A FLOCK OF BLUE TITS

A FLOCK OF BLUE TITS

Jeannie, Jeannie, Jeannie BLOG 28th January 2018

THOUGHTS FOR THE DAY

 The January day was grey and damp and it had not got properly light. At about 3.00pm I looked out of my office window and saw a flock of twenty or so small birds lively skitting around our garden tree.

Due to the poor light they were basically dark silhouettes. I could not see their colour. At first, with there being such a flock I thought they may be Sparrows of some type. But they seemed smaller than the average sparrow and more animated. They reminded me of Blue Tits. But over the years I’d only seen blue tits in the garden in two’s or three’s together.

So I checked it out on the internet with the following results.

If you have a bird-friendly garden, you will see flocks of Blue Tits now — sometimes augmented by other small birds.

When they are not breeding blue tits no longer defend their territories. Instead, they form large groups that range from garden to garden — and to woodland habitat, if near by.

Blue tits combine great agility with strong claws and are able to exploit more food sources than other birds. They are equally able to cling to a peanut feeder and to dangle from the end of a branch where the buds hide overwintering aphids.

In the days when bottled milk was delivered daily to most doorsteps, blue tits habitually pecked through the foil caps to steal the cream that had settled on top. They even learnt to ignore skimmed milk, which had a different-coloured cap.

Smaller than Great Tits, Blue Tits nest in holes in trees, but are just as happy to use nestboxes as substitutes. Tits are active feeders, hunting out insects and spiders amongst the smaller branches of trees in woodlands. But they are also well-adapted to gardens and towns and will visit birdtables and peanut feeders. In winter, they will form flocks with other tits, roaming the countryside and visiting gardens in groups. Blue Tits have a trilling song: ‘tsee-tsee-tsee’.

How to identify

Unmistakeable: Blue Tits are colourful little birds with blue caps, white cheeks, black eyestripes, greeny-blue backs, yellow bellies, and blue wings and tails.

 

22 Facts about Blue Tits

 

1              Blue tits are common and widespread throughout the British Isles, but are absent from both Orkney and Shetland.

2              Though the blue tit’s world range extends to North Africa and Turkey, it is considered a European bird, unlike the far more widespread great tit.

3              The blue tit’s favoured habitat is broad-leaved woodland, but is sufficiently adaptable to be abundant in a variety of other habitats, including gardens.

4              Some 98% of British gardens report blue tits in winter.

5              Blue tit numbers have been increasing in the UK in recent years, possibly helped by the provision of nest boxes and supplementary feeding.

6              More than 2.5 million have been ringed in Britain and Ireland.

7              British blue tits are strictly resident, seldom moving far from where they hatched.

8              Studies have shown that only 1.2% of the population moves more than 20km during the winter.

9              In northern Europe this species is a partial migrant, and these birds occasionally arrive on the east and south coast of England.

10           Domestic cats are a major cause of mortality, and responsible for 42% of ringing recoveries.

11           Starvation kills many young birds soon after fledging. Some 21% of ringed fledglings are found dead within 30 days.

12           Though both sexes look similar, the male is considerably brighter than the female, especially in the blue on the head.

13           It is thought that as they get older, they get brighter plumage with each subsequent moult.

14           No other British tit has blue in its plumage.

15           The breeding season varies with location and season, but generally starts in the third week of April.

16           Though blue tits will lay repeat clutches if their first is lost, they rarely try and rear two broods.

17           The clutch size is highly variable, but usually ranges from 7-13 eggs.

18           Clutches as large as 19 eggs, all laid by the same female, have been recorded.

20           Clutches tend to be smaller in gardens than those laid in woodland.

21           Though the typical nest site is a hole in a tree, blue tits have been recorded nesting in a great variety of situations, from letterboxes to street lamps.

22           In summer their principal diet is insects, in winter it is a mixture of seeds and insects, with beech mast particularly important.

 

This weekend is Big Garden Birdwatch organised by the RSPB. It is simple and enjoyable – and a great excuse to watch your garden birds.

Choose a good place to watch from for an hour from 27-29 January 2018. Which window gives you the best view?

Read more at https://www.rspb.org.uk/get-involved/activities/birdwatch/everything-you-need-to-know-about-big-garden-birdwatch/#h2SqQFZ6I0P3HVKa.99

  

Cultural influence is not unique to humans. For example: 1. Small birds called Blue Tits learned to peck through the aluminum caps of milk bottles left on doorsteps to reach the rich cream at the top of the milk, presumably by watching another bird do it. 2. Meerkats teach their young to handle prey. 3. Chimpanzees have learned to use tools to hunt insects. Blue Tits learned to peck thru aluminum caps by watching other birds. Meerkats teach their young to handle prey. Chimps have learned to use tools to hunt insects.

INSPIRATIONAL QUOTE FOR THE DAY

A truly rich man is one whose children run into his arms when his hands are empty. – Unknown

HAPPINESS IS…

Happiness is…watching garden birds

GRANDAD’S ONE LINER JOKE OF THE DAY

Q: What do computers eat for a snack? A: Microchips!

LOVE IS…

Love is…getting up in the night when she thinks she has heard a burglar

TRACK OF THE DAY

Suddenly – Angry Anderson

Highest Chart Position: No.3 10th December 1988