Japan cherry and blue sky April

Japan cherry and blue sky April
Japan cherry and blue sky April

Friday, March 15, 2013

Blue Tit / Blåmejse - Cyanistes caeruleus




foto:stig bachmann nielsen, naturplan.dk





















Blue Tit / Blåmejse (Cyanistes caeruleus, earlier Parus caeruleus) This species was first described by  Linnaeus in his Systema naturae in 1758 as Parus caeruleus. The blut tit is a small passerine bird and a  common tit in Denmark.The blue tit is spread all over Europe, except in the northern Scandinavia and is common in some neighbouring areas in Asia, North Africa and on the Canary Islands. The population of blue tits on the Canary Islands is often considered an independent species (the African blue tit, Cyanistes teneriffae). There are several various under-species in Europe and Africa, but Denmark has  no special variation. The blue tit can hybridize with the azure tit, which only comes to Denmark as a guest.

The spread and number of pairs have increased in Denmark for the last decades, and the blue tit is common all over the country - except in places without deciduous forests. There is about 250.000 breeding pairs in DK. There are currently around 20-44 million pairs in Europe and it is estimated by the RSPB that there are 3,535,000 breeding pairs in the UK. Danish blue tits are mainly sedentary, but they are complemented by blue tits from Scandinavia and Russia in autumn in varying numbers. In some years they might appear invasion-like.



The blue tit builds its nest in holllow trees and in nesting boxes or in cavities in buildings. The main competitors for nests and food is the great tit, and the blue tit is in sharp competition about both food and nesting places with this larger and stronger bird, but it is able to use lesser nesting holes because of its size. The blue tit will nest in any suitable hole in a tree, wall, or stump, or an artificial nest box, often competing with house sparrows or great tits for the site. Few birds more readily accept the shelter of a nesting box; the same hole is returned to year after year, and when one pair dies another takes possession. The nest is made of moss, grass, wool, withered leaves and spiderweb and is lined with hair, down and feathers. The female usually builds the nest on her own, typically in April or May,  normally 7-12 eggs are laid, sometimes up to 16 eggs - which makes it a top scorer among the passerines. The female breeds alone and is fed by the male.The blue tit is a very aggressive bird, if you reach out for the nesting bird it will puff out its feathers and peck out after your finger. The eggs are hatched after ab. two weeks, after which both parents feed the chicks with little insects in the nest for 2-3 weeks. The young birds can usually fly reasonable safe when they leave the nest, and the family is often seen together for a period. Many birds, breeding in holes, have difficulties in finding suitable locations for their nest. It is mainly due to forests being driven intensely - old and sick trees are cut down, thereby the natural holes and cracks disappear which do not exist in young trees and bushes. It is easy to overcome the housing shortage of the birds by putting up nest boxes.


The row of six photos of the blue tit below is from the same day.  The little bird was very busy removing something from a branch. Suddenly it discovered that someone stood below , but this did not disturb that little busybody. It started again to hack like a wild and succeeded at last. It looks like the blue tit has found a little thorn?  
 
 











































The bird is easily recognisable by its blue and yellow plumage, it is light yellow on the underside and has blue wings, tail, neck and crown. Its white cheeks are broken by a dark blue bandit mask, running from beak to neck. The dark brown beak is short, compared to related species. The iris is brown, the feets are dark grey and with grey claws. The sexes are mainly identical, although the female usually is more dull coloured than the male. This applies particularly to the tail and the blue portions of the neck and upon the head. The young birds have duller colours than the adults. The lenght of the blue tit is ab. 10,5-12 cm. Behaviour, shape and size are similar to other tit-species There is no confusion in Central Europe, since no other songbird looks like the blue tit.













The preferred habitats of the blue tit are deciduous and mixed forests, but it is seldom seen in pinewoods. It is common in park, garden and thicket. If people put up a feeding table in the garden, the blue tit is one of the first and most frequent guests all year. It loves food like lard and nuts. It is a common and popular European garden bird, due to its perky acrobatic performances when feeding on nuts or suet. It swings beneath the holder, calling "tee, tee, tee" or a scolding "churr". The blue tit is not able to eat large seeds since it has a thin and fragile beak - and it does not store food like other tits (except the great tit). Its favourite food in summer is mainly insects, spiders and larvaes. Outside the breeding period important food is seeds and other plant-based food (from fx. beech and birch). While finding food the blue tit is dependent on its abilities to cling to the outernest branches, hanging head down, looking for food. In winter the blue tit form flocks with other tit species.

The small size of the blue tit makes it vulnerable to prey by larger birds such as jays who catch the vulnerable fledglings when leaving the nest. The most important predator is probably the sparrow hawk, closely followed by the domestic cat. Nests may be robbed by mammals such as weasels and squirrels


Since the chicks of the blue tit are fed with little insects, the great tit - which is dependent on larger insects - might risc that the blue tit has emptied the pantry before the insects have grown big enough for the great tit. Young birds of the great tit often die because of this.



great tit and blue tit share some winter food.
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The blue tit is the most charming little bird. Two blue tits were playing in a bush, one jumped out in the air as if he had forgotten he had wings. Please click to enlarge. The photos are not good enough. Birds give me problems! They move too fast!




Songs and Calls: (wikipedia)

Blue Tits use songs and calls throughout the year. Songs are mostly used in late winter and spring to defend the territory or to attract mates. Calls are used for multiple reasons. Communication with other blue tits is the most important motivation for the use of calls. They inform one another on their location in trees by means of contact-calls. They use alarm-calls to warn others (including birds of other species such as great tit the european robin or rhe treecreeper, about the presence of predators in the neighbourhood. Scolding for example is used when a ground predator (e.g. fox, cat or dog), a low flying predator or a perched owl are noticed. Sometimes this is followed by mobbing behaviour in which birds gather together in flocks to counter a predator. The begging-call is used by juveniles to beg for food from parents.



Source: Danmarks natur, Felthåndbogen; DOF, Dansk Ornitologisk Forening, English wikipedia  


photo : grethe bachmann & stig bachmann nielsen, naturplan.dk








6 comments:

Teresa Evangeline said...

Your photos are stunningly beautiful, particularly the top one. What a gorgeous little bird. I also love your new header image, those undulating hills are so appealing... lovely post, Grethe. Buddy sends snowy greetings...

Thyra said...

Hej Teresa!
It's so nice to hear from you and have a greeting from Buddy. Hello Buddy, take care not to get lost in the snow.

My own bird photos are old. I must pull myself together and go down to the park with my camera this s spring. When I'm out on Saturdays I don't see the little birds.
The top photo is one of Stig's. He has to do some effort because it has to be used commercially in the firm. I'm too sloppy because it's my own photos !!
That's how I am! I lift the camera, click, finish. No need to spend too much time on that! But there is some sorting afterwards...

Have a nice week-end
xoxoxo
to you and Buddy!
Grethe ´)

Out on the prairie said...

Lovely shots of this beautiful little bird.I really enjoyed this and would love to see them uip close.

Thyra said...

Hej Steve, I'm glad you've enjoyed it. We've got snow again here - and to-morrow they predict lots of snow and snow drift. I've just seen some blue tits and great tits today, eating nuts from a feeding box. They must be confused! Where is spring?

But the snowdrops and eranthis have come up. Good sign!

Have a nice Sunday!
Grethe `)

Linda said...

Your photos are delightful and gorgeous! Thank you so much for sharing.

Thyra said...

Hej Linda!

Thank you so much for your sweet comment. I'd love to see you again here.

Grethe ´)