In the world of cute things, little reigns supreme. Smol is best. For those of you rolling your eyes at that, let me assure you that “smol” is not merely a kid-friendly misspelling of a perfectly fine phrase. Being genuinely smol has an emotional component, but tininess is also important.
We all essentially resemble the Abominable Snowman from those Looney Tunes cartoons when something is smol. Unquestionably, tiny birds fall under the category of the smol, and I have discovered one that is particularly deserving of admiration. This tiny cotton ball is known by the name Long-Tailed Tit. The long-tailed tit is easily recognized thanks to its striking colors, outsized tail, and undulating flight. Long-tailed tits are sociable, noisy residents who are typically seen in agitated, small groups of 20 or fewer birds.
Long-tailed tits are fairly common in Europe and Asia, but their tails are only truly “long” in relation to their diminutive bodies. An adult’s maximum length is only about 13-15 cm (5-6 in), and that includes the tail, which can increase that length by up to 50%. Although their small stature is typically appealing, the specific species of long-tailed tits found in Hokkaido are in a class by themselves.
Long-tailed tits will come to your yard to feed. The long-tailed tit’s tiny beak has trouble handling large seeds. But products made of suet draw this species in great numbers because they provide an instant caloric boost. We’ll also include tiny seeds, bread crumbs, finely grated cheese, and pieces of peanut. To conserve energy, long-tailed tits will group together at night to sleep. Individuals may curl up into a ball with their tails sticking out when they are in a dense shrub, such as a hawthorn.
Hokkaido, the second-largest island in Japan, has six national parks, 17 quasi-national parks, and prefectural parks. It also has several protected animal areas. As a result, it has become well known for the wide range of fauna it hosts, including some species that are particular to the area. Hokkaido is home to numerous unique wildlife in addition to these little birds.
In contrast to the majority of them, which have brown or gray “eyebrows” and more brown in their feathers, the long-tailed tits in Hokkaido have all white faces. Their black wings and tails give them the appearance of flying cotton balls. They were given the name shima-enaga bird because they are distinctive enough to deserve it. It approximately translates to “long-tailed island bird” in the literal sense.