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CRESTED TIT - Lophophanes cristatus

 

This endearing little bird is one of my favourite species to observe as well as photograph. It is cocky and has a distinctive trilling call and I just love that crest.  One of their last strongholds is the Cairngorms National Park as they prefer ancient Caledonian pine forests.  Cresties live here all year round but your best chance to see one is in the winter months from November through to March.

The birds come down from the high canopies to feed and store food over winter.  For the rest of the year they inhabit the tops of the trees therefore making them much harder to find.  

Cresties don’t move far, year-round, from their home territory and breed early in the year.

The majority of cresties choose to nest in old pine stumps, some in standing dead pines and only a handful in living trees. So dead wood in an old forest is vitally important to them as it is host to invertebrates.

Pine forests between Grantown-on-Spey and Kingussie is your best chance of seeing one. Glenmore cafe nr Aviemore have feeders that attract cresties, red squirrels and a whole host of other birds.  There are small numbers in Culbin Forest near Nairn, and in Glen Affric, west of Loch Ness.

They are a schedule 1 part 1 protected bird.