Advice/input wanted - ringed great tit possibly sick?

Hi, I'm looking for some thoughts on what could be going on with this wee guy, who currently comes to the feeders on my balcony here in Glasgow.

He's larger and scruffier than the other great tits and seems to be a bit slower and sort of hunchbacked. I started to think he could be puffed up and sick so got some footage of him - in which I can see he has a bald patch on his throat and patchy face feathers, which are possibly damp and matted. I also then realised he is ringed.

As far as I can tell he is uninjured. He is alert, managing to eat and does not show signs of respiratory distress. I'm assuming this rules out anything terribly infectious like bird flu. He comes and goes and appears to have a mate and nestlings.

I sought advice from the SSPCA and they weren't too worried which put my mind at ease. I did forget to mention the fact he is ringed though.

My questions are:
Any ideas what could be wrong with him and should I take any further action given he is ringed?
I wonder if it's possible he has been captured by the SSPCA and checked over/treated then ringed before release? I have no idea if this would be the procedure.
Or should I be reporting spotting him somehow to a study? And if so, then how?

I'm struggling to find relevant information/answers elsewhere so input would be very much appreciated!

  • If you can make out the number on the ring it can be reported here: app.bto.org/.../rings.jsp

    You say he’s a bit slow and puffed up, which might indicate he’s unwell. Equally, scruffy feathers might just indicate an avian “dad bod”. I can only suggest keeping him under obs — if he does show signs of illness you should probably stop feeding for a bit and disinfect.

    Resources:

    www.rspb.org.uk/.../

    directory.helpwildlife.co.uk/
  • Hi CBL, very often at this time of year adult breeding birds, especially the female can look quite scruffy as it takes a lot of energy to lay eggs, incubate them and raise the chicks with many flights to source food and it is not surprising to see them looking "tatty". Feathers get worn as they build nests, incubate and roost keeping chicks warm at night and there can also be added problems with mites/insects in some roosting places which can cause a degree of balding to the feathers including facial area. As Internetman says, just keep the bird under observation from distance and as long as she is feeding and able to make the regular flights to source food for her chicks then I'm sure all will be fine.

    _________________________________________________________________________

    Regards, Hazel 

    "Each kindness shown to birds or men is sure to flutter back again" 

  • Hi Internetman and Hazy, thanks so much for your responses. They have put my mind at ease a lot :))

    I think now that 'Scruff' as I call him is actually quite elderly. As well as probably having a bit of 'dad bod' at the moment! I wonder if birds sometimes become a little hunched over as they age much like humans do, if they manage to survive for long enough.

    He definitely is a big lad though! It is interesting that the other great tits seem to be respectful of him at the feeders and tolerate him well, instead of squabbling as they do with one another. But then he is just a gentle giant!

    I'm on a mission now to try and make out the numbers on his ring. The birds all get quite close to me as I have only a small urban balcony and usually have the door open, some of them have become quite tame! But I think it's unlikely I'll be able to make out the digits on his tag clearly enough. It would be amazing to know his story!!