The population of Bearded Tit was studied on a 1872 km2 study area of predominantly agricultural landscape in W Poland, near Poznań. During the non-breeding period (October—March) surveys were made every 10–14 days on a sample of 44 marshlands selected at random out of 240 suitable habitat patches found in the study area. Bearded Tits were found at least once in 66% of the patches surveyed, but the average percentage of patches occupied per single survey was 25% and did not vary across the non-breeding season. Re-occupancy of individual reed-bed patches in successive surveys averaged 54% and was lowest during early autumn and in the second half of the winter. 39% of the sites occupied during the winter were used as breeding sites in the spring following or preceding the survey. Of 17 breeding sites, 16 were used by Bearded Tits also outside the breeding season. The numbers of birds recorded peaked in second half of October and declined thereafter. Flock size averaged 3.1 (range 1–55) birds and correlated with total number of Bearded Tits recorded during the single survey. Birds mostly foraged on reed seeds taken from reed ears. Foraging on the ground occurred mostly at the beginning and at the end of non-breeding season. Searching for invertebrates peaked in December—January.
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Vol. 38 • No. 1