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Quiz about The Eurasian Blue Tit  That Giddy Sprite
Quiz about The Eurasian Blue Tit  That Giddy Sprite

The Eurasian Blue Tit - "That Giddy Sprite" Quiz


Ten questions about one of the most distinctive and best loved British birds, through the lens of a poem by William Wordsworth.

A multiple-choice quiz by Upstart3. Estimated time: 4 mins.
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Author
Upstart3
Time
4 mins
Type
Multiple Choice
Quiz #
397,740
Updated
Dec 03 21
# Qns
10
Difficulty
Average
Avg Score
7 / 10
Plays
141
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Question 1 of 10
1. "Where is he, that giddy sprite"

The Eurasian blue tit is a familiar bird across Europe from Spain to Russia. How does it compare in size with birds from the same area?
Hint


Question 2 of 10
2. "Blue-cap, with his colours bright"

The Eurasian blue tit has a blue cap and wings, a white face with a dark blue line through the eyes, and a green back. Its striking yellow belly has a dark line down the middle. That yellow comes from carotene pigments from what essential food?
Hint


Question 3 of 10
3. "Feeding in the apple tree;"

Eurasian blue tits look for food in many trees, but with which tree are they particularly associated?
Hint


Question 4 of 10
4. "Made such wanton spoil and rout,"

Blue tits can be a nuisance. On getting into houses, they have been known to strip wallpaper. Which delivery to households were they known for exploiting?
Hint


Question 5 of 10
5. "Turning blossoms inside out:"

Blue tits feed on nectar and seek invertebrates inside flowers. They are unusual among European birds in that they can contribute to pollination and fruit production.


Question 6 of 10
6. "Hung - head pointing towards the ground -
Fluttered, perched, into a round"

Eurasian blue tits are often seen feeding upside down. They are familiar visitors to British bird tables in winter feeding upside down on what suspended halved fruit?
Hint


Question 7 of 10
7. "Bound himself, then unbound;
Lithest, gaudiest Harlequin!"

The male and female Eurasian blue tits look similar. The male's wings are longer, but the female tends to be heavier.


Question 8 of 10
8. "Prettiest tumbler ever seen!"

The Eurasian blue tit is an agile flyer - evading predators such as which colourful bird?
Hint


Question 9 of 10
9. "Light in heart and light of limb;"

The Eurasian blue tit may seem light of heart, but in winter they struggle to find enough food, and their bright plumage makes them highly vulnerable to what bird of prey whose name suggests it would eat other species?
Hint


Question 10 of 10
10. "What is now become of him?"

The Eurasian blue tit is regularly voted as one of Britain's favourite birds. It has an affectionate nickname similar to Jenny Wren or Robin Redbreast. What is it?
Hint



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Quiz Answer Key and Fun Facts
1. "Where is he, that giddy sprite" The Eurasian blue tit is a familiar bird across Europe from Spain to Russia. How does it compare in size with birds from the same area?

Answer: smaller than a European robin

Eurasian blue tits are small birds, around 4.7 inches or 12 cm long. They are associated with woodlands across their range, nesting in cavities, such as holes in trees that may have previously been used by woodpeckers or squirrels, though they will also use artificial nest boxes.

Their range is increasing northwards in Scandinavia over time, partly due to climate change. The southern limit of their range is the Mediterranean Sea, to the south of which is found the very similar African blue tit.
2. "Blue-cap, with his colours bright" The Eurasian blue tit has a blue cap and wings, a white face with a dark blue line through the eyes, and a green back. Its striking yellow belly has a dark line down the middle. That yellow comes from carotene pigments from what essential food?

Answer: caterpillars

The Eurasian blue tit times its egg laying to coincide with arboreal green caterpillars feeding on young tree leaves. Caterpillars are essential to rearing healthy young. In captivity, when no caterpillars haven been been fed to blue tit hatchlings, they have failed to thrive. Each chick requires between 70 and 90 caterpillars a day while it is in the nest. Carotene pigments are also responsible for the colouring of carrots and flamingoes.
3. "Feeding in the apple tree;" Eurasian blue tits look for food in many trees, but with which tree are they particularly associated?

Answer: oak

Eurasian blue tits have been known to feed on apple trees throughout the year, including eating the fruit. But the tree they are most strongly associated with is the oak. Oak trees are home to a host of invertebrates on which the blue tits feed, such as certain moths, whose caterpillars burrow into oak leaf buds before the tree's natural defences of tannins kick in.
4. "Made such wanton spoil and rout," Blue tits can be a nuisance. On getting into houses, they have been known to strip wallpaper. Which delivery to households were they known for exploiting?

Answer: milk

Blue tits are very adaptable and have developed behaviours to take advantage of humans living nearby. They have been known to strip wallpaper from inside houses - presumably looking for food or nesting material. Blue tits were particularly well known for taking advantage of daily milk deliveries, pecking into foil milk bottle tops to drink the cream.
5. "Turning blossoms inside out:" Blue tits feed on nectar and seek invertebrates inside flowers. They are unusual among European birds in that they can contribute to pollination and fruit production.

Answer: True

The pollination of plants by birds is known as ornithophily. Tropical birds such as hummingbirds and honey eaters are particularly known for being important pollinators when they feed on nectar. Blue tits can derive a large portion of their calorific intake from nectar, and have been found to be pollinators of some plants such as the Crown Imperial, a fritillary found in Turkey.
6. "Hung - head pointing towards the ground - Fluttered, perched, into a round" Eurasian blue tits are often seen feeding upside down. They are familiar visitors to British bird tables in winter feeding upside down on what suspended halved fruit?

Answer: coconut

Blue tits are agile and often hang upside down in trees looking for insects or other invertebrates. They are a popular visitor to bird tables, feeding on peanuts, fat or halved coconuts suspended on strings. They will take food from bird tables in the summer as well, not to feed it to their young, but to eat themselves, especially if their preferred food source is in short supply.
7. "Bound himself, then unbound; Lithest, gaudiest Harlequin!" The male and female Eurasian blue tits look similar. The male's wings are longer, but the female tends to be heavier.

Answer: True

The male's longer wings and lighter body make it more manoeuvrable. It has to locate and defend a nesting hole. It is also more visible and vulnerable to predators because of its displays. The male, having secured a nesting place, may over-winter there. In the spring he has to get a female to accept it. Once she does, she clears it of any unwanted debris and does most of the nest building herself, over maybe two weeks. She then overnights there, with the male roosting nearby, but away from the nest. Her eggs each weigh about 1 gram, which is around a tenth of her body weight. She can only produce and lay one egg a day and still be able to fly. Blue tit clutch sizes can be highly variable, ranging from 3 to as many as 19 eggs.

Literary note - here Wordsworth may well be using "gaudy" in the old fashioned sense of "rejoicing" or "jubilant", rather than suggesting the bids are garish.
8. "Prettiest tumbler ever seen!" The Eurasian blue tit is an agile flyer - evading predators such as which colourful bird?

Answer: Eurasian jay

Blue tits are important sources of food for many birds. One is the Eurasian jay, whose habit of burying and forgetting acorns has led to them more less planting a tree on which their prey depend, and hence feeding their descendants. Another predator is the great spotted woodpecker.

They nest in holes which they use once, then abandon, leaving them for other birds like blue tits to use. These woodpeckers remember previous nest holes and have been observed killing multiple blue tit broods with their spear-like tongues.
9. "Light in heart and light of limb;" The Eurasian blue tit may seem light of heart, but in winter they struggle to find enough food, and their bright plumage makes them highly vulnerable to what bird of prey whose name suggests it would eat other species?

Answer: sparrowhawk

The winter is cruel for blue tits. Their preferred invertebrates become scarce, and they will consume almost anything that is edible. Some join flocks with other species to forage. With the loss of deciduous foliage, and their increasingly desperate foraging activity, blue tits become more visible and vulnerable to predators, with sparrowhawks being particularly effective at taking them.

Other birds that prey on blue tits include owls and merlins.
10. "What is now become of him?" The Eurasian blue tit is regularly voted as one of Britain's favourite birds. It has an affectionate nickname similar to Jenny Wren or Robin Redbreast. What is it?

Answer: Tom Tit

Britons love their bird nicknames. Pied wagtails are called Willy Wagtail and the bird now known as the Eurasian robin was originally called a redbreast, before the nickname took over. As well as Tom Tit, nicknames for the blue tit include "Billy Biter" - presumably because the bird is so fearless in defending its nest, Nun and "Blue Bonnet". The name "tit" is a contraction of "titmouse", which combined Old English words for "small" and "tiny bird". Despite their difficulties and predators, and perhaps due to their great adaptability, blue tits are a very successful and common species in Europe, with 20-40 million pairs across the continent.


Further reading: I recommend "The Blue Tit" by Martyn Stenning, a comprehensive and fascinating examination of all aspects of the blue tit and associated species.

The poetry in the questions is an extract from "The Kitten and Falling Leaves", an 1888 work by William Wordsworth.
Source: Author Upstart3

This quiz was reviewed by FunTrivia editor rossian before going online.
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