Belfast Telegraph

Irish postbox plays host to great tits

Great tits have set up home inside a rural postbox will ensure her chicks are fed by airmail each day.

The colourful little bird has built herself a nest tucked inside the mailbox, forcing the village postman to warn locals to keep away.

She is due to lay her eggs in the coming weeks and the conscientious postal worker has posted a makeshift sign telling people that the Co Clare postbox has a feathered lodger.

Last year a bird constructed a nest in the same postbox in Ballycalla, Newmarket on Fergus. But locals were not aware of the nest and continued to post their letters as usual.

Unfortunately, the mail covered the nest and prevented the bird from gaining access to it. The bird eventually flew away, leaving her eggs for a slug to feast on.

Tits usually nest in any suitably sized holes in trees, walls and other structures, like a postbox.

Clare-based Birdwatch Ireland spokesman John Murphy said: "They will get into a hole in a building, gate post or wall but postboxes are definitely a favourite. I know there is a sticker on this postbox telling people there is a bird inside.

"I know the locals will be patient for the few weeks it takes for the mother to lay the eggs and for them to hatch. They will go away soon after that.

"Not so many people would be so conscientious to be honest and many will just toss a nest out, but it's not for long. It takes about 12 to 14 days for the laying and a further 12 to 16 days for the hatching and the birds will take off."

A local man commended how children in the area were taking an interest in the birds. "The kids on the road have been going up and down for a look but sure they can't see anything inside the box.

"It's too dark in there but the children have been great and have been keeping a close eye on what's happening and they are learning as well," he said.

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