Travelling family

There’s a Long-Tailed Bushtit family moving through. I can hear them calling their strange ‘Zeee’ contact call overhead. Aren’t they fabulous?

Long Tailed Bushtit - Stover - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

Everyone else seems to call them Long-Tailed Tits rather than Long-Tailed Bushtits. They’re not very closely related to the other birds called tits in the UK, such as Blue Tits, Great Tits and Coal Tits. They are more closely related to other Asian species.

It’s always a thrill to see them as they appear without warning and disappear unexpectedly.

Long Tailed Bushtit - Stover - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

I first saw them over 40 years ago and drew a pencil sketch in my nature notebooks:

Long Tailed Tit - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

I found a nest, back then, just like the one in this Ladybird book:

They always seem to travel in family groups in the winter, like a group of performing artists in a travelling circus:

Long Tailed Bushtit - Stover - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

I saw youngsters two years ago:

I’m hoping I might see some fledgelings again this year.

Long Tailed Bushtit - Stover - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

Only 1 in every 6 nests is successful.

That’s quite extreme odds.

Long Tailed Bushtit - Stover - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

They are such fuzzy lollipops:

Seeing this family makes me want to go to Asia and meet their relatives.

Long Tailed Bushtit - Stover - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)
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