Long-tailed tits

Long-tailed tits at the peanut feeder yesterday afternoon. These delightful little birds are regular in the garden, feeding in small flocks both on the peanuts and the bird cake.

From studies in Wytham Wood in Oxfordshire from the 1950s to 1980s much is known about their flock behaviour. The average flock size consists of nine to eleven individuals. Birds are family groups (parents and offspring) from the previous season plus `helpers’. These helpers are birds who failed to breed themselves and instead assisted raising others. The winter flock has its own territory that is vigorously defended against others. Flock cohesion is maintained through contact calls, with individuals being able to recognise the calls of others in the group, an ability learned from when in and around the nest. The flock persists through to February, when individuals start to pair up. Even then though, they may roost together communally.

Article about long-tailed tits by Chris Mead here

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  1. Hi again Tony 🙂

    Loved the video – I’ve caught them on camera too. I find their garden visits really quite special. They are delightful birds and we don’t see them often.

    Very interesting to read of the way the flock is made up. After having two broods of blue tits failing in my camera nestbox (for two consecutive years) I like the idea of the helpers. Our birds looked lost (to me) at the feeders after the chicks died especially after their frantic search for food.

  2. goldcrest23

    Thanks Shirl … not only are the cute, but they are fascinating, especially the helper thing, which I don’t think is that common in birds. Have you ever seen their nests? Amazing, size of a tennis ball and decorated with white lichen.




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  • About

    In this blog we'll describe the day to day comings and goings of the birds in our Devon garden.
  • About us

    Tony is a naturalist and environmental artist. Laura is a free range creative web and print designer. We've recently moved from the village of Ipplepen to the town of Newton Abbot with our two children Ralph and Oli, our dog Henry, and numerous cats (none of whom would ever dream of eating birds).
  • Species List

    List of species, including only those birds that land in the garden:
    Blackbird
    Blackcap
    Blue tit
    Brambling
    Bullfinch
    Carrion Crow
    Chaffinch
    Chiff chaff
    Coal tit
    Collared dove
    Dunnock
    Fieldfare
    Goldcrest
    Goldfinch
    Great spotted woodpecker
    Great tit
    Greenfinch
    House Sparrow
    Jay
    Long tailed tit
    Magpie
    Mistle thrush
    Nuthatch
    Pied wagtail
    Redwing
    Robin
    Siskin
    Song thrush
    Sparrowhawk
    Starling
    Wood pigeon
    Wren

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