A Tale of a Great Tit

This is a tale of a Great Tit.

In fact, not one Great Tit, but two Great Tits.

Indeed, this is a tale of two Great Tits.

It was a beautiful Saturday morning. My beloved and I were cuddled under plush blankets, denying the beckoning of cold floors and empty cereal bowls. The night had been chilly, and the windows were closed. The house was quiet, save for the sporadic jolting cackle of the refrigerator. No bother. Five more minutes. Just five more minutes, we kept promising one another. Then we’ll get of bed. Just five more minutes.

And that’s when we heard it – at some moment between five minutes and five minutes: It was the call of the Great Tit. We couldn’t be certain until we ventured out beyond the boundaries of the mattress, but there was one thing that had to be for certain – it was in the house. Spurred by this exhilarating curiosity, my beloved and I slithered out from under the sheets, slipped into our house shoes, and ventured into the unknown.

We heard the call again. Somewhere in our midst was the Great Tit. As we tiptoed out of the bedroom, down the stairs, and into the dimly lit living area, we knew that we were getting closer because the calls were getting louder. However, the Great Tit eluded us.  We tread lightly, aware that a hasty approach may ruin any chance of sighting.

After some time, we concluded to our dismay that the Great Tit must have been close, but not quite inside the house. An illusion of the mind.

Later on in the day, we were minding our own business when we heard it again, that sweet call in the blue.  It was back. But where? And then, there it was. It had caught my beloved’s eye, a peripheral sighting of the Great Tit. I cast my gaze in the Great Tit’s direction, and, indeed, there it was! The Great Tit, in all its glory! Perched on the banister with great intent. All along in all of our searching, we had been mistaken: the Great Tit was not in our house; rather, it was in its own house. Only that its own house was on our balcony! We spent the afternoon relishing our fortuitous sighting of our new neighbor, watching it come and go at will, when it became apparent that the frequency of homecomings was too high. That’s when we realized that there was not one Great Tit, but two Great Tits! And it seemed to be that they were here to stay!

You may still be curious – despite the clues along the way: What is a Great Tit? Well, wonder no longer.

The Great Tit is a warm-blooded vertebrate of the class Aves – in other words, a bird.

Taxonomy of the Great Tit

Species: Parus Major

Genus: Parus

Family: Paridae

Order: Passeriformes

Class: Aves

Phylum: Chordata

Kingdom: Animalia

The Great Tit is a member of the family of Paridae, or perching birds, that is found throughout Europe, the Middle East, Central and Northern Asia, and parts of North Africa. It is an easily recognized bird with its black and white head, pale yellow-green nape, and black bib extending as a black line down the middle of its bright yellow underparts. It is typically found in woodlands and amongst scattered trees, but has adapted well to human-populated areas, nesting in objects with holes. Which is how these two Great Tits found their way onto our little balcony. All Saturday, we watched these black-bibbed beauties build a nest in a neglected, made-in-china vase sitting on the balcony for lack of a better purpose. As the saying goes: “one man’s junk is another man’s treasure.” It was, however, only the female who built the nest – as is apparently the case for Great Tits. She toiled with such skill and finesse, taking flight from the balcony railing directly to the street, returning minutes later with a beak full of dried leaves and other such delicacies, diving into the vase, and rising moments later only to repeat the process. As we soon discovered, Great Tits are usually monogamous, and although she toiled on her own, her significant other did join her once the task was complete. We assumed that he was just keeping watch slightly off in the distance. When the nest was complete, they spent their time perched on the railing and the balcony furniture, basking in the sun, and vocalizing in distinct calls and songs. We look forward to the springtime with great anticipation, for over the next few months, the female Tit will lay her eggs in the vase nest and a whole new generation of Great Tits will populate the world.

The Great Tit perched on the balcony railing

It’s a little risqué to say, I know, but I am overwhelmed by punny-ness, for what’s a girl to do when she’s got two Great Tits? And come springtime, so many more!

This tale of a Great Tit has only just begun.

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