Monday, 17 November 2014

Day 16 - an identification challenge

Day 16

Hi all. Yesterday's post was about a robin at Fairburn Ings. Today I've another bird I saw there. It's a tricky one as there are two species that are almost identical. My assumption is based on three things i) other sightings and identifications at the reserve, ii) the reserve has a lot of wet woodland, iii) the BTO's guide to telling apart Willow Tits and Marsh Tits.

What I think I have here is a lovely Willow Tit. Here's a few facts about them.

(Pocile montanus)
Willow Tit
Willow Tits are red status birds because of big population declines in recent years. The BTO thinks this is down to changes in their preferred wet woodland habitats, nest predation by Great Spotted Woodpeckers and competition with other tit species.

They are tiny birds with a wingspan of 19cm and a weight of 12 grams.

The best food to lure them with is insects, seeds and berries although during the summer they eat mainly invertebrates.

The best way to help Willow Tits is probably to make a Blue Tit nest box as when a Willow Tit hollows out a nest for itself in a rotten tree stump (its favourite nest site) they're often taken over by Blue Tits. This means providing Blue Tits a home should reduce the chance of one taking over a Willow Tits nest site.

A single Willow Tit clutch can have up to 13 eggs and they normally live up to 3 years.

If you're interested in these lovely little birds check out these links:

BTO - Willow Tit
RSPB - Willow Tit
BTO - Telling apart Willow Tits and Marsh Tits

Hope you enjoyed,


1 comment:

  1. For willow tits you could make a normal nest box and fill it up with small wood shavings as they like to hollow out their own cavity and that would make them think they had hollowed out a rotten log

    Keep up the good work