow tree, to the right of the nest box.
The two robins alternated between the trampoline net and the willow tree. They were working together as a team. The dunnocks were in the top of the leylandii hedge, looking nervously at the robins, waiting for them to go away, so they could get to their nest.
It was obvious that the robins were trying to drive away the dunnocks. I think they may have won, as they are quite fierce and very terratorial.
If they win, I will be interested to see if they use the nest box themselves. I do hope so, or it will have been such a waste.
Still, we feel sorry for the dunnocks. Tomorrow I will try to buy another open-front nest box, which we will try to site elsewhere in the garden - perhaps the other end of the hedge, if we can make it cat-safe - in some good cover.
We hope the dunnocks will feel safe enough to use the new box for themselves. And that the robins will let them!
It is War in our garden just now!