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02/03/2008



LONG-TAILED TIT

Today on Mothers Day, whilst visiting my very much missed mum's plot at the crematorium, I was lucky enough to see long-tailed tits, not unusual for some of you, but for me as far as I can remember, this is only the second time I have ever seen them, as much as I would love them to, they don't frequent my garden.

I was so excited about this experience that I needed to know more about these endearing little birds, so when back home I had a quick look on a couple of websites. Before I knew nothing, I now know that the long-tailed tit is the only insect eating bird to overwinter here, other species would sooner migrate thousands of miles down to places like South Africa. During the winter they hang around in social groups and around February time will separate into pairs, competing for their favourite mate. The pair will then build an elaborate nest made out of lichen, stuck together with spiders webs, and line the nest with down from their own chests, how sweet is that! Next the eggs are laid, and any pairs from the social group who fail to breed themselves, come along and will help find food for the young and even feed the exhausted mum herself, acting as aunties and uncles. By staying in this group is essential for their survival, a lesson we could learn from?

Well after reading this, how can you fail to love them. Long-tailed tits have shot up to the top of my list of favourite birds!

14 comments:

BumbleVee said...

Awww...that is cute; helping the Mums.... how wonderful.

I heard a little warbling or thrush type bird yesterday... didn't get a close look at him, but different browns and beiges with quite a reddish brown streak and some white in there too... way up on top of the tallest tree... singing away. I wonder now if he has been here all winter too... man, those little guys must be tough to survive -30C !

Our robins will be home on the 15th of March. They go south for five months of the year; they always come back almost to the day... and usually there is still one more big snowfall on top of them...then some cool days for a month or so. Slowly it will warm and they will begin to build nests... but, until then, they survive by pretending they are chickadees... following the little guys around under the spruce tree picking at dead bugs and bits I guess...

Flighty said...

I can see why you like this fluffy little bird so much! My fingers are crossed that you get to see more of them. xx

Threadspider said...

They are right up there with my favourites too-and I am lucky enough to have them regularly visiting my garden. I love the little bell like tinkling calls they make to each other.

elaine said...

hi Louise,
I find it very touching that you got the siting while visiting your Mother's memory. I never have seen one before. You're selection of birds over there is/are wonderful. This one certainly has a remarkable lifestyle. What a sweetie. xox~E.

VP said...

They're 1 of my faves too Louise. I have great flocks of them chattering away in the hedgerow next to the house all winter. They're such a cheerful sight! I hope yours get to stick around too.

primrozie said...

Once our kitties have passed on to "kitty heaven", I will certainly do more to attract a variety of birds.

So beautiful.

Katherine said...

Hi Louise!

Thanks for your great photos and interesting bits about birds and flowers. There is such beauty and wonder in the natural world - so much to learn and to enjoy. Thanks so much for sharing!

Crafty Green Poet said...

I love long tailed tits, we're lucky to get a lot of them round Edinburgh. Beautiful birds with loads of character.

Kari & Kijsa said...

What a beautiful parallel lesson to learn, from the birds to our families and communities! A wonderful post!

blessings,
kari &kijsa

sheila said...

Oh, I love tits. (hmm, that sounds rude doesn't it) We have bushtits here and they cluster in massive groups on the peanut butter feeder. Sometimes we've counted up to 16 of them at once. They are SO tiny and cute, too, aren't they.

Another bird I adore is the chickadee. So cheeky and inquisitive.

Cowboys & Custard said...

I was just about to make a fool of myself and say I had seen yellow long tailed tits... I am thinking of wagtails. Not sure I have seen these birds before.. I will have to study the birds in our garden with more attention.. or ask Pickles to.

Michelexx

the flour loft said...

I always seem to see them in car parks. Why is that?
ginny x

Lesley said...

They're one of my favourites but I like them even more now that I've read your post! I always think they look like little pink fluffy balls with tails sticking out (ahem! Just realised that sounds a bit rude!!). How sweet that they help each other out like that and amazing that they use spiders webs to stick their nests together! x

Joanna said...

I love long tailed tits, they are so cute and fluffy I could watch them for hours