Animals

Bird of the Week: Blue Tit

It is one of the more colourful visitors to our gardens and blue tits can have the largest clutch size of any bird with up to 18 eggs. Thursday, 25 January

By Kieren Puffett

A colourful mix of blue, yellow, white and green makes the blue tit one of our most attractive and most recognisable garden visitors. In winter, family flocks join up with other tits as they search for food. A garden with four or five blue tits at a feeder at any one time may be feeding 20 or more.

Blue tits eat insects, caterpillars, seeds and nuts, although during spring and summer they mostly feed on invertebrates. The yellowness of a male blue tit's breast is an indication of the number of yellowy-green caterpillars he has eaten, and a brighter breast is more attractive to females.

Blue tits are common in woodland, hedgerows, parks and gardens. They're widespread and found across the whole of the UK with the exception of some Scottish islands. Blue tits have one of the largest clutch sizes of all birds, with up to 16 eggs. (Related: Bird of the week: Long-tailed tit)

 

 

Did you know?

They were infamous for following milkmen to take sneaky sips from milk bottles by pecking through the foil tops. This phenomenon has practically died out now with the introduction of semi-skimmed and skimmed milk and the decrease of doorstop deliveries.

Sightings of blue tits in UK gardens were down by at least 10 per cent in the 2017 RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch. Small bodied birds, like the blue tit, are susceptible to changes in weather throughout the year, and last year’s prolonged wet spell led to fewer younger birds surviving than usual, meaning there were fewer seen in gardens. The RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch relies on a network of volunteers to spot and report blue tit numbers and takes place every year in January. Number of sightings will then be compared to previous years to help understand how blue tit numbers are doing in the UK.