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Feb 01 2014

Four Tits, a Woodpecker, and a Nuthatch Fly Up to a Feeder….

It can get awfully busy at RQ’s feeder on a cold winter morning. Check out the crowd she had just a few days ago! (Also: Someone’s going to have to write a mildly-bawdy and possibly feminist punchline for that post title.)

First, some Blue Tits:

Blue Tit I

Blue Tit I

So, note the fact it’s bloody freezing. These little birdies know it’s a good idea to fuel up on fat when it’s cold, so they’re all over the pig fat.

Blue Tit II

Blue Tit II

Nice profile on that one perching on the rim of the feeder, there. You’ll notice it looks just like a chickadee. That’s because tits are chickadees. Silly people throughout the world and their different terms for the same thing! In Europe, chickadees are tits; in America, tits are chickadees. I can see this leading to misunderstandings.

It gets worse when the Great Tits come to hang round the place.

Great Tit I

Great Tit I

Try not to shout “Great tits!” when non-birders are present. You will only embarrass yourself.

Great Tit II

Great Tit II

This really horrible stand-up routine in Mike Meyers’s Fat Bastard voice is going through my head right now. I can’t make it stop. Damn you, person who gave this species its common name.

Great Tit III

Great Tit III

It’s scientific name is Parus major. I don’t know what Parus means, and I’m afraid to ask. Lovely birds, though. Very nice.

Crapholio, now my mind’s stuck in an elementary-age humor loop. Let’s move on to the Willow Tit, shall we?

Willow Tit I

Willow Tit I

RQ’s wondering if these are now considered the same species as the marsh tit, as they are similar and her bird book has forsworn marsh tits altogether. Anyone?

Willow Tit II

Willow Tit II

I like them. They’re rather understated compared to the brilliant yellow plumage of the others. But they’re a bit elusive, so we haven’t many photos of them.

For our fourth tit, we have got one with a proper geology name: Coal Tit!

Coal Tit I

Coal Tit I

I have a fondness for black-and-white, so these are lovely. I like the racing stripes on their wee heads.

Coal Tit II

Coal Tit II

This one is very serious about breakfast. Cannot be distracted nor dissuaded.

Well, at least, not until the woodpecker comes round. All the tits leave when the woodpecker arrives. There’s a metaphor in that, isn’t there?

Woodpecker I

Woodpecker I

Love that feeding position.. “Ima kick back and have me some fat.” That’s how it’s done, folks.

 

Woodpecker II

Woodpecker II

The plumage is just fantastic – love that black and white with that ruby red, just magnificent. They’re “known in Latvian as the variegated/motley/spotted woodpecker (depending on your translation of choice).”

Woodpecker III

Woodpecker III

This one looks like a female, if I’m not much mistaken. I like how all of them start out getting the good stuff underneath that hasn’t been pecked over.

Woodpecker IV

Woodpecker IV

One more, because the sun shining off its red spot was just too great to pass up.

Now we’re on to nuthatches.

Nuthatch I

Nuthatch I

How darling is that birdie, curving its body to fit the curving branch? Lovely photo, that.

Nuthatch II

Nuthatch II

And now it’s on its way down the trunk to get some fat, too. Enterprising little things. They definitely know what they want and need.

Thank you, RQ, for all the lovely birdies!

18 comments

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  1. 1
    nickb

    Great Spotted Woodpecker specifically. If it is all the same individual, then it is male I’m afraid. III isn’t showing the red nape from this angle, which AFAIK is the only real distinguishing feature.

  2. 2
    StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return!

    It’s scientific name is Parus major. I don’t know what Parus means, and I’m afraid to ask.

    Wikipedia has an answer but I’m still not sure given the word has a couple of meanings still.

    See :

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parus_major

    if you dare.

  3. 3
    Lithified Detritus

    Hurray! The camera must be fixed! Nice pictures.

    It’s always fun to chase down words & their origins.

    Parus is defined here, but as a suffix, so I’m not sure how relevant it is.

    From Wikipedia:

    The name titmouse is recorded from the 14th century, composed of the Old English name for the bird, mase (Proto-Germanic *maison, German Meise) and tit, denoting something small.

    So I guess the Great Tit is the “big small?”

    1. 3.1
      rq

      Yah, the camera got fixed shortly before Christmas but I haven’t had much chance to play with it. :) The birds were a first exercise.

  4. 4
    rq

    I’m pretty sure it was all one woodpecker, and yes, male.
    Also, today had our first sighting of a crested tit at the feeder (photo for demonstrative purposes only). My photos hopefully forthcoming!
    And the title is a great intro to some seedy bird porn.

  5. 5
    Trebuchet

    Just don’t search for “blue tits” with safe search off.

    I’m having a little difficulty telling the difference between the blue and great ones. Is the shape of the white mark on the face a little different? Awesome pictures, regardless. The woodpecker looks much like our Hairy Woodpecker. Perhaps a bit smaller however.

    1. 5.1
      rq

      The blue one has a distinct (in real life, mind you… the pictures are from across the yard through a tinted window…) blue cap on the head, with a white line around it. Also, brighter blue feathering on the back, and paler colouring on the belly. The great tits are grey on the back, and a more solid (black) cap on the head and around the chin, with far brighter yellow colouring on the belly. The difference is easier to spot in real life. :)
      Also, this woodpecker is pretty similar to the downy woodpecker I was familiar with in Canada… though larger. :)

      1. Trebuchet

        I almost said the Downy, but decided the Hairy was closer in size. That’s about the only way to tell the two apart even though, according to Wikipedia, they aren’t all that closely related.

  6. 6
    StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return!

    D’oh! First line there was meant to be in quotes sorry.

  7. 7
    StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return!

    @3.Lithified Detritus :

    Um, I clicked your link and got this warning :

    Danger: Malware Ahead!
    Google Chrome has blocked access to this page on www. myetymology (dot) com.
    Content from www (dot)speedylook com, a known malware distributor, has been inserted into this web page. Visiting this page now is very likely to infect your computer with malware.
    Malware is malicious software that causes things like identity theft, financial loss, and permanent file deletion.

    so I clicked back. :-(

    1. 7.1
      Lithified Detritus

      Yikes!

      I’m using Titanium security software for Macintosh, which is usually pretty good, but it didn’t flag that site. Maybe it’s a Mac v. Windows issue.

    2. 7.2
      Lithified Detritus

      Here is what it says:

      Classical Latin suffix -parus
      derived from the Latin word parere (to beget; appear, be visible, be seen; bear; give birth to; beget; obey, be subject, obedient to)
      derived from the Proto-Indo-European root *perə-

  8. 8
    Lithified Detritus

    RQ’s wondering if these are now considered the same species as the marsh tit, as they are similar and her bird book has forsworn marsh tits altogether. Anyone?

    Apparently not, but closely related.

    It’s been snowing (again!) and is now switching over to light rain – good day to stay indoors. I’ve got grading to do, but looking up birds is more fun…

    1. 8.1
      rq

      Interesting, because the local internet shows them as two separate species (see here), but my birding book only shows the willow tit. Plus some of the Latin names are slightly different, so I’m thinking a certain rearrangement of the tit group has occurred. That list also has the ultimate in tit awesomeness, the azure tit… I’d love to spot one of those, but that one also doesn’t appear in my birding book, so it’s either a rarity or a recent arrival. But it’s pretty!

  9. 9
    heliconia

    Thanks for the lovely pictures, RQ! They brightened my day (and would have even without the rude puns).

  10. 10
    Daniel Schealler

    All I can think of now is this:

    http://www.forlackofabettercomic.com/?id=261

  11. 11
    heliconia

    Dickcissel and woodcock. Just so we cover all the bases. Oh also, northern wheatears were originally called white-arse.

  12. 12
    rq

    Now I can’t stop laughing.

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