Eggs but no nest.

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Eggs but no nest.

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I've just cleaned out the two nest boxes that are fixed to our house. One is on the east facing wall next to the conservatory, the other, about 7m away, on the north facing wall. The one on the east facing wall was occupied for a time by great-tits but abandoned before any eggs were laid, the other did not appear to have been visited at all; except that when I took it down to clean it I found that it contained a number of what appeared to be blue-tit eggs. Oddly there was no sign of any nesting material at all in the box, just three intact eggs and the broken remains of one or two more. Any suggestions as to what was going on?
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  • It is possible that the nest was abandoned early on and then discovered by a pair that started nesting nearby later in the spring, and these 'stole' all of the nest material for their own nest.

    Although it sounds like this nest was clearly long abandoned, it is perhaps worth pointing out that it is technically against the law to clear out nest boxes before 1st September (this is to try and ensure that no-one 'cleans out' a nest box that is being used by birds that are trying to squeeze in a late brood towards the end of the summer).

  • RoyW
    it is perhaps worth pointing out that it is technically against the law to clear out nest boxes before 1st September

        Hi Roy,   I think the RSPB may be responsible for some folk cleaning nest boxes out early as they indicate from August onwards (even though they say Autumn)   they may need to amend their advice if it is illegal to do so till 1st September.        BTO have the correct date of 1st September onwards so RSPB need to amend their page methinks !

  • Hmm...

    I think that the RSPB definitely need to amend this.

    Even though it is very unlikely that any harm would be done if nest boxes are cleared out in August, it is still against the law to remove unhatched eggs at this time.

    It is actually illegal to remove eggs from nests at any time without a licence, but the removal of unhatched eggs is covered by the general licence in this link:

    Perhaps any RSPB staff member who reads this thread can get in contact with the relevant person(s) and get the relevant RSPB web pages changed?

  • Hello, thanks for pointing the error out on our web site, I shall pass the details onto the web team.