Blue tits make nest in Eagle courier’s ashtray

Blue tits have made a nest in the ashtray of Eagle Couriers in Bathgate.
Blue tits have made a nest in the ashtray of Eagle Couriers in Bathgate.
0
Have your say

Courier staff have enjoyed their own special delivery – after a pair of blue tits nested in their ashtray.

Now staff at Eagle Couriers in Bathgate have been banned from using the outdoor cigarette bin while the tiny, protected birds nurse a clutch of eggs. Staff at Scotland’s biggest independent courier company are eagerly awaiting the day when the hatchlings fly from their unusual nesting spot.

The ashtray at Eagle Couriers where the blue tits have nested. Picture: comp

The ashtray at Eagle Couriers where the blue tits have nested. Picture: comp

Jerry Stewart, one of the directors at Eagle Couriers, told how smokers at their Bathgate-based HQ were alerted when the tiny birds started darting in and out of the ashtray, which was installed in a brick-built bin storage area so smokers could enjoy some shelter.

He said: “One of our operations team, Richard McIntosh, was the first to see the birds and advised the rest of the smokers to stop using the ashtray while he phoned the RSPB.

“Sure enough, the RSPB let us know that blue tits are protected and that it is illegal to disturb the nest in any way. Nobody here would dream of disturbing the nest, but there’s now a very wide exclusion zone around the ashtray. We’re all keeping watch from a distance, desperately hoping that we’ll soon be hearing the hatchlings and maybe even get sight of them when they fly the nest.”

Staff believe there are up to four eggs in the nest.

“It’s got to be the first time a brood of blue tits has enjoyed protection from an Eagle,” said Mr Stewart. “I also hope it might help the smokers in our team to cut out the fags.”

Wendy Hicks, of the Scottish Ornithologists Club, said: “These metal ashtrays actually make perfect nests for smalls birds – they are the penthouse of bird houses. They are warm, enclosed, the gaps are the right size, and the birds are protected from the elements and from predators.

“Woodpeckers often attack wooden bird houses when small birds are nesting inside.”

Catriona Webster, of RSPB Scotland, said: “Blue tits are versatile birds that are well known for choosing unusual nesting sites. This just goes to show you never know where nature can find a home. All bird nests are protected by law so staff have done the right thing by leaving the nest alone until the birds hatch.”

This is not the first case of birds taking up lodgings in a bizarre place. A restoration project on a vintage JCB in Moray had to be put on hold because a pair of blackbirds built their nest inside.

paris.gourtsoyannis@edinburghnews.com