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  • Writer's pictureWildlife Friendly Otley

Blue tit - March 2022


Despite the cold chill still in the air, signs of spring have started to appear; snowdrops, daffodils and crocuses are all blooming. The change of the light, longer days and relatively warmer days trigger our resident birds to get dressed up! To be as attractive as possible in time for mating season, Blue tits as well as everyone else are as bright as they are ever going to be, sporting their new plumage. It is time to take a closer look at the colourful mix of blue, yellow, white and green visiting your bird feeders.


The Blue tit’s favoured habitat is broad-leaved woodland, but they are sufficiently adaptable and can be abundant in a variety of other habitats, including our gardens. Blue tits are now in fact one of our most common visitors to our garden bird feeders and resident all year in Otley. In 2016 there were over 3.6 million breeding pairs in the UK and it is thought their numbers have continued to increase, they are one of our few success stories, possibly helped by the provision of nest boxes and supplementary feeding.

During spring and summer, a Blue tit diet consists mainly of small insects, aphids, caterpillars, spiders and other invertebrates such as millipedes. In autumn and winter their diet turns to fruit, seeds, nuts and grain. Where gardeners are feeding them, they will return to bird feeders throughout the year but will still catch live prey to feed their brood. It is thought that 10,000 caterpillars could be consumed by the hungry chicks before they leave home. As a little bird, the world can be a very dangerous place, there are a lot of predators wanting to make a meal out of you. Their main predators include Great spotted woodpeckers, Grey squirrels and Sparrowhawks.


Blue tits are on average 12cm in length, they have an 18cm wingspan and they tend to weigh just 11g – that’s around the same as a £2 coin or an AAA battery. Though both genders look similar, the male is considerably brighter than the female, especially in the blue on the head. Like most birds, blue tits can see ultra-violet (UV) light, studies have shown that the blue crown on their heads glows brightly under UV light, glowing brightest will obviously attract the most desirable mate. Right now and throughout this month blue tit pairs can be seen prospecting nest boxes, looking for a place in which to rear their young. Blue tits have been recorded nesting in a great variety of strange and wonderful situations, from letterboxes to street lamps.





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