A great tit bird in the garden

The Great Tit. one of the most common birds to greet our gardens up and down the country. It is wonderful to watch the comings and goings of the variety of birds frequenting the bird feeder.

Robins to finches and tits, It is time to focus now on the Great Tit particularly.

Great Tit on bird feeder

From youngsters to adults.

Birds of the tit variety can so often be overlooked for uniqueness with the number of some them and their ever presence at the feeding area.

I find them fascinating to watch as I sit on the front step with a coffee in the morning. Coming and going seemingly non stop back and forth en-masse along with the Blue Tits.

great tit taking off

In fact the winter makes this joint feeding venture between Great Tit and Blue Tit come to the fore as they do indeed band together in flocks seeking out food.

angry liitle Great Tit

Summer brings a plentiful amount of food all over the countryside so this is the time they abandon the blue tits and use their size and aggression to boss the bird table for themselves. You will often see them left to the bird table for themselves when around.

Description

Great Tits are very much the largest tits of the 6 species that reside in the UK . And considerably so when you see one next to other kinds.

feeding on nuts

They are easy to pick out in colour too. Their heads being black with white cheeks and the yellow breasts with the black stripe going down the breast.

The difference between male and female?

On a male Great Tit The said black stripe down the breast is thicker and goes all the way down to between the legs, the female’s stripe is shorter, thinner and sometimes broken up too.

close up of a Great Tit

The changing beak

Did you know that the Great Tit has a beak changes subtly for the differing seasons?

In summer their beaks are longer and thinner, making it easier to eat caterpillars. In the winter months their beaks get shorter and deeper to make it easier for seed consumption.

Their Song

Great Tits actually have differing songs that combine a total of up to 40 notes.

If you are listening to the birds singing at dawn and want to pick out a Great Tit then listen for the 2 note song repeated. Often written down as ‘tea-cher, tea-cher’.

Juveniles

Young Great Tits are always a welcome sight on the bird feeders in spring.

great tit with seed

You can tell them not just by size but also in how their colours and stripes have not yet formally formed. They also may have some brown on their heads.

I always look forward to Spring, when the little , more fragile, ragged looking young ones come to start feeding.

young Great Tit

The great tit always seems to be one of the first, it has adapted and evolved well over time from being mainly a woodland bird then now to taking advantage of man made gardens and the ready made food that they can produce.

great tit in the rain

Carnivores?

A classic innocent little songbird don’t you think?

However, scientists have found a more sinister side to them and a study was done of the birds done in Hungary to help find out.

growing up great tit

When food of the seed, worm or berry type is made unavailable for a Great Tit they have been found to then, as a last resort, to turn into carnivores.

In Hungary they start hunting and eating bats there. Yes extremely adaptable.

ready to fly great tit

Thanks for joining us in the garden again. More feathery antics soon here I am sure.

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6 Comments

  1. Nick Robinson says:

    Lovely colourful birds and great photography! What camera do you use Paul?

    1. Paul Steele says:

      Hi Nick. thanks.. I use the Olympus OM-D EM-5 .. I did a post in the ‘kit section’ here on the site to show how good it is for my travels

  2. Scott (@NESASK) says:

    Excellent post, Paul. Terrific photos and very interesting commentary about the Great Tits.

    1. Paul Steele says:

      Thanks kindly Scott. Got a few more posts like that lined up 😀

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