Tuesday, 9 February 2010

Babble

I have been trying to get a good photo of some tiny birds which visit our feeding station daily. So small and so active, they are extraordinarily difficult to photograph, as I have found out. I have captured a couple of pictures this morning however, neither of them are very good as you will see, but here they are - The Long-tailed Tit (Aegithalos caudatus).
Looking like a tiny, feathered ball-and-stick as they flit around the branches, they are only 13 - 15cm long, including the tail, which in itself, accounts for at least 7cm.
Their nests are fantastic constructions of moss and spiders' webs. The webs make them rather elastic and they can expand to contain a large number of birds. Up to twelve chicks plus the adults can squeeze into these nests, making them rather crowded places.
During the winter months, many of these tiny birds will, sadly succumb to the cold, but to try to counter this, they will huddle together in large numbers to keep warm, sometimes re-using the nests for added shelter.
Not actually a member of the tit family, they are thought to belong to the exotic, North American Babbler family.
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