Great Tit Year 2016

2016 on tihase aasta.

Vaata ka Aasta linnu kodulehte

Tits are among the slowest migrating birds

Submitted by Looduskalender EN on Sat, 17.12.2016 - 23:45

Science news from the Year of the Great Tit are edited by Marko Mägi, researcher at the University of Tartu bird ecology department

Photo Uku Paal

Estonian text published 27.09.2016


A part of birds fly for winter to remote southern countries while others don’t take the trouble to go on a long journey and when winter arrives remain in place or stray to a smaller extent towards south or north. Such migrating birds which also include the tits that breed here are called roving migrants and they are seen in the literal sense of the word roving around, searching for the best wintering places. True, there are tits that go towards southern areas but in that case too not very far. The reason may be that compared to long-distance migrants the length of the wings of tits, considering body size, became relatively short during evolution since short distances can be travelled also with short wings.

Tits assess risk from predator from its shape

Submitted by Looduskalender EN on Fri, 02.12.2016 - 11:09

Science news from the Year of the Great Tit edited by Marko Mä University of Tartu Bird Ecology department
Translation Liis

Tits as well as birds of prey gather at birdfeeders and this forces the tits to be constantly on watch. Distinguishing a dangerous bird of prey from a harmless species is vitally important.  While taking to flight  is crucial if a dangerous bird of prey approaches it is not necessary to waste energy in vain  if it is harmless.

From what do the tits recognize the birds of prey that are dangerous to them? The question might seem strange at first but finding an answer has been a real challenge to scientists and because of that until now relatively poorly studied. Evidently it works by way of the birds’ sight but what precisely are the details tonte in the raptor?

Why collect winter stores if you can steal from others

Submitted by Looduskalender EN on Fri, 18.11.2016 - 22:30

Science news from the year of the great tit edited by Marko Mägi, University of Tartu Bird Ecology department
Translation Liis

Some days ago I observed a nuthatch in the park who was carrying something into a branch crevice. I was not the only one observing this, so also did a great tit. When the nuthatch disappeared out of sight the tit grabbed the booty and went off. This happened several times. Is this behaviour the reason why great tits don’t collect winter stores? Is it simpler to keep one’s eyes open, and memorize the hiding places of others, in order to empty them later?

Hissing may save great tit's life

Submitted by Looduskalender EN on Wed, 16.11.2016 - 10:48

Editor of science news from the Year of the Great Tit Marko Mägi,
Translation Liis

Many know the various songs of great tits but few have heard the bird hissing like a serpent. Hissing can be heard when you come across a female bird sitting on her eggs in a nest box, elsewhere great tits will not use this call. It is caused by predators such as least weasel, stoat, pine marten, pygmy owl, stray cats that are threats to an adult bird in a tree hollow. Although a nest in a hollow is comparatively well protected from predators the hollow can become a mortal trap if the nest is discovered – the only escape route is controlled by the predator and in the worst case the predator may even be able to get into the hollow.

Long video story: Woodpecker occupies tit’s nest box

Submitted by Looduskalender EN on Sun, 13.11.2016 - 01:23

Text and video records  Olle
Translation Liis
Estonian article published 31.10.2016



The entrance to the nest box of the great tit was made with a 3,5 cm drill. So that the greater spotted woodpecker would get into the box it must widen the opening by at least one and a half centimetres.

On Thursday, October 27th,  the woodpecker came to demolish the nest box in order to make the entrance suit its own body – an hour of hammering and a couple of hours of rest, and so two days with this schedule. A woodpecker does not easily leave something half-done and persistence led to the gaol.

On Saturday it finally squeezed in and at once started to throw out the great tit’s furnishings. As we can see it is a female greater spotted woodpecker; who has no red nape patch.

Feeding in a noisy environment means a choice between eating and being eaten

Submitted by Looduskalender EN on Fri, 09.09.2016 - 18:28

Science news for the Year of teh Great Tit edited by UT Bird ecology researcher Marko Mägi,
Photo Arne Ader
Translation Liis

Despite the fact that it is easier for birds acting together in a group to notice dangers and sound warning calls they too must keep eyes and ears open at foraging to become aware of an approaching threat. Such a mode of foraging is characteristic for many birds feeding in groups. But what happens when warning calls do not reach their aim? For instance in a noisy environment where the efficiency of warning calls is small or one’s mates do not even perceive the calls. Today humans are ever more accompanied by artificial sounds, particularly in cities where traffic noise is several times louder than the natural background of sound. Yet many birds prefer to breed, winter, forage in cities – is then the noise no problem for them?

VIDEOS: Great tit nest webcams closed for this year

Submitted by Looduskalender EN on Sat, 23.07.2016 - 08:48

Text  Margus Ots, Coordinator of Great Tit Year
Translation Liis

The second clutch of great tit chicks have left the nests now and the webcams at the nests close. The images from the webcams at the great tit nests were set up in cooperation with the Silma Märgala SA and Teetormajathe forum was organized by  Looduskalender, data transmission went by EENetTeetormajaTele2 / Televõrk and Elisa. Many thanks to all helpers!

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