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Living with Birds 21 Facts on Great Tit Tweetapedia

21 Facts

Great Tit

  1. A great tit clutch can be anything from five to 11 eggs, with the female doing all the incubation.
  2. The cock helps the female with feeding the brood: the chicks usually leave the nest around 20 days after hatching.
  3. Though great tits living in oakwoods rarely have a second brood, it's not uncommon for them to do so in pinewoods.
  4. Most individuals are sedentary, rarely moving far from where they hatched, but there is a tendency for them to move more in years when the beech crop fails.
  5. It is becoming increasingly rare for British-ringed great tits to be recovered abroad. This is thought to be because of the increase in the amount of food available in gardens.
  6. The most widespread of all the species of tit, it is found across almost all of Europe and east to Japan and south to Indonesia. It is also found in North Africa.
  7. Though widely distrubuted throughout the British Isles, the great tit is a rarity in the Hebrides and Shetlands.
  8. There are no fewer than 30 different races of great tit, many of which are predominately grey and black and lack the bright yellow of European birds.
  9. Britain's population of around 2 million pairs puts it in 8th place in Europe. Germany has the most: an estimated 8 million pairs.
  10. The great tit owes much of its success to its adaptability, while increasing numbers in Britain may well be because it is an enthusiastic user of garden feeding stations.
  11. Because of its wide range and the fact that it often lives in close proximity to man, it is one of the most intensely studied of all birds.
  12. The readiness of great tits to use nest boxes is one of the reasons they are such popular birds to study.
  13. The longest running study started in Wytham Wood near Oxford in the 1930s and continues to this day. The university manages it.
  14. The male's distinctive double-note song is one of the most familiar sounds of spring.
  15. There are, however, a huge number of variations of the song, and a typical cock great tit will use around 40 variations.
  16. If you hear a bird song that you can't identify, then there’s a good chance it will be a great tit.
  17. It has been found that the individual birds with the greatest repertoire of songs enjoy the most success with the girls.
  18. Many old country names for this species reflect its song. One of the best is sharp-saw, from Norfolk.
  19. The most successful and dominant cocks tend to have the thickest black stripes down the centre of the underparts.
  20. In the 1960s, when sparrowhawk numbers had been decimated by pesticide poisoning, the most dominant great tits were also the heaviest. However, these fatter birds are the most vulnerable to sparrowhawks, so once the latter's population recovered, the dominant males lost their excess weight.
  21. Great tits invariably nest in holes, but here they can be remarkably inventive, often using manmade sites such as post boxes.
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