If a coal tit could ever be accused of looking like a miniature carol singer, this little fella would be guilty as charged! Merry Christmas from all of us here at Nature's Home Magazine (photo courtesy of Nature's Home reader, Morgan Caygill). 

When carefully selecting a submission for our Photo of the week (Christmas special), we stumbled across this chirpy little fellow and knew straight away we had found a winner.

Well done Morgan - you've captured a real 'Christmas cracker' here - whether you realised it or not! All he's missing is a miniature hymn book, scarf and hat and he wouldn't look out of place at Midnight Mass. In the spirit of good cheer (and slightly questionable RSPB ethics) we've created an artist's impression for your sheer delight:

 Copyright_RSPB

Did you know?

Coal tits weigh little more than a 50 pence piece - they are the smallest of the British tits, 10 - 11cm tip to tail. These little beauties are some of the worst affected by cold winters – so make sure you're replenishing those feeders!

They have a hidden crest - when a coal tit is agitated, they have the ability to raise their head feathers to form a small spike or crest. Some people say the coal tit’s head appears too large for its body, but we think this only adds to their unique character.

Their latin name is - Perparus Ater - part of the Paridae family (also known as the tit family). UK conservation status - Green

At this time of year – when food is sparse, coal tits are known to form flocks. Look out for little groups of 10 or more frequenting your garden, or darting from the trees on your woodland walks. You could always try packing a little bird seed (alongside your flask of hot chocolate and leftover Christmas cake) to create a winter spectacle worth remembering.

For more information on coal tits, please visit 5 facts to know about coal tits or our Bird A-Z. There’s also a rather nice Q&A on the feeding habits of coal tits (more aptly why a coal tit was seen placing food in a spider’s web) here.

Don’t forget to take part in the Big Garden Birdwatch (25 - 27 of January). The coal tit is likely to be one of the birds visiting during the chosen hour. Sign-up and request your pack today!

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