25 April 2016

Tit


Who's that tapping on our French windows? Why, it's Billy the long tailed tit!

Throughout the past week this little bird has often  been at our dining room windows, briefly resting on the door handles or flying up and repeatedly attacking the glass like a miniature kamikaze pilot. Then he flies off to the hedge or feeding station but soon returns. Over and over.

Research has thrown up a few possible explanations but I am mostly drawn to the idea that Billy thinks he is attacking a potential rival in the mating game. Of course what he sees as a competitor is only his reflection.

Long-tailed tits are characterful little birds. In the last few years we have often seen them in our garden but this is the first time we have observed the window tapping phenomenon. You would think that Billy might injure himself but the RSPB (Royal Society for the Protection of Birds) website reassures us that he will come to no harm before he moves on to frantic nest building activity and, fingers crossed, parenthood.

29 comments:

  1. So you have a sexually frustrated tit? A rare claim to fame methinks

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    1. What kind of tits do you have Kate? Err... I mean in your garden of course.

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  2. Funny! We see long-tailed tits in our garden too, but I've never seen one do this.

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    1. Nor had we till last week Steve.

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  3. He looks like a baby bird himself, with that tiny beak, eyes on the same level as the beak and fluffy round body - not old enough to make baby birds!
    In the cherry tree next to my kitchen window, I often see black tits (coal tits? That's their name in German) and, rarely but more frequently of late, a blue tit, but I don't think I've ever seen a long tailed tit, at least not up close.

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    1. Long tailed tits are the tenth most commonly seen birds in English gardens. Top of the list comes the house sparrow. Blue tits are also pretty common. You are right about the ones in your cherry tree - we call them coal tits, not black tits as that would cause a storm of protest from Afro-Caribbean women.

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  4. Well, that's a cute little fellow. Often the tiniest birds have the biggest, boldest personalities.

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    1. In northern England we often use the term "bird" for woman. I guess that Dolly Parton fits your description Jennifer!

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  5. He's a bold little chap isn't he - maybe he wants to come in for a mug of your builder's tea and a couple of Hob Nobs?
    Lovely photos YP, did you take them?

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    1. Yes I did CG. I tried to get a couple more this morning but he kept flying off... little b....!

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    2. I suppose he gets fed up with you saying "just turn your head a little bit to the left" or "move over to the right"....

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    3. He won't even let me brush his feathers with a toothbrush.

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  6. One bird I've never seen here on Lewis although there have been occasional accidentals in the past.

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    1. It is rumoured that you are very fond of tits Graham.

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  7. He is such a tiny little cutie. I loved him all puffed up and bold.

    cheers, parsnip

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    1. In my pictures he is slightly bigger than in real life Ms Parsnip. He moves so quickly that it was hard to snap those photos. "Puffed up and bold" is a good way to describe him.

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  8. Years ago when we (Randall, my ex and I) were living at Coolum on the Sunshine Coast I heard a lot of noise going on downstairs near the dining area. To the side of the dining room and open area that branched off from it was quite a large indoor garden with a large glass sliding door to match.

    The main bedroom was on a mezzanine floor. I looked down to see what all the ruckus was about and saw it was being created by a crow having a great time whacking his beak against the glass. The performance went on for some time. The crow, too, obviously had mistaken his reflection for a foe. The bird was there for ages trying to chase away that unwelcome interloper.

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    1. Thank heavens we human beings don't make the same mistake Lee. Attacking our reflections would waste a lot of time and we would all be walking around with broken noses!

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    2. I don't know about that, Yorkie. I tell the stranger who lives in my mirror to pack up her bags and leave every time I look into the mirror! I don't know who she is; I don't recognise her! What right has she to take up residence in there?? ;)

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  9. You're right about Billy seeing his reflection and attacking it.

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    1. I know that you are known as The Birdman of Red Deer so thanks for that assessment Red.

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  10. I have no tits on my mountain. Shame, really.

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    1. Yeah, but you've got eagles! That's a hell of a trump card Mama Bear.

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  11. We've got White Pointers down this way.

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    1. Hang on, isn't a white pointer a shark? You really have flying sharks tapping at your window?

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    2. It's an Aussie joke, Yorkie. We have Booby birds too; but the human boobies have earned the nickname "white pointers"!

      I know! I know! Our Aussie sense of humour is only understood by we Aussies! ;)

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    3. Here "boobies" are frontal female appendages.
      I know! I know! Our Yorkshire sense of humour is only understood by we Yorkists! ;)

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  12. Delightful little birds. I believe they are one of the few that will help raise each others chicks. Geese also run a crèche system sometimes.

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    1. I read on the RSPB website that siblings or cousins will often help parents in their intricate nest building activity that usually includes many yards of cobweb and hundreds of small feathers. Incredible.

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