I’ve mentioned before that we feed the area birds, several species of which are a new type for me as they aren’t a part of the North American bird life. One group in particular that is new are “Kjøttmeis” (“Great tit” in English); small and energetic, their personalities are fun to watch.
From Wikipedia: The great tit is a distinctive bird, with a black head and neck, prominent white cheeks, olive upperparts and yellow underparts, with some variation amongst the numerous subspecies. It is predominantly insectivorous in the summer, but will consume a wider range of food items in the winter months, including small hibernating bats. Like all tits it is a cavity nester, usually nesting in a hole in a tree. The female lays around 12 eggs and incubates them alone, although both parents raise the chicks. In most years the pair will raise two broods. The nests may be raided by woodpeckers, squirrels and weasels and infested with fleas, and adults may be hunted by sparrowhawks. The great tit has adapted well to human changes in the environment and is a common and familiar bird in urban parks and gardens.
They visit our feeder several times a day, and are usually in a group of three or four — or a whole flock of ten or more. This autumn I’ve noticed one that is a little more aggressive than the others; it always lands with its wings outstretched and quivering, frightening off the others so it can get to the seeds first. One often flies towards our big window, hovering in front of it and then alighting on the gutter and, hanging upside down, peeking at its reflection or us inside.
We’ve also experienced something else this year for the first time. As I wrote to Alan, a bird photographer blogger I follow, three times in the last month one of them (perhaps the one hanging upside down seeming to peek in?) has flown into the house through the open sliders. I doubt it’s the same bird … but, the second time I caught it to release it outside, it sat on my finger for a moment before flying off — as if it recognized me and trusted. And a week ago, after I caught it and gently carried it outside in my cupped hands, it sat in my hands for about sixty seconds after I opened them. It stopped panting in fright, and seemed to be really *looking* at me as I talked to it. Maybe it was the same one as before? I finally had to say, ‘that’s it, time to go!’ and gently spread my hands apart so it would fly off.
I felt so honored!
Here’s a fuzzy, quick capture of the panicked look the first time it visited …
I haven’t taken the time to photograph it/them the next two times; I’ve just wanted to capture it quickly and release it before it hurt itself slamming against the windows trying to get back outside.
And here are images of them from the past year in their natural environment — outside, flying to the feeder, enjoying the seeds and sunshine, fluffed up against a dreary day’s cold and snow, and being in nature as wild birds are meant to be!
A recording of their song is here. I have heard this … but what I hear more often is their chittering and chattering at us when we’re outside — almost as if they’re demanding we go get the seeds and feed them! 🙂