Bird of the week

Shooting Times & Country Magazine - - SPORTING ANSWERS - By Gra­ham Ap­ple­ton

We miss the golden hue of yel­lowham­mers when they dis­ap­pear from the tops of our hawthorn hedges, and the glo­ri­ous song of the sky­lark, but what do we lose if wil­low tits dis­ap­pear? If only wil­low tits were colour­ful or tune­ful then per­haps we would mourn their pass­ing. It is un­for­tu­nate to be a small, brown bird with an un­re­mark­able song — we have lost more than 90 per cent of our wil­low tits in the past 50 years. In south-east Eng­land the species has vir­tu­ally dis­ap­peared. A bird­watcher in al­most any part of the coun­try will be very pleased to see one. Wil­low tits will some­times turn up in a flock of mixed tits and even at gar­den feed­ers. Un­for­tu­nately, a wil­low tit is very sim­i­lar to the more nu­mer­ous marsh tit so it will be hard to prove that you have seen one — es­pe­cially to a scep­ti­cal, bird­watch­ing friend.

The red-listed wil­low tit is now a rare sight for Bri­tish bird­watch­ers

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