The Blue Tit

The Blue Tit (Cyanistes caeruleus or Parus caeruleus) is a small passerine bird in the tit family Paridae. The bird is easily recognisable by its blue and yellow plumage, but its scientific classification is disputed. Blue tits, usually resident and non-migratory birds, are widespread and a common resident breeder throughout temperate and subarctic Europe and western Asia in deciduous or mixed woodlands with a high proportion of oak. They usually nest in tree holes, although they easily adapt to nest boxes where necessary. The main rival for nests and search for food is the much larger Great Tit.

Behavior and ecology

Blue and Great Tits form mixed winter flocks, and the former are perhaps the better gymnasts in the slender twigs. A Blue Tit will often ascend a trunk in short jerky hops, imitating a Treecreeper. As a rule the bird roosts in ivy or evergreens, but in harsh winters will nest wherever there is a suitable small hole, be it in a tree or nesting box. Blue tits are very agile and can hang from almost anywhere.
This is a common and popular European garden bird, due to its perky acrobatic performances when feeding on nuts or suet. It swings beneath the holder, calling "tee, tee, tee" or a scolding "churr".

Diet

The Blue Tit is a valuable destroyer of pests, though it has not an entirely clean sheet as a beneficial species. It is fond of young buds of various trees, and may pull them to bits in the hope of finding insects. No species, however, destroys more coccids and aphids, the worst foes of many plants. It takes leaf miner grubs and green tortrix moths (Tortricidae). Seeds are eaten, as with all this family.

Breeding

The Blue Tit will nest in any suitable hole in a tree, wall, or stump, or an artificial nest box, often competing with House Sparrows or Great Tits for the site. Few birds more readily accept the shelter of a nesting box; the same hole is returned to year after year, and when one pair dies another takes possession. It is estimated by the RSPB that there are 3,535,000 breeding pairs in the UK.
The bird is a close sitter, hissing and biting at an intruding finger. In the South West of England such behavior has earned the Blue Tit the colloquial nickname "Little Billy Biter".[by whom?] When protecting its eggs it raises its crest, but this is a sign of excitement rather than anger, for it is also elevated during nuptial display. The nesting material is usually moss, wool, hair and feathers, and the eggs are laid in April or May. The number in the clutch is often very large, but seven or eight are normal, and bigger clutches are usually laid by two or even more hens. It is not unusual for a single bird to feed the chicks in the nest at a rate of one feed every ninety seconds during the height of the breeding season. In winter they form flocks with other tit species.

The nest box fitted to the side of the house.
Blue tit surveying the nest box for suitability.
Blue tit poking its head out from the nest box

Hello and welcome to my garden life website.

This website has been specially set up to share the process of the birds nesting and hopefully having a little family in our webcam nest box. So far the blue tits have been visiting daily for about four weeks, this is a promising sign that they may set up home in it and lay eggs. Although they have been coming and going this doesn't mean they will use the box. Blue tits could behave like this for a few weeks and then just stop and find another nest box, however we have done everything possible to encourage them by placing the box high up on the side of the house and away from busy feeding areas in the garden.

The middle of March is when the birds should settle in to the nest building period so I will have to wait patiently and hope that all our hard work will pay off. Visitors to the site can enjoy every step of the nesting and hatching and watch in amazement like me as the little chicks are born and nurtured then leave the nest to live freely. Visit the webcam page to watch the blue tits nesting activity live.

Please browse through the site and enjoy the pictures of all my garden visitors who come calling throughout the year. Feel free to leave a message or comment in the guest book.

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