Focus on coal tits

Each year Springwatch makes a big fuss over the blue tits, who with their bright colours and large brood numbers are usually very adorable. They make for good television. The great tits and long tailed tits are showy enough to excite people. Today though I’m going to focus on one of the forgotten tits, the coal tit. Only a recent addition to the visitors to my bird feeders, but one I’m coming to look forward to seeing.

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With delightful Latin name Periparus ater it is a year round UK resident. Smaller than it’s relatives the great and blue tits it is the runt of the tit family. It is common across the U.K. with only a few areas missing them. They like woodland, but can be found in gardens. Their smaller size gives them the ability to move through conifer trees with greater agility than their cousin tits.

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In winter they will flock with other tits. Otherwise I tend to see mine on its own. They dart in for food then take it back to their nests to store. If I blink I can often miss their visits. Mine seem to favour the sunflower seeds. They generally nest low down: holes in trees, rabbit or mice burrows or hidden in stone walls.

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Unlike the sparrows I reported on the other day I am happy to see these little beauties are on green status. Their numbers are doing well. Harsh winters are bad for small birds, so while the trend for milder winters is worrying, the mild winters are helping our coal tits. I hope to enjoy sighting these little birds for many years to come.

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