Long tailed tits knocking on window!


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Long tailed tits knocking on window!

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Does anyone know why I have long tailed tits knocking on my window?  The window is a french window with leaded lights.  They cling onto the lead bit and then tap on the window as if they are feeding from a bird feeder.  At first I thought they could see the reflection of the bird feeders opposite in the window at certain times of the day, usually around four o'clock, but then I was woken up by one tapping on my bedroom window this morning.  I would love to know the reason.  thanks.

Also, would the goldfinches have babies yet?  There are some very small birds that are not as vividly coloured as the goldfinches and, one of them particularly, is almost red all over.  They feed on the nyger feeder.  I wondered if they were lesser redpolls but I really can't place them.  I would be grateful for any suggestions.


All Replies
  • Hi Patsy

    welcome to the forum, i hope you enjoy it here,

    the long tails could be collecting cobwebs for their nests or just finding little insects there to eat.

    I would say it's too early for goldfinch young as yet, they sound as if they are redpolls, there have been lots of them

    around this year.

    regards    Val


  • Almost certainly cobwebs. Keep an eye on where they fly off to, if you can see the nest through binoculars (and without disturbing it most importantly), have a look at it .. one of the best creations in the natual world!


  • thanks for your answers.  I don't think it is cobwebs cos the window is on a windy side of the house and there are no cobwebs that I can see.  The birds fly straight back to the feeders on the tree about eight feet away from the window.  Same goes for little insects I think.  There is nothing to see on the window at all.

  • Hello Patsy. Welcome from me too.

    What a charming if a bit puzzling first post from you :)

    My theory is that LTTs are very short sighted, so they may think their own reflection is a friend (LOL)

    They are such lovely little birds, aren't they.



  • Maybe that's why you have no cobwebs - they are taking them before you notice (LOL)

  • I agree - I think they think the reflection is a friend/rival and is trying to chase it away.

  • Or they are kissing! :)

  • :)

  • I wonder if Tern has hit on the answer here,I have seen other birds do this on windows and on cars in fact anywhere where they can see their own reflection.We often get birds doing this of the windows of our flat,any sized bird from L.T.Tits to Wood Pigeons.

  • Hello River Child,

    Some highly territorial birds will attack windows, car external driving mirrors, hub-caps and other reflective surfaces. They can see their own reflection on the surface, and thinking it is an intruding male, will try to attack it to defend its territory.

    This behaviour is particularly prominent during the breeding season, but can also happen at other times of the year, particularly by birds such as robins and grey wagtails who hold winter territories. There is no apparent reason to what triggers an individual bird suddenly start this behaviour, and it cannot be predicted how intense it will be and how long it will go on for. 

    Although most birds engaging in this behaviour do not hurt themselves in the process, many people look for ways to stop it, either because they are concerned for the bird, or because it is an irritation to themselves. The only way to stop this behaviour is to remove the trigger – the reflection. This means putting something such as cling film or non-reflective cellophane on the outside of the window. 

    Once the reflection has disappeared, the attacks should stop. Newspaper can also be used, but some birds tear it off thinking that the adversary is hiding behind the paper. Curtains made of strips of plastic that flutter in a breeze may also be effective. Often birds habitually attack only a particular window, but sometimes different windows may be attacked in sequence depending on the position of the sun. The behaviour sequence can sometimes be broken if the first window in the sequence is treated.


  • Hi Patsy

    Claire has given you the best answer here. We have had many threads about birds attacking their reflections in the forums before, so yours isn't an isolated incident.

    Hopefully, your visiting LTT's will stop doing this when they have paired up and are nest building or feeding youngsters. :-)

    Your very small birds will almost certainly be lesser redpolls. :-)

  • Hi! I have exactly the same thing! They are definately not pecking at cobwebs or look like they are trying to find something to eat. Even when you touch the window they stay there! I have videoed them doing it!

    They just fly to the fat balls and back again...drives my border collie crazy!!!!

    No idea why they are doing it, and ive never seen them doing it before, but they are gorgeous and gives you the real opportunity to get up close to them!

  • Rather bizarrely I had exactly the same thing today. Three light taps on the window right next to where I was sitting at this very desk.  I turned and there was a Long tailed Tit giving me an appraising sort of look.


  • We are getting lots of queries like this in Wildlife Enquiries at the moment, have a look at our blog for more information on this behaviour and to see what else is going on at the moment.

    I would agree that they could be male lesser redpolls and some of them have an amazing blush red colour to their breasts at this time of year. There are a good number visiting the feeders at the Lodge reserve at the moment with a few mealy redpolls in the mix as well.

  • I have had the same this morning, on a window on the opposite side of the house to the sun. some of the time the (long tailed) tit would pull a feather in its breast before flying up off the window sill and pecking. very strange...