There’s a Long-Tailed Bushtit family moving through. I can hear them calling their strange ‘Zeee’ contact call overhead. Aren’t they fabulous?
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.
I first saw them over 40 years ago and drew a pencil sketch in my nature notebooks:
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:
I saw youngsters two years ago:
I’m hoping I might see some fledgelings again this year.
Only 1 in every 6 nests is successful.
That’s quite extreme odds.
They are such fuzzy lollipops:
Seeing this family makes me want to go to Asia and meet their relatives.