British wildlife recordings
Parus caeruleus : Blue Tit - Paridae
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Cowley, Gloucestershire: OS Grid Reference(396500,214500)
Williams, Aubrey John
Blue Tit, Parus caeruleus
The call of the blue tit recorded at Cowley, Gloucestershire. The blue tit is the most familiar member of the tit family and one our best loved British birds. It is a very common visitor to gardens and bird tables particularly during the winter as it supplements its insectivorous diet with peanuts, sunflower seeds and other household scraps at a time when food can be difficult to find. The blue tit's song is a high-pitched tremolo ending in a trill and the males can sing at any time of year but are most commonly heard from late winter through to high summer. Despite its diminutive appearance the blue tit can be quite an aggressive bird and both sexes often produce a scolding alarm call to defend a food source from interlopers, protect chicks, or even betray the presence of a local cat. Breeding blue tits confine themselves to one brood a year and the hatching date of the chicks is designed to synchronise with the first flush of caterpillars in the trees. So voracious is the appetite of a large brood of blue tits that the family is capable of eating over 10,000 caterpillars before they finally leave the nest. There are currently 3.3 million pairs in Britain, although this is boosted by a large numbers of continental blue tits that often spend the winter at British bird tables.