blue titmouse defined in 1930 yearblue titmouse - Blue Titmouse;
blue titmouse - Crown blue encircled with white; cheeks white bordered with dark blue; back olive-green; wings and tail bluish; greater coverts and secondaries tipped with white; breast and belly yellow, traversed by a dark blue line. Length, four and a half inches.
The blue tit is a commoner species than the oxeye, and is even more widely diffused in this country, its range extending from the Channel Islands to the northernmost parts of Scotland, and it has been found as a straggler in the Orkneys and the Shetlands. All the qualities that distinguish the tits and make them such engaging birds are found in a marked degree in the present species - sociability; extreme vivacity, especially in the cold season; and the power to assume an endless variety of graceful positions when clinging to the slender branches and twigs, upright or pendulous, of the leafless trees in winter. And as the blue tit is more abundant, and more familiar with man, than the others, besides having a gayer colouring, he is the favourite member of his genus. He promises, indeed, to become in time our first feathered favourite; for though he is without melody, and does not come to us with a glad message, like the swallow, and has no ancient sentiment and nursery literature, like the robin, to help him to the front, he possesses one unfailing attraction - he is an amusing creature. Perhaps our progenitors were less susceptible in that way than we are, and took no notice of the tomtit and his vagaries. In winter he may be easily won with a little food; and when he joins the mixed company of sparrows, dunnocks, blackbirds, and starlings that come to the door for crumbs and scraps, he is by contrast among them a ' winged jewel ' - a small wanderer from the tropics. In works of ornithology you will find the blue tit described as a little acrobat and harlequin, droll and grotesque and fantastic in his ways; and if this Puck among our feathered fairies can win expressions such as these from the gravest scientific writers, it is not strange that ordinary folk should find him so fascinating.
The language of the blue tit resembles that of the oxeye. Its voice is not so powerful, but the various sounds, the call and love notes, or song, composed of one note repeated several times without variation, have similar sharp, incisive, and somewhat metallic qualities.
In spring the wandering little companies break up, and about the end of April breeding begins. The nest is placed in a hole in a tree or wall, or wherever a suitable cavity is found. It is loosely formed of dry grass or moss, lined with wool, hair, and a quantity of feathers. Five to eight eggs are usually laid, in some cases as many as twelve and fourteen; in colour they are like those of the great tit, and, as in the case of that species, the incubating bird sits closely on her eggs and hisses like a snake when interfered with.
The blue tit is omnivorous in its diet. In summer it feeds principally on caterpillars, aphides, and insects of all kinds, sometimes catching them on the wing. At other seasons it eats fruit and seeds of various kinds, buds, flesh, and, in fact, almost anything it can get.
near blue titmouse in Knolik
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