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Cheeky Charmers - Blue Tits

Blue Tit on Bird Cake Feeder Kit - NatureTree

(Picture features the Bird Cake Feeder Kit, £8.99).

One of our most frequent garden visitors, blue tits (Cyanistes caeruleus) are instantly recognisable with their eye-catching blue and yellow plumage, white faces, and black eye-band markings. Once notorious for stealing cream from the foil tops of milk bottles left on doorsteps, this is an agile creature, quick to exploit any new food source.

 

Often seen hanging upside down attempting to grasp some juicy morsel, their acrobatic tendencies make these cheerful little birds highly entertaining to watch. As full-time residents of the UK, blue tits can be observed at any time of year.

 

Populations are relatively healthy, and perhaps a contributing factor to the birds' success is their ability to adapt to a wide variety of habitats: woodland, hedgerows, farmland, parks and of course, our gardens. But the birds do suffer from high-mortality rates from predation and harsh winters. Life expectancy is around 3 years.

 

Diet consists mainly of insects and spiders, especially during the spring and summer, with caterpillars providing a vital food source for the young chicks. At other times of the year the birds are content to eat seeds, plants and nectar. Oily seeds, such as sunflower seeds and peanuts can give them a great energy boost during the colder winter months. 

 

Blue tits make their nests in cavities such as tree holes, consisting of moss or dried grasses, often lined with soft material such as feathers, hair or wool. Nest boxes are readily accepted as a convenient alternative and are a great way of encouraging this charming bird to your garden.

 

A breeding pair will usually begin looking for a site in late winter but nest-building and breeding tends to begin in April. A single brood is usually raised per breeding season, with a clutch of around 8-10 eggs; though the number of eggs is governed by the availability of moths and caterpillars. Eggs are white and speckled with light red-brown. The female takes care of incubation, with eggs hatching after around 14 days. The youngsters fledge the nest about three weeks later.

 

Even if you’re unable to accommodate a nest box, birdfeeders are an excellent way to attract this colourful little bird to your garden. At the same time, you’ll also be helping to ensure its continued success.