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Coal tit planting seeds (1 Viewer)

DomG

Member
United Kingdom
Hi,
Has anyone noticed this behaviour at all. I certainly haven't but maybe I wasn't watching carefully enough. It's a follow on from the feeder discussion actually. I have several feeders at one end of the garden. At the mo I'm just dispensing sunflower seeds and sunflower hearts. They are both popular with greenfinch, goldfinch, tits , siskin and parakeets (!!!!) while the dunnocks and woodpigeons are happy to sit underneath to hoover up the spills. The other day I noticed a coal tit taking a seed, flying off and returning about 20 secs later. I remarked that he was a busy little soul and supposed he must have a nest full of chicks, but then I noticed that he wasn't actually leaving the garden. No, instead, he was flying down to the other end with his seed and planting it in the plantpots there. Each time it was to a different pot. Some have germinated now and started to emerge as plants. Is this common behaviour? Why would he do this? I can always do with help in the garden but, on balance I think I would like to choose what goes in!!!
 

DomG

Member
United Kingdom
Thanks for the video. I was wondering though, does the bird plant the seed so he can come back and reclaim it later, or has it evolved the skill of planting it so that it grows and provides a thousand seeds a few months later? Sunflowers grow incredibly quickly: in fact they germinate after only a couple of days in the right conditions, and after the flower itself dies, the seeds are available to harvest well into the autumn. So if fact, unless the bird returns almost immediately, he has lost that seed. However if this is a strategy, then he has provided himself with an enormous source of food for when it will be needed most. Any thoughts?
 

Kits

Picture Picker
I would guess that they are caching it as a future food source rather than deliberately planting it to germinate.
 

Mila

Well-known member
Thanks for the video. I was wondering though, does the bird plant the seed so he can come back and reclaim it later, or has it evolved the skill of planting it so that it grows and provides a thousand seeds a few months later? Sunflowers grow incredibly quickly: in fact they germinate after only a couple of days in the right conditions, and after the flower itself dies, the seeds are available to harvest well into the autumn. So if fact, unless the bird returns almost immediately, he has lost that seed. However if this is a strategy, then he has provided himself with an enormous source of food for when it will be needed most. Any thoughts?
They would find and eat it when it is needed, definitely not to plant the trees.
 

coal

Member
United Kingdom
Coal tits cache food to eat later but they are prone to forget where they put it. Great tits sometimes follow coal tits and steal their buried food.
 
ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Columbia
ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Columbia
ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Columbia

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