Sunday, 18 May 2008

cute chicks

In America they are chickadees. In Britain they are tits.

We are lucky in that we have four species of tit visiting the garden on a regular basis.This group of five great tit (parus major) youngsters was taken in a nest box put up at the allotment. Just over a metre from this box a pair of blue tits (cyanistes caeruleus formerly parus caeruleus) have adopted another box. Both boxes are placed on posts in the fruit area of the garden that includes raspberries, tayberry, blue berries and apples.

For the gardener, birds like the great tit are a huge help. They are insect eaters and a study published in 2007 found that great tits helped to reduce caterpillar damage in apple orchards by 50%. Feeding a nest full of growing chicks gives them ample reason to hunt out every pest under every leaf they can find. Keep up the good work.

Of course, their broods are timed to coincide with an abundance of food. Matron shows well-developed chicks in the nest box in her allotment in the south of the country, where the growing season is two weeks ahead of us.

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