by Carol Townsend
There are many
kinds of tits in the UK, for example:
Blue Tits (Cyanistes caeruleus); Long- tailed
Tits (Aegithalos caudatus); Crested Tits (ophophanes
cristatus); Coal Tits (Periparus ater) and Zebra
Tits. (Pyjamus Stripeus)
We have a
nestbox on the fence, shaped like a Swiss chalet.
One morning two years ago a pair of young Great
Tits (parus major) came house- hunting.
what do you think dear? said Mr Tit.
Will it be warm and dry? Mrs Tit replied.
then the other, hopped inside.
think that will do Ill be happy to lay the
eggs in there said Mrs Tit.
I am not a
twitcher. A twitcher is someone who likes to
visit places to see a certain species so they can
write it down in a notebook. If a rare bird is
sighted anywhere in the country they will drop
everything to go and see it, and quite often the
bird in question has vanished by the time they
arrive. A friend of ours dashed all the way from
the south of England to Scotland to see a rare
migrant, only to find it had returned from whence
I, on the
other hand, do enjoy seeing birds in our garden,
but I never write anything in a notebook. I spend
a fortune on seeds and nuts which I put into
feeders, and whenever I can I stand vigil against
marauding, well-fed cats.
The tits spent
many days carrying first nesting material, then
food for the chicks. This did not go un-noticed
by the Cat-From-Next-Door-But-One. If I saw it
anywhere near the nestbox I would open the door
and shout at it, and it would sit and glare at me:
Huh, Im not scared of you.
So then I
would have to dash out of the door, flapping my
arms and screaming like a demented banshee with
her underwear on fire.
declared war on the cat.
wait mate, I have a Secret Weapon.
What is the
one thing cats do not like? Water. I would get a
cup of water and throw it in the cats
direction and it would scuttle away for dear life.
tired of the war, so decided to employ guerrilla
tactics. I placed a bowl of water on the fence so
that the cat couldnt get to the nestbox
without wading through it. As I had hoped, it
decided it wasnt worth the effort and kept
away after that.
were rewarded two weeks later when I saw three
little balls of fluff in the magnolia.
Last year I
didnt see the chicks, but this year we had
a Great Tit family again, and this time no cats,
and I have seen three young ones in the magnolia.
if you are in Britain, please join the Royal
Society for the Protection of Birds, and help
protect our Tits.