Tuesday, 24 December 2013

24/12/13: hanging and holding.

It is not uncommon to see a Blue Tit, Great Tit or Coal Tit holding a seed or a nut under a foot or sometimes with both feet while it pecks at it and eats it. They generally carry the food item to a suitable branch that allows them to perch and hold onto the food item securely. Today I photographed an interesting variation on this food holding but this time it was a Long-tailed Tit.

A small flock of Long-tailed Tits came to the feeders and while some clung onto the wire mesh and pecked at the sunflower hearts in the usual manner another was hanging from a twig nearby. When I got the camera on the bird I realised it was only hanging from the twig by one foot and was holding a sunflower heart in the other. It then fed on the sunflower heart much in the way you or I would eat a chocolate bar; using its foot like a hand. It hung there for around 20 seconds until it finished off the seed. While it is not uncommon to see Long-tailed Tits hanging upside down to feed I have never seen one holding food in this way. It showed a great deal of dexterity and repositioned the seed in its foot as it ate it. I love capturing interesting behaviour like this and especially when it is something I have never seen before.

Long-tailed Tit taking a bite from a seed it is holding in its foot.
I put together a little video of the best shots.

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