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A Gentle Songbird

August 21, 2015

A Gentle Songbird

- as seen by -

Jonathan C. Slaght Jonathan C. Slaght

Like balls of cotton on the breeze, long-tailed tits flit through the tree canopy in undulating, chittering flocks. These birds are not uncommon—with seventeen subspecies and a broad distribution from Scandinavia to Japan—but I am always pleased to stumble into their midst.

In addition to their nearly-unbearable cuteness, these diminutive birds also have hearts of gold: long-tailed tits are a species that exhibits altruism. Instead of attempting to breed again if a nest fails in a given year, some individuals choose to aid their neighbors; usually relatives. These “helper” birds go out of their way to bring food to the young chicks, defend them from predators, and increase the chances of those chicks surviving to leave the nest. Such acts only endear me more to these gentle songbirds.

Canon Rebel XTI

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