Monday Bird of the Week No.10 – Long-Tailed Tit

Well, I should have known better. The second I predicted what bird I would cover this week, it was bound to go wrong!

Last week I said the MBOW would be the Dunnock, but since then our Dunnocks have been in hiding any time I’ve got the camera out. Fortunately, another favourite bird of mine made an appearance, the Long-Tailed Tit (Aegithalus caudatus).

Long-Tailed Tit, Leeds, January 2013

Long-Tailed Tit, Leeds, January 2013

I like to think I’m a hard-nosed, rational, scientist. A naturalist, unconcerned with the aesthetics of the natural world. Then a small bunch of feathers with a long tail, like a fluffy little ball on a stick, comes along and makes me go “Awww… so cute…”

Not only are they appealing to look at, they are tremendously entertaining, an acrobatic little bird:

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They are very active which often makes getting pictures tricky. But on the upside, they tend to be pretty confiding. If you stand quietly, they will happily come pretty close to you. The bird photographed here at times came only a few feet away at head height.

Once, I was cleaning a bird table and had left a fat cake hanging. While I stood there, half-a-dozen LTTs descended on the fat-cake, even though I was no more than a foot away! So a great bird to get in your garden.

SONY DSCYou can tell they are coming from the high-pitched twittering noise they make, but if you stand close you will also here a clicking ‘contact call’ they make, that allows the rest of the flock to know where they are.

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So, a delightful little bird to get in your garden, frequently in massive flocks in winter.

If they show up again, it’ll be Dunnocks and their sex-lives next week.

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I welcome thoughts, comments and questions, so please feel free to share anything at all. Thanks, David

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