Bird's Eye View of Bute

The Great Tit

(1) Original
(1) Original
(2) Great Tit
(2) Great Tit
(3) Great Tit
(3) Great Tit
(4) Great Tit
(4) Great Tit
(5) Great Tit
(5) Great Tit
(6) Great Tit
(6) Great Tit
(7) Great Tit
(7) Great Tit
(8) Great Tit
(8) Great Tit
(9) Great Tit
(9) Great Tit
(10) Great Tit
(10) Great Tit

 

 

The Great Tit

I last wrote about Great tits on December 2001, but the picture that I used then was of a fledgling that had left the nest too early, and was sitting at the water’s edge at Loch Fad with a Herring Gull about to have it for breakfast.

 

Well I beat it to the wee bird an after the gull had gone ,it put it on the fork of a Hawthorn bush, giving it a bit of overhead cover, so hopefully, it survived. It was not capable of long flight then, so the parents would soon hear it's chirping,

The little bird that you saw then would be of no use to you in identification, so here today is another photo to help you.

These are the biggest of the Tit family,13.0 -14.0 cm, (5 ins), with a black crown and bib with white cheeks, a black centre stripe going all the way from the bib to the rump. (Broader in the male), green wings, with pale blue outer feathers, a pale blue rump, with the tail the same colour, Bill, short , black and stubby, legs ,black,

Their main diet is caterpillars and seeds, but readily come to nut-feeders, with the peanut being the favourite, with a bit of fat-ball thrown in.
These wee birds are very adaptable, taking advantage of unusual nest sites, such as pipes, letter-boxes etc. Like Bluetits they had learned to open milk bottles, but as cartons are used nowadays, they may be going thirsty, but should not be, as their beak is more than enough to cut through these cartons.

These being the biggest also mean that they are sometimes the meanest, and can cause a lot of problems with their own species, and also with others.
Their stout beak can open a hazelnut, so you can imagine what it could do to another bird. At the feeding table, they may stop short of actual violence, but it is documented that one bird caught and killed a Goldcrest, (Britain’s smallest bird) and carried it away between its claws like a bird of prey. Hopefully this is a one-off, but if it got the taste of meat, it may carry on killing, as will its offspring when they are adults?
Nastiness aside, they are a joy to watch on the nut feeders, with their ability to hang upside down, as they eat. They are shy at times, but if you move slowly, stop when they fly away, then as they return to feed, move in again slowly. This way you will get a good view of them.
Their call? Well scores of different calls have been described for this species, but all have a distinctive metallic or ringing quality to them which helps in identification. In a wood, if you don't know the call it is more than likely to be a Great Tit.

Just a few words, and a lovely photo for you to enjoy.

Norrie Mulholland.

First published in the Buteman 17-08-2007


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