Always a thrill to see your first adult bird of the spring carrying food to its nest especially when its a species which you study intensively. This morning I saw a pair of Bearded Tits with beaks full of insects going into one of my reed wigwam nest boxes. I managed to get the colour ring combinations of both birds, then armed with my disturbance licence visited the nest box briefly to find six young ca 5 days old. Back home I searched my data base for details of these two birds.
They were ringed together on 6th August 2009 ca 150 metres from where they are nesting. Both were in juvenile plumage. Later in 2009 they were seen or re trapped together on three occasions. During 2010 they were recorded together on no less than 16 occasions mainly visiting the grit trays and today they were still together rearing a brood.
Bearded Tits are well known for forming pairs while still in juvenile plumage but this sighting along with several similar ones over the years show that these early liaisons can form lasting bonds. I had one pair that bred together and remained together throughout the seasons for three consecutive years.