Listen now 22 mins
Seeing a flock of black and white striped, powder puff pink flanked long-tailed tits bouncing through the grey and brown winter landscape is a cheering sight. Scruffy and bandit faced they are often heard before they are seen with piping calls to keep the flock together. Charging around in family groups these diminutive birds will spend the coldest winter nights roosting together, lined up along a branch jostling for the best position. These groups, determined by behaviour in the breeding season, are essential to winter survival. Adults that were unable to raise a brood themselves help out other more successful family members as currency to spend the winter as part of the flock. Naturalist John Walters takes Chris Sperring to the southern fringes of Dartmoor to introduce him to one particular family group.
Produced by Ellie Sans.