Tuesday 20 November 2007

Bad Idea, but Nice Birds

The initial idea behind this post was some sort of competition, something like a rumble in the jungle and a beauty pageant, a duel between two species I wanted to use to clarify once and for all which continent had the better birds, Europe or North America.
However, upon choosing the pictures I couldn't help but feel the subjects of my initial idea, the two species involved, were just far too cute for anything competitive. So here I am now, ready and motivated to write a post but deprived of an idea.

Well ...

I suppose I just move on to the pics then.

First up, one of our surely most amazing birds - and by "our" I now mean Europe - the breath-taking Long-tailed Tit.

Even though they breed commonly in this part of Germany - and the species is widespread throughout the continent - we mostly see and notice them in winter when they move around in small yet noisy flocks. The birds seen below are of a North-Eastern race as can be seen by their purely white heads. Other subspecies - and there are plenty of them - show a more stripy head and if science and taxonomy were based upon intuition, I'd say the Long-tailed Tit was ripe for a few splits. Well, for the time being there's only one, but frankly, we don't care too much as long as we get to see them often.

Oh, and in case you were wondering: we're not too sad that Giant Pandas don't occur here naturally...

The North American species I wanted to toss into the ring is none other than the Black-capped Chickadee.

Actually, "the Chick" shares quite a few things with its European relatives, I mean beyond taxonomy: it is simply too common to be noticed and truly appreciated by birders.
Which is a pity, it really is!
It might not have the delicate blue of a Blue Tit or the fine pattern of a Crested Tit but it beats the European Marsh's and Willow's and would surely have been a fierce opponent had I stuck to my initial plan with this post.

Honestly, could you easily decide which one of the two is the cutest, the nicest or most beautiful?

Go on, comment, but provide reasons if you can!

Now, looking at the pictures again, I suppose a simple line of text would have been sufficient:

Beauty is in the eye of the birder


Patrick B. said...

BC Chick wins it for me for 2 reasons:

1. I haven't seen a Long-tailed Tit in person (although it is really cool)

2. I've had Chickadees eat from my hand, but never a Long-tailed Tit.

Therefore, it wins by default. Not a very compelling argument, I guess.

Anonymous said...

The chickadee wins. Like Patrick, I haven't seen a Long-tailed Tit but the difference is I tried. Hard. And the darn birds decided never to show.

So let this be a warning to all bird species: if you don't let me see you I'll vote against you on Bell Tower Birding every time.

Take that you dastardly Long-tailed Tits.

Anonymous said...

well, problem with pictures is they dont rend justice to the Black Capped Chickadee. Im talking about their song. I can't about anything cuter than their song, then I'm still in my warm bed. Sure enough, the long-tailed tit can not have such a great song!!!!!!!!!!

Jochen, any sight of a juvenile willet in north east germany?


Nate said...

Chicks and Tits, Jochen?

Wow, Bell Tower Birding turned into a soft core porn site so gradually I barely even noticed. ; )

Larry said...

I go with the BC Chick also.-It just seems to have more character. I certainly wouldn't mind having a chance to see the other though.

Anonymous said...

That's such an easy one for me! The Long-tailed would be right up on top of my cute list! Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family!

Jochen said...

Well, it might have been a little unfair towards the Long-tail considering that this blog has almost exclusively North American readers.

Hey, Europeans! If you're out there, your vote counts!!

Okay, I wrote that I think this is really difficult, but if I had to decide, I'd probably vote for Long-tail. It really is a cuty...

Fair enough, although your first point is entirely your fault, you could easily visit the Baltic and have that fixed (hint, hint, hint, and no offence Corey).

Be careful there: you also missed the Pink-footed Goose here in Germany and then you didn't even chase one a few days later in NY.
Don't get stuck on 9,998 species...

Bonjour Laurent! C'est vraie que la Long-tailed Tit n'a pas une chanson tres jolie, mais elle est une espece extraordinaire, tres chouette.
Gosh, it's been so many years, I am sure I got it all spelt wrong.
No sign of a juvenile Willet yet, we're expecting one in about two weeks though. Thanks for asking :))

Just trying to stay competitive on a blog marked dominated by alcohol and sexy redheads.

I agree that the Chick might have more character as it is often a more solitary bird, more of a tough survivor when you see them in winter. The Long-tailed on the other hand really is the Great Panda of birds, excessively cute. So I am really undecided, maybe leaning more towards the Long-tailed...
And as chances are slim you'll see a Long-tail in CT, there's always the German Baltic Sea coast.

Jochen said...

Hi Monarch!
Seems you commented while I was commenting!
Hurrah, first external voice for the Long-tail!

Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family as well!
Oh, and as always: good birding!

By the way, some more owl banding pics would be appreciated, possibly a Great Gray moving your way?

Nate said...

I'll cast another vote for the Long-tailed Tit, but mostly because my local Chickadee is the Carolina, not the BC.

Jochen said...

Cheers, n8!

How about we call it even between the two species?

I think that's a good plan.

Rurality said...

Oh what a cute little bird! I really like that LTT.

Chris W said...

Ok. Let's face it. LT Tits are really cool birds. Even more so for me since they're so similar in color to N Shrikes (one of my fav birds). they look so pretty and those eyes are just beauutiful. However, BC Chickadee charms them right out of the tree. There's just something about them that catches our attention. I love BCCHs I could watch them for hours. they are some of the coolest birds ever. There are some birds that have grandeur and some birds that are really beautiful and some that you just have to like but Chickadees are sooo charming that they tend to best other birds even though they may not be as grand or outright beautiful. They do, though, have their own beauty as do all living things. one just has to look for it.
Oh, I do love Chickadees.

Happy Birding! --Chris W, from WI
The SW WI birder

Anonymous said...

Long Tailed Tit! Way nicer, although the ones I get back home are smudgier. In fairness you oughta have compared either Long Tailed Tits with Bushtits (drab but so cute!) or Black Capped Chickadees and Great Tits.