Long-Tailed Tit Project

Filed in Projects on Mar.12, 2019

Recently I found a pair of Long-tailed Tits that were building a nest in a dense hedgerow protected on all sides by thorny branches. In between running my one to ones and workshops I’ve spent as much time there as I can. I’m working from a camouflaged hide to minimise any disturbance to these tiny birds by my present.

During that time they’ve been busy bringing different items in from tiny twigs, mosses and softer items like feathers, its been really fascinating watching this and wondering what will they bring in next. I was was very lucky to have find this nest as these birds are incredibly shy and hard to even photograph let alone find where they are building a nest.

The Long-tailed Tit, occasionally referred to as the Silver-throated Tit or Silver-throated Dasher is actually more closely related to the babblers of India and South-east Asia than it is to the Blue Tits and Great Tits that we associate it with. Which is fascinated to learn as during my many trips to Asia, more so India I’ve always loved babblers. I’ve also loved Long-tailed Tits for as long as I can remember so to find this pair has been amazing.

Both birds are coming in so fast only landing for a split second before heading into the dense undergrowth. Their “drilling” call is so distinctive and often lets me know they are coming into the nest before I’ve had chance to even see them they are that fast. They build a dome like nest and it’s all held together with spider’s webs and silk that they find and stitch it all together with. They fly in, pause for a few seconds constantly calling each other then fly into the nest. They have large clutches of eggs laying around 8–10 eggs and if they all hatch it can be quite tight for space inside.

Sometimes they land with what looks like a mass of tiny twigs and spiders web all bound together. I’ve noticed they stop on perches beforehand and slowly unwind this, separating what they’ve brought in to make it more manageable to build their nest with. The following few lucky images I caught of this fascinating behaviour will hopefully visually explain this a bit better than I can do in words.

They are tiny birds that don’t stay still long so its quite difficult pinpointing where they will land and then fly into the nest from. During the last few weeks we’ve had lots of different weather from warm summers days to snow the other day yet they are still building despite all this. They do pause nest building though when it rains and my guess is because they are so small they really can’t afford to get wet.

Nature is amazing and we never stop learning about it, everything has a reason and purpose and the fact many don’t understand this is why for me the natural world is in such a mess and struggling at the hands of this  ignorance. Stop and look around you and there will be so much life around you, watch this and trust me your own life becomes so much more enriched and better for it.

I’m really hoping they raise a family here and I will bring you more images from this project hopefully, many thanks.


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