Blue Tit

Neil Bygrave (NATURELENS)

Exeter, United Kingdom

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Artist's Description

Blue Tit – Cyanistes caeruleus. Devon, UK.

Text adapted from Michael J. Seago, full text can be found at -

http://www.birdsofbritain.co.uk/bird-guide/blue...

These brightly coloured familiar birds are often seen in winter groups searching trees and branches for insects and spiders. Each twig and leaf is thoroughly examined, the birds advancing in small rapid hops, seizing items either while perched upright or hanging upside down. While searching, each blue tit has a habit of holding its head back as if short-sighted! This constant activity is enhanced by persistent flicks and twitches of wings and tail and frequent calls.

In times past blue tits frequently, especially in winter, tore open the foil tops of milk bottles, drinking the top layer of milk. Groups of these ever-restless and inquisitive birds were known to follow milkmen or wait for milk deliveries.

The nest is in a hole in a tree, wall, stump, gate-post or outhouse. Few birds more readily accept the shelter of a nest-box. The same hole is occupied year after year. The blue tit is a close sitter hissing at an intruding finger. Nesting material is usually moss, wool, hair and feathers. A clutch of eggs is often large. From 12 to 18 eggs are on record. Probably seven or eight is normal and large clutches are laid by two or even more hens.

Main predators include grey squirrels and great spotted woodpeckers. In northern Europe blue tits undertake wildly fluctuating eruptive movements from time to time. Birds ringed in autumn in Sweden have been recovered in Germany and Belgium.

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