The titmouse is a bird from the titmouse family, the order of passerines. It is one of the most common birds in Europe, in addition, tits can also be found in Central and Central Asia, the Middle East and even North Africa. Tits are sedentary, for the winter they do not leave their usual habitats, and in the most severe frosts they try to stay closer to human habitation, where it is easier to find shelter and food.
The titmouse is a very useful bird, in one day it is able to eat a huge number of harmful insects, their total weight is almost equal to the mass of the titmouse itself. No wonder, in some countries even decrees were issued strictly forbidding the killing of tits. In the 14th century, Louis of Bavaria ordered a huge fine to be paid for the murder of a titmouse, a "diligent insect catcher." The offender had to pay 60 shillings, chicken and 12 chickens to the treasury.
Tits are indeed very hardworking. While feeding the chicks, they bring them prey 30-40 times in one hour, making hundreds of flights per daylight. Tits have an excellent memory, they remember well the places where they got food. Bird watchers claim that a pair of tits alone can protect at least 40 trees from pests. No wonder these birds are called the orderlies of the forest.
Tits willingly live in settlements where it is easier to get food. Moreover, people often hang feeders to help birds survive the harsh winter. But not everyone knows that black bread for tits can be deadly. The fact is that it settles in the goiter of birds and swells, since it contains a large amount of yeast. It is best to feed the tits with sunflower seeds, buckwheat and unsalted bacon.
In Russia, even Sinichkin's day was celebrated. It fell on October 30 (November 12, new style). On this day, the prepared feeding troughs were hung on the trees, if tits flocked to feed, this was a harbinger of prosperity in the house. The behavior of the tits was used to predict the weather for the coming days. It was believed that if the birds whistle, then the weather will be clear, but if they begin to squeak, then one should wait for the imminent onset of cold weather.
In the season, titmice usually have two clutches, each of which can contain up to 10-12 eggs. Tits rarely gouge a hollow for themselves in a tree trunk; more often they prefer to use abandoned nests of other birds or crevices in the walls for these purposes. Only the female is engaged in the improvement of the nest. In the wild, the life span of tits rarely exceeds three years; in captivity, they are able to live much longer.
Why was the tit named so? A quick glance at this bird is enough to make sure that the blue color in its plumage is practically not found. There are many versions about the origin of the name, one of the most plausible is that the singing of birds resembles the words "zin-zin". Of the titmouse family, only the azure tit has a blue-azure "cap" on the top of its head.
The body temperature of the titmouse varies significantly at different times of the day. During the day it is 42 degrees, and at night it drops by 3 degrees. The heart of a titmouse beats at an incredible speed - 50 beats per minute, and during an alarm, the number of beats doubles. In summer, tits wake up at sunrise, and an hour before sunset, their activity decreases significantly. Winter is the most difficult time of the year for tits; not all of them survive in cold weather.
At the beginning of the twentieth century, milk bottles began to be sealed with lids made of foil. Several years have passed, and titmouses have learned to peck at them. Moreover, they were only interested in the cream, which accumulated on top, the titmouse did not drink milk. British milkmen, who delivered their goods, preferred to insure themselves, closing the bottles on top with plastic caps.
Despite their small size, tits are far from harmless birds. Insects form the basis of their diet, but tits can even turn into aggressive predators. Small birds and bats become their victims. After a successful hunt, the tits do not eat their prey completely, most often they limit themselves to pecking out the brain. Often, tits eat the carcasses of dead animals and birds.
During flight, tits rarely flap their wings, thus spending less energy. Since tits are sedentary birds, they do not have sufficient endurance, and their flight speed is not high - up to 35 kilometers per hour. The wingspan of the tits is about 25 centimeters, and the body weight is 20 grams.
A small rivulet with the name Sinichka, the left tributary of the Yauza, flows through the territory of Moscow. It is difficult to find its channel now, since in the middle of the last century the Titmouse was enclosed in an underground collector, like most of the Moscow rivers. True, local historians believe that the name Titmouse has nothing to do with the bird, but only indicates that the water was bluish.