Rare member of the tit family photographed

The extremely rare coat tit. (Photo courtesy of Runnybears)

The extremely rare coat tit. (Photo courtesy of Runnybears)

The now-extinct passenger pigeon recreated by Runnybears

The now-extinct passenger pigeon recreated by Runnybears

Authors must cringe when they see a typo in their published work. Despite the efforts of four different proof readers of my latest book A Wealth of Wildlife my wife found two minor typos remaining when she read it and my daughters in Crail found the most unusual one – coal tit spelt as coat tit.

Accordingly I received an interesting email from them pointing out this mistake. Since their cottage industry, Runnybears, includes the making of furry wildlife brooches and beautiful wee teddy bears they could not resist making and photographing a coat tit to accompany the email. The email is as follows:

From the Crail Clarion

‘Rare paridae (old Scots word for parody) sighting

Several alleged sightings on a Highland Perthshire estate of a recently-discovered rare member of the tit family have been documented in the newly-published book A Wealth of Wildlife by Alan Stewart, but until now we have lacked any photographic evidence to back up these claims. Today we can reveal that Periparus ater mantellum, the very rare coat tit, was spotted in the Kingdom yesterday morning.

And here, in a world exclusive brought to us by our sponsors Runnybears, is the photograph of the Crail visitor.

It’s a fascinating wee bird, somewhere between a blue tit and a coal tit. It is much more likely than any of the rest of the tit family to make it through a bad winter, though it will require a new design of nest box with a slightly larger entrance hole. As a small and relatively short-lived bird it is likely to grow this cosy coat as a hatchling, rather than moult into it after its first year. It is possible that other members of the tit family could be keen to hybridise so that they may also have a chance of having a cosy coat. Like dogs, such as labradoodles and shih-poos we may soon see greatcoat tits and long coat-tailed tits’.

To give my daughters’ business a plug they frequently make brooches and bears to order. I was really pleased on my last birthday to receive from them Mark Avery’s book, A Message from Martha and a passenger pigeon brooch.  Some of their work can be seen at https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/RunnyBears

For more information on A Wealth of Wildlife and how to get a signed copy, see https://wildlifedetective.wordpress.com/books/

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