Long Tailed Tit (Aegithalos caudatus)

What an enchanting little bird the Long Tailed Tit is! I never cease to be captivated by them whenever I see them.

You would think, of course, that it was related to Great, Blue and Coal Tits but it's not. It is the only British member of the family Aegithalidae whereas the others are Parudae; not a lot of people know that!

The Long Tailed Tit is a gregarious little fellow, especially in winter when they come together in feeding parties. You never see one alone; as you look around you see more and more. They also huddle together at night for warmth.

Being so small they are very susceptible to the cold and suffer heavy losses in hard winters. However, the run of continuous mild winters here in Dorset has seen numbers increase through enhanced winter survival rates and that increase in population levels is reflected in them being seen more and more in gardens. Having not featured in the top 20 garden birds before, in the last couple of years they have become our 15th most common garden bird.

I wonder how this cold spell is going to affect them? I hope they will be all right.

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