Long-tailed tits on the loose!

Fuzzy and friendly, these adorable birds are more tail than body. At just 14cm long, their tail makes up over half of their length – they’re definitely humorous characters to spot from your window!

While most of us might know the long-tailed tit and its garrulous family from out feeders during the breeding season, these birds also use gardens as a place of refuge during the colder months. This tiny tit, weighing just 9g (that’s less than a £1 coin), loses heat quickly and can’t carry large amounts of food. This means that it is particularly difficult for them to survive the winter. Bird tables surrounded by trees and bushes are great for long-tailed tits as it means they can stay close to their food source while remaining hidden from predators.

Black, white and dusky pink, these funny creatures are stunning against the backdrop of a frosty November morning. But don’t be fooled by their merry twitterings: they feel the cold very easily. A benefit of living in close family groups is keeping warm, as long-tailed tits will snuggle together on perches or in nest boxes to reduce heat loss.

Close up long-tailed tits on a garden bird feeder (Getty)

Family life

There are few more fantastic sounds than an approaching flock of long-tailed tits, chattering their way across to your garden.

These cheery birds are incredibly social and live in groups of around 20-30. Until recently they weren’t regular garden visitors; however it is now quite common to see their large families, with their long stiletto tails, performing acrobatics on our feeders.

Long-tailed tits are perhaps most famous for their incredible nest-building. Early in spring, the male and female will work together to build an incredible bottle-shaped nest with an entrance hole at the very top. These can be constructed in bushes or in the fork of a tree, wedged carefully between the branches. They are camouflaged with lichen, moss and delicate cobwebs, then lined with up to 1,500 cosy feathers!

If you have a few spare hours on a chilly March-April day, settle down and watch this fantastic partnership work its magic – you won’t be disappointed.

 

Food

With autumn well and truly underway, now is the time to make provision for our garden visitors. Here are some of the top feeds for long-tailed tits:

Suet pellets

This feed provides small energy-filled bites – essential for keeping smaller birds warm.

Peanuts

Another fantastic source of fat and protein! Peanut Granules offer tiny morsels which are easier for long-tailed tits to carry.

Mixed seed

Add variety to their diet with a combination of seeds. Try our No Grow No Waste Blend to keep your garden free of unwanted husks and debris.

Insects

During the summer months, long-tailed tits feast on grubs and tiny bugs. Ensure your garden is stocked with greenery for next spring to bring more insects into your garden.

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