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THE birds are beginning to reappear in our gardens now that the breeding season and the summer moult are over.

Bill Robinson reports a flock of long tailed tits on the garden feeders in his Thornaby garden.

Long tailed tits are extremely attractive birds and very easy to identify as a result of their small size and extra long tails.

They also tend to stick together in large groups throughout much of the year, with numbers being swelled by the addition of the youngsters.

They are basically black and white though at close range delightful pinkish-brown markings can be seen. The females lay between six and eight eggs, so there is a huge number of long tailed tits around at this time of year.

The number does fluctuate year by year and a great deal depends on the severity of the winter.

Long tailed tits tend to roost together, often forming a long line along a branch to keep warm. It can be a disadvantage to be on the end of the line because I have read these birds often succumb on very cold evenings.

Long tailed tits clearly do not have much fat in their bodies to help them through the winter because they weigh less than a PS1 coin.

In fact the energy-rich food they find on bird tables is a key factor in helping in them deal with harsh weather.

Climate change is something that will help long tailed tits so hopefully there will be an increasing number of them to brighten up our gardens in the future.

Mrs S Wright has replied to my article about sparrowhawks by reporting that one recently caught and ate a collared dove in her Middlesbrough garden.

She says that the collared dove was only a young one that had fledged in a nearby garden and she had frequently watched both and the youngster in her garden.

The kill had already taken place by the time that she spotted the sparrowhawk so she resisted the temptation to rush out, allowing the raptor to finish devouring its unfortunate victim.

As I have said before, nature is cruel. Yet if the sparrowhawk had not finished off the collared dove it might easily have gone off and caught another young bird somewhere else.

| If you have noted any interesting or unusual wildlife sightings in and around Teesside and Cleveland lately, contact Eric on


This fine picture of a long tailed tit was taken by Mark Walpole

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Publication:Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)
Date:Sep 11, 2019
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