‘Old Bats’ Nature Blog, January 2018

By 01/01/2018January 8th, 2018Monthly Wildlife Blog

January 2018

Long-tailed Tit

You are always notified when Long-tailed Tits are in the area. The un-mistakable high-pitched “tut-tut” sound as they approach with rapid movements through the branches of the trees. They are always in groups, sometimes in groups of five or six and sometimes, especially in spring, when whole families join to form large noisy gangs of more than ten.

Sitting on a comfortable wooden bench near to the bird feeders in the wood, the most common sight is the constant to and fro between them and the overhanging trees are the Blue Tits, Great Tits and sometimes Coal Tits. But when the Long-tailed Tits appear, they swarm over the feeders, sometimes five or more gripping the perches and devouring the seeds, fat balls or nibbling at the peanuts.

They appear to be more comfortable feeding in groups, often all fluttering together on one feeder, while the others remain un-touched. Their long tails add to the image of confusion as they stick out in all directions, with the birds all feeding at different angles, upright, on their sides or even upside down.

About Long-tailed Tits.

The tail of this tiny tit is more than half its total length, which makes it very conspicuous, especially in flight. The bird is always on the move in woods, commons, wasteland and hedgerows, feeding on spiders, insects, seeds and buds. Severe winters take their toll and many do not survive, sometimes reducing the population by about 80 per cent.

Their nest is a masterpiece of design. It is a complete oval in shape, consisting of moss, bound together with cobwebs and hair and lined with hundreds of feathers.

Identification facts:

Size: 14cm.
Colour: White chest, black headband, white crown, pink band on wings.
Habitat: Woodland, hedgerows, commons and gardens.
Food: Spiders, insects, nuts, seeds and buds.

Long Tailed Tit Illustration

Copyright L.Merrick 2001