Great Tit behaviours

One day I watched a interesting situation with a Great Tit and a Woodpigeon. A Woodpigeon was Eating out of a food bowl and has a habit of standing on the bowl or even in  sometimes. This time he was just eating out of the bowl and then a Great Tit that had been useing the bird bath recently just flew into the Bird bath and then stood right on the edge of the Bird bath and when he saw the Woodpigeon he didnt act like he exspected to see the Woodpigeon  and then he puffed his or her chest out and seemed to be trying to provoke the pigeon when he or she was calling cause it wasnt a sweet call and made the Woodpigeon defensive. He stood up and tried to appear tall then shrink back down again and stand up tall again like the great tit and then the great tit kept trying to appear bigger than the wood pigeon but the Woodpigeon aroached the tit and tried to appear even talller and puffed his chest out and the great tit kept makeing noises  and puffing his chest and bending down and trying to stand even bigger than before exspeaciaky when the Woodpigeon went right up to him and the great tit wouldn’t back down even the Woodpigeon stretched his wings out and flapped his wings while appearing even bigger right up close to the Great tit eventually the great tit bent down and flew off into the tree. The great tit didn’t show any other signs of stress aside from his call but even then he was extremely confidant. The great tit seemed like he or she was sure he is taller than the Woodpigeon and wasn’t afraid of the Pigeon at all. I never seen a small bird trying to scare another bird away thats  much bigger than him or try to look like he’s stronger than a bigger bird like a wood pigeon which is the biggest pigeon in Gloucestershire UK. Why would a a small bird like a great tit think he or she can scare a much bigger bird than him away?  Do you know what that behaviour was? 

  • The Woodpigeon movements sound fairly typical, so perhaps they weren't aimed at the tit.

    The only (hopefully helpful) observation I can add, Zo, is that tits (particularly Great and Blue tits) are among the tough customers of the bird world.

    Re small bird vs. big bird, I've seen Crag Martins pulling the tail feathers of Sparrowhawks and individual White Wagtails driving off newly arrived (from migration) Black Kites (both, admittedly, in flight).

    I read on the BTO website that pairs of Peregrines have been known to develop techniques for successfully bringing down very large raptors.

    Size isn't, as the saying goes, everything.

    Dave
  • it’s wasnt the general flapping  it was a threatening gesture. He stared directly at the tit and directly approached the tit standing up tall with his chest out and flapped repeatedly at the tit cause he felt threatened by the tit.  He felt threatened by the tit cause he was trying to eat and  the tit was standing up strait and puffing his chest at him and bending down and then trying to stand taller. and letting out attention grabbing  high pitched stress calls at him as if trying to get the pigeons attention and dominate him. He was seemed sure he will win and chase the pigeon away. It looked more like a competition of who can appear the biggest. The Woodpigeon actually stared down at the tit and towered over him. The tit realised he was the less dominant one cause the tit did back down eventually and flew into the tree. At first it looked like the Great Tit would win but the chances went down the more distracted and stressed by the great tit the Woodpigeon got. It did look like the Woodpigeon would win instead cause of how  intimidating the Woodpigeon was behaveing towards him. It was interesting watching the interaction between them. It was like the tit tried to challenge the pigeon even though he doesn’t stand much of a chance against the pigeon.

  • Hello Zo,
    The neck craning (if that's what the pigeon was doing) is standard behaviour; I've always believed it's about increasing field of view, and not about aggression or posturing. I could be wrong though (and often am).

    To stare down at the tit, I think the pigeon would need to turn its head to one side (not sure how good their vision is head on; again, I could be wrong). Is that what you saw?

    Dave
  • No it wasnt neck craneing. The bowl is near the bird bath and He already spotted the tit land on the Bath. but wasn’t bothered about the tit landing on the bird Bath at first so attempted to keep eating but when the tit tryed to invite the pigeon to a competition to see whos the biggest bird he found it distracting and started look uncomfortable.

    But the Woodpigeon doesn’t like it when it’s loud and noisy and gets scared by sudden noises so when the tit started squealing at him repeatedly he could barely concentrate at all. So he kept looking at the tit and looking back at his food again and then looking back at the tit over and over again.

    with some of the birds in the garden you can tell some of them apart cause they have there own unique personalitys.

    if a Bird disturbs him or makes him uncomfortable he flaps frantically and chases them off and for this pigeon it seems to go for any bird that makes him distracted or uncomfortable.  But like most Woodpigeons its even more so with small birds or other Woodpigeons. But  if they mind there own buisness and dont go near him or disturb him he doesn’t mind them.

    . Cause the tit competed with him and was squealing at him the wood pigeon turned away from the bowl and walked away from the bowl He walked right up to the Bird bath looking directly at the tit but Stareing at him.


    While walking up to the tit he joined in puffing his chest out and standing up strait flapping his wings frantically hopeing to look bigger and scare the tit off to stop him makeing so much noise.

    The pigeon got too close and imposing so tit got uncomfortable and flew away. The Woodpigeon walked away from the bath afterwards and carried on eating from the bowl