Monday, 8 June 2009

Bento is back!

Last year, we had a real character among the great tits coming for mealworms. We'd nicknamed it Bento, for a fairly obvious reason, clearly visible on the photo below, taken as he was visiting one of the feeders (before customisation): the feather at the edge of its left wing was bent.

But it was also recognisable by its character, very confident, forward, demanding... He was always very quick to let me know I was late in refilling the feeders. I'll never forget (well I might, but it'll take some time), one day I was at the sink when I saw it appear and then hover in front of me looking me straight in the eyes while calling loudly. I obeyed pronto! He managed to have 2 broods, so I guess his approach worked.

This year, we were wondering if we would see him again. Early on, there was this one, nicknamed Thumper by my other half, as it would often arrive on the feeder rather heavily, with a big thump, and being generally a bit of a bully to the other birds. But nothing decisive.

Them, last Wednesday, I was on the balcony taking photos of the passionflower which had started flowering, and chatting with a neighbour, when I heard a light metallic sound and my neighbour said "Don't move, a bird has landed right above you". I move very slowly, and this great tit was on the flue, less than a metre from me...

You may notice the small feather sticking out? on its left wing? I actually got to get an even better look on Friday afternoon and the feather at the edge is missing... My other half was working at home and to give him some peace and quiet I had removed the feeder in the front room and put mealworms on the window sill by my desk, giving me very clear and closer views. That evening, I texted the neighbour I share the mealworm feeding with about it, and she replied immediately "Funny you should mention Bento, I saw one today reminded me very much of him". She feeds the robins by throwing mealworms on the ground [when they don't come and help themselved in her kitchen], and it would come and pick them up in front of them, and more than one at a time (which most tits don't). I saw him take 5, almost 6, albeit rather small ones, at once, quite a feat! He now takes 2 of the big ones almost every time. To finish, this morning, I had not even finished putting the feeder back on its hooks after refilling that it had already landed on it...

I think, odds are it is the same bird. And I am very pleased it's back :) On its second brood already more than likely, all the fledged young great tits have been fairly independent for a while now.


  1. Sounds great. I want a Bento!

  2. I'm afraid I can't put him in a box and send it to you...

  3. I loved reading the story of glad he returned and the passion flower is so beautiful!