Tag Archives: great tit

Great Tit video

The first bird you see in this video is a sparrow! The Great tits are so hard to video. They skim in and out of the peanut feeder – it is about half way through this short video before you see a good picture of a Great Tit. You have to search for them in among the leaves and the feeder! 

Great Tit using a bramble bush

I’ve just found this note I received last year from another birdwatcher and bird feeder.   I’m, glad he got in touch and told me –

Eating at their leisure in a safe place and using their bird brains seems a good thing!

Tried to get some film of the local pair of great tits feeding but they are just don’t stay in one place long enough!

I had noticed that the great tits swooped into the table or peanut feeder, grab a bite and went back to a nearby patch of dead bramble to eat.

Yesterday I got out the binoculars and was surprised to see that they grab a piece of peanut (or maybe the odd sunflower seed) and take it to the brambles.

Then they hold the food between one foot and a thick horizontal bramble branch and peck off pieces at leisure
I had always assumed they just got a small enough piece to eat in one go but this does not appear to be so. I guess they just grab some food and then take it to somewhere they feel safe to eat.  John
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This lovely story  just shows how great old hedgerows and bushes are to wildlife.  To some people they maybe don’t look much.  To me countryside hedges and bushes are better than cultivated gardens.   

I often see blackbirds flitting about as though they don’t have a care in the world.  They fly in and out of a hawthorn hedge and perch on the branches inside the hedge.  One time I stood very close to them and they diddn’t notice me.

GREAT TIT FACT SHEET

GREAT TIT (Parus major)

Colourful Great Tit

Colourful Great Tit

Here are some facts about the Great Tit

FEEDING

Forages in hedges and trees for insects, spiders and worms. Also likes –

  • Fruit
  • Peas
  • Nuts
  • Seeds
  • Coconut
  • Fat
  • Suet
  • Cheese

The Great Tit likes woodland habitat.

It has a beak strong enough to crack hazel and beech nuts.

Can crack hazel and beech nuts as well

Can crack hazel and beech nuts with their beak

The Great Tit is a visitor to many bird tables but also likes to feed on the ground.

DESCRIPTION
The Great Tit is the largest of the British tits and is easy to recognise because of its yellow breast and long black central band which runs from its chin to its tail.  It has a black and white head.  It is a really colourful bird.

The tail is blue grey with white outer feathers.

Females have less glossy caps and less black on the breast.

CHARACTER

I always think the Great Tit looks pretty and charming but in reality it can be aggressive to other birds who try and share the bird table or peanut feeder. 

I have seen Great Tits behave aggressively in spring and Summer when they are defending their area.   They open their beaks and spread their wings to try to get the other bird to go away.  This war keeps on going until one of the birds gives up and flys away.  It is really interesting to watch.

There have been recordings of Great Tits actually killing other birds.  Their beak is a good weapon – it must be as it can open a hazel-nut.

HABITAT
The Great Tit is a true woodland bird.  They rely on insect food to feed their young.

Great Tits also depend on garden feeders and bird tables and can make themselves at home in gardens.

Great Tit enjoying a fat ball

Great Tit enjoying a fat ball

SIZE OF BIRD – 14 cm

EGGS   5 to 11 eggs are laid.  The eggs are white with red spots

INCUBATION  – 13 to 14 days

BREEDING – One brood

Great Tits have been known to take over blue tits nest boxes.  They put a new lining over the blue tits eggs and hatch their own eggs (bird against bird again)

FLEDGING
3 weeks (approx).  The young are fed mainly on caterpillars.  The Great tits time their families to work with the peak numbers of caterpillars.  This time changes each year.

Question – how do the birds know weeks in advance when there will be the most caterpillars about.

NEST
The Great Tit makes a nest from grasses, moss, wool and any other material that is available.  They will nest in many places.  Some of the places are

  • hole fronted nest boxes,
  • tree holes,
  • eaves,
  • stone walls,
  • flowerpots

Males take little or no part in building the nest, but they feed the hen while she is incubating and laying the eggs.

NEST BOXES
  1 1/8 inch (29mm) diamater entrance hole or slightly larger.  Interior depth of at least 5 inches (127mm) from hole to floor. 

Floor needs to be at least 4 inches x 4 inches (100mm x 100 mm)

SONG
Most of the birdsong has a ringing quality but lots of different calls have been described for the Great tit.  The song has been described as ‘clink’ and ‘teacher-teacher-teacher’

MY GREAT TIT NOTES

Great Tits should be welcome in the garden as they feed their young on protein – rich caterpillars. 

They also benefit from our birdtables and bird feeders – especially in winter.

Once the fledglings are independent from their parents they feed in flocks with other species of tits. 

They roost together in Summer and Autumn.

In winter, so they have better protection from the freezing cold weather they nestle alone in any crevice or perhaps a hole in a tree.   I know they will be visiting my bird feeders for many months to come.

It’s good to know the birdfood I put out and the hedges round the garden are useful and helping Great Tits and other birds keep in good condition.

I would like to thank Sara from FARMING FRIENDS for the photograph of the Great Tit eating a fatball. Thanks Sara