Blue Tit

The Blue Tit - weighs the same as a pound coin

1. Great spotted woodpeckers make their distinctive knocking sound by hitting the wood of a tree with their bills 40 times a second.

2. Swifts and house martins sleep on the wing. Just before dusk the birds gather and ascend high up in the air to roost in a warmer air layer up to 2,000 m above the ground.

3. A blue tit weighs the same as a pound coin.

4. Ever since Chaucer wrote of the 'false lapwynge, ful of treacherye', the lapwing has had an association with deceit, perhaps because of its beautiful plumage and joyous display flights.

5. The avocet is depicted on the logo of The RSPB. It colonised Britain when coastal marshes in East Anglia were flooded to provide a defence against possible invasion by the Germans.

6. The nine levels of the Chinese Civil Service are named after birds, Mandarins are the 7th level, and it was these who dealt with British traders in China, hence any bureaucrats are now known as mandarins.

7. The bald eagle was chosen by the US Congress as their national bird, despite the then President Benjamin Franklin's preference of the wild turkey.

8. The bobolink is one of the few songbirds that has two complete moults each year. It completely changes its feathers on both breeding and wintering grounds, which are separated by a 6,000 mile journey.

9. It is believed that the mistle thrush got its name from its love of mistletoe, although it will noisily defend any berry-bearing bush it happens upon.

10. In Roman mythology to hear the hoot or an owl presaged an imminent death. The deaths of Julius Caesar, Augustus, Commodus Aurelius, and Agrippa were all apparently predicted by an owl. In early Rome a dead owl nailed to the door of a house averted all the evil that it supposedly had earlier caused.

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