I’ve seen long tailed tits around Orchard Park on just a couple of occasions. I’d love to see them again. I’ve had several visits from its cousin the great tit collecting llama wool, hung out for the birds, to use as nesting material. If you can’t get your hands on that, put your own hair (after washing and before any styling products) out, or brush the dog outside.
The nesting season is well underway for a host of avian species as we progress ever further into spring. One bird in particular that I’ve enjoyed spending time watching recently as they’ve busied about constructing their nests is the superb Long-tailed Tit.
Looking like a shuttlecock with wings, these excitable little 9-gram birds spend the winter foraging in tightly-knit family parties of between 8 and 20 members, associating with a mix of crests, tits and warblers in classic woodland feeding parties. Suffering high mortality in harsh overwinter conditions, these family groups will cluster together on cold nights in a communal roost, which greatly reduces their heat loss and thus conserves precious energy. Come early spring (as early as January in some places) the mature breeding pairs will often peel off these flocks and head to their territories to set about the task of raising a family.
a long-tailed tit gathering some lichen…
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