• Wildlife Friendly Otley

GREAT TIT


As a teacher, I like to tell my children that the common call of the Great Tit is “tea-cher, tea-cher”, but their communication skills are actually really quite sophisticated. So, for example, one study found they make different alarm calls for different predators, and another found that birds living near the M25 have changed the pitch of their calls to be heard over the roar of the traffic. The change is so substantial that it’s thought that in coming years they will not be able to communicate with other Great Tits, and will effectively form a sub-species. All Great Tits have a relatively wide repertoire, and this has been explained using the Beau Geste hypothesis. He propped up dead bodies to give the impression his fort was better defended than it was, and it’s possible the large number of Great Tit calls give the impression of a densely populated habitat. This is supported by the fact that Great Tits with wider vocabularies are socially dominant and more successful breeders.

Photos by Pixabay

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