Understanding how resource use and life history variation influence a population's response to modified, fragmented landscapes is a major challenge for ecologists. We investigated the phenology, life history decisions and provisioning behaviour of a generalist passerine-the great tit-across a heavily managed woodland landscape. Contrary to most previous studies on this species, reproductive investment and success were lower in deciduous than in coniferous woodland fragments. This could not be explained by differences in provisioning behaviour; instead population density was considerably higher in deciduous woodlands, suggesting birds did not follow an ideal free distribution. Clutch size declined with lay date amongst populations breeding in coniferous woodland fragments, but these populations also displayed pronounced seasonal declines in the proportion of fledglings produced per egg and fledgling mass. In contrast, and against patterns observed in other similar study systems, clutch size did not change with lay date in mixed-species deciduous woodland fragments. Furthermore, the proportion of young fledged and fledgling condition remained stable throughout the season, even though the quality of food provisioned to nestlings increased over the season. Local recruitment was negligible, suggesting that plasticity rather than natural selection played a key role in driving the patterns observed. The unusual patterns we report are likely explained by the fragmented nature of the landscape, and unreliable phenological cues in a mixed-species tree community coupled with low food availability. They contrast with those reported from most other populations situated in continuous woodland, demonstrating that caution is needed when generalising across different contexts and ecosystems.