Female Great Tit singing while male removed for ringing

Female Great Tit singing while male removed for ringing

On 31st January 2019, I was catching birds for ringing using a 6-m mist net in a suburban garden in Liverpool, Lancashire & North Merseyside. The catch rate was low, with just one or two birds being caught in the net at any given time. At one point, a 2CY male Great Tit Parus major was caught. During the minute or so it took me to reach the net, the bird sang several times. It was a rather ‘electric’ bbrr-chhh. There were no other birds visible in the garden except for a female Great Tit, which remained approximately 2 m up in a tree, roughly 3 m from where the male was caught in the net. She was clearly agitated, moving from branch to branch and occasionally gave alarm calls while I extracted the male from the net. After extracting the male, I took him some 6 or 7 m away, close to the house, where I ringed and measured him. During this time, the male remained silent, but the female continued to give a number of alarm calls. She also sang three times, each phrase interspersed by alarm calls. Each phrase consisted of a doubled, two-note tee-cha tee-cha. It was rather weak and rather quiet compared to the typical song given by a male, but nonetheless seemed to be fully crystallised and consistent in delivery.

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