Winter blue tits

During the winter, in natural woodlands, blue tits spend most of their time in oaks, searching for insect food in the trees’ rich ecosystems. At this time of year they turn their attention to the midges, mites and wasps that come to lay eggs in the new leaf buds.

Small birds, like blue tits, do not store a lot of fat, perhaps only enough to get them through a single night. A long and cold winter’s night can be quite an ordeal and research has shown that blue tits are some 5% lighter at dawn than when they went to roost the previous night. A blue tit needs to eat, each day, the equivalent of approximately 300 small insects. It is not surprising that these little birds have to spend so much time foraging.

There are always more blue tits around than you think. They spend the winter in small local flocks, sometimes with other tit species and over-wintering chiffchaffs, sharing loosely defined and overlapping territories. You may think you only have five of six different blue tits using your garden bird table in the winter, but you could easily have ten times this number passing through during the course of a single day.

All photographs by DKG

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