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Blue tits and great tits

Posted: Thursday 16 May 2013
by Kate Bradbury

While many plants have been late to flourish this year, I’m pleased to report that the blue and great tits that forage in my garden every spring are bang on schedule.


While many plants have been late to flourish this year, I’m pleased to report that the blue and great tits that forage in my garden every spring are bang on schedule.

Regular readers of this blog will know that every year my tiny courtyard garden is host to a pair of blue tits and a pair of great tits. While they never nest in the garden, they use it to find food for themselves and their young. These birds have been doing this every year for the past four years now and, with the exception of last year, they’re as regular as clockwork.

The birds usually arrive in the first week of May, and carry out a recce of the garden to make sure it can still meet their needs (i.e. that it has a good supply of caterpillars and sunflower hearts). Then I see one of each bird at a time taking food from the feeders. Suddenly the garden explodes in a flurry of activity, as both pairs of birds race around the garden, finding caterpillars and other morsels to feed their young. It’s all over by the end of June, although last year the female blue tit brought three lemon-yellow babies into the garden and taught them to use my feeders. I felt like a proud mum.

I’ve been looking out for them for the last week, but the first sign of activity was yesterday, when I saw a lone blue tit hopping around the honeysuckle. After a thorough investigation, it stocked up on suet treats from the feeders, and flew off. It returned several times, each time looking for insects among the plants before taking food from the feeders and flying away.

This morning I heard a great tit in the garden, and rushed to the window to see one also taking suet treats from the feeders. Again, it flew off with its beak full. I don’t know where the tits are nesting, if the females are sitting on eggs, if they’re the same tits that nest each year or if my garden just happens to be a good source of caterpillars at this time of year. All I know is that mid-May in my garden is when the blue tits and great tits come to forage, and I spend my days with a big smile on my face.


Many thanks to Amy Lewis and The Wildlife Trusts for kind permission to use their wonderful photograph.





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oldchippy 17/05/2013 at 18:37

I made an open fronted bird box a couple of weeks ago for sparrows with out much luck before I had an operation on my hand,I have time now to watch for the birds,there's been quite a lot of activity in the new leaves so there must be food in there for them.Why do wood pigeons eat the new leaves on my golden plum tree and leave a mess on the path under it. Oldchippy.

oldchippy 17/05/2013 at 18:37

I made an open fronted bird box a couple of weeks ago for sparrows with out much luck before I had an operation on my hand,I have time now to watch for the birds,there's been quite a lot of activity in the new leaves so there must be food in there for them.Why do wood pigeons eat the new leaves on my golden plum tree and leave a mess on the path under it. Oldchippy.

KEF 18/05/2013 at 09:51

Oldchippy. As the saying goes " no good deed goes unpunished", well done with the bird box. Are you any good at making pigeon pie?

oldchippy 18/05/2013 at 14:40

The trouble is when I see the pigeons the dogs go running down the path and bring back a nice deposit on there feet,I wouldn't eat pigeons of any type.Having worked in many old infested buildings I'm sure they cant be good to eat.

Bookertoo 18/05/2013 at 15:18

Indeed, why anyone would eat flying rats quite defeats me!  The pigeons that were raised for eating as as far distant from the detestable creatures hanging aorund humanity as wolves are from lap dogs. Your nice new leaves are sweet and soft, good grub for nearly everything, including, sadly, pigeons. 

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