Great Zombie Tits

Great tit (Parus major)

Great tit (Parus major) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Settle down, pervs.  I’m talking birds.  Parus major, to be precise.  Otherwise know as the Great Tit.

A nifty looking yellow and black bird.

Also a smart, opportunistic, murderous, brain-eating monster!  Check out this 2009 article about Great Tits in Hungary having been observed preying on bats. (pics here, some gruesome)

been reported to use tools (conifer needles) to winkle insect larvae out of bark (Gosler 1993). It’s also a part-time scavenger, it’s habit of picking at the bones of hoofed mammals being well known (e.g., Selva et al. 2005). There are even historical records where the birds were seen feeding on the bodies of executed people.

Well, that’s not that unusual, I suppose.

Estók et al. (2009) observed 18 predation events on pipistrelles by tits that occurred over two winters in one Hungarian cave, and they even managed to film the behaviour. The tits’ behaviour was not opportunistic: they specifically searched for hibernating bats, using both auditory and visual cues, and then pulled them out of their roosting cavities and pecked them to death

Zombie Birds 18 – Bats 0.  That’ll qualify for the slaughter rule.

Rather less well known is that the Great tit sometimes uses its relatively large size and powerful bill to kill smaller passerines, and indeed Barnes (1975) noted that “A topic of some interest to earlier writers was the alleged murderous tendency of great tits” (p. 112). Barnes described two or three cases where Pied flycatchers Ficedula hypoleuca were “found dead with smashed skulls in nest-boxes taken over by great tits” (p. 112), and also referred to occasions when Great tits had attacked and killed birds that were caught in traps, nets or cages. Caris (1958) reported a case in which an English Great tit was seen flying away with a dead GoldcrestRegulus regulus (one of Europe’s smallest passerines: it may weigh just 5g); it had been killed by a peck to the back of the head, and had its eyes pecked out and skull mangled. Even better, Howard Saunders (1899) wrote that “The Great Titmouse will attack small and weakly birds, splitting their skulls with its powerful beak in order to get at their brains; and it has even been known to serve a Bat in this manner”.

Mamma always said, Tits will scramble your brains if you’re not careful!

The Canadians were clearly aware of this already, as they are already addressing zombie apocalypse concerns in the House of Commons.  Given how slowly government works, they may have done secret Tit Testing even prior to 2009.

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About I.M. Pangs

digital verbal smog creator improbablefrontiers.com
This entry was posted in Science, Universal Absurdity and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Great Zombie Tits

  1. Is that girl in the white leotard going to make an appearance in comments for this post too? I mean, birds bashing each others skulls in is ok I guess but I’m not sure I could watch another of those performances. Ya feel me?

    • I.M. Pangs says:

      I understand your concerns! You’ve surely never seen such a large blush of embarrassment bloom rosy red upon a cheek as when I first watched the performance.

      The management will take actions as they deem appropriate, I assure you.

  2. Pingback: Great Tits | The Pilgrims Trail

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