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Great Titmouse

Titmice (or simply Tits), are referred to in Northern America as Chickadees as well. In summer they fly about rather unnoticed but as soon as winter comes you will see them virtually everywhere. A number of species can become really tame. Tits are intelligent birds that over the years adapted themselves to the changing environment. For instance they learned how to open milk bottles to get to the tasty cream on top of the milk. Most Titmice are resident birds that don't migrate at all or if they do its over short distances only. The best known Tit is perhaps the Great Tit. Like most Tits this is a hole nesting bird.

The Great Titmouse is just a little bigger than the Blue Titmouse and in the garden it is just as common, lively and attractive. It's a bird that starts to sing very early in spring (often it's still winter), although it's song isn't very impressive most of the times. Of all the tits this one looks for food on the ground most regularly and in winter it can be found in groups of little birds with among others Blue Tits and Greenfinches. Great Tits are curious and intelligent birds. They will use whatever source of food people willingly or not supply and in that respect resemble the even more nosy Blue Tit very much.

With most tits it is impossible to identify males and females by just looking at them. The Great Tit however is the exception. The blue line on the chest of the bird is much bigger in males and runs all the way down. The female's tie is much smaller and often less colourful. It narrows towards the end and the last part exists of just a few smears before the line ever reaching the female's legs. The two top pictures show you the differences clearly, but we should add that sometimes it is less obvious than in these two pictures.

This bird belongs to the family of Tits or Titmice, in the Usa and Canada called Chickadees, (Paridae). It is very common in our garden and can be seen in Holland all year round. The bird is 5" and weighs 20 grams. It lives in woodlands, parks and gardens mostly. It eats insects, berries, seeds and spiders. Compared to the male, the female is slightly paler, but it usually is very hard to tell the difference by the colour. The Great Titmouse makes a nest in a hole. Actually any hole will do, including those in rocks, trees, or those made bij woodpeckers or man. Not less than eight to twelve eggs are produced (usually four to six survive). They are bred for two weeks. It takes the young some 18 days to be able to fly out of the nest.

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