National Wild Bird Feeding Month is February. To celebrate, we have asked employees to name their favorite birds. This week's bird is a favorite of Theresa, our Accounting Manager - the Tufted TItmouse.
Identifying Tufted Titmice:
This small songbird has soft silvery gray feathers above and white feathers below. A black patch just above the beak and a rusty or peach-colored wash underneath the wings are helpful identifiers. Tufted Titmice are roughly 5.5"-6.3" from beak tip to tail with a wingspan of 7.9"-10.2". These birds are regular visitors to bird feeders, and can be a treat to watch, the tuft of feathers at the front of its head communicating much of its emotions and "attitude".
Attracting Tufted Titmice to Your Feeder:
Tufted Titmice are often regulars at backyard bird feeders, especially during the winter months. These small birds prefer sunflower seeds and will also consume suet, peanuts, and a variety of other seeds as well. Experiments with Tufted Titmice actually indicate that they will always choose the largest seeds they can when foraging.
When titmice find larger seeds, such as sunflower seeds, they will typically fly away to a nearby shrub or tree so that they can comfortably hold the seed with their feed and hammer it open with their beaks. Providing natural cover like larger bushes and trees in your landscape will help to give these little birds a safe place to consume seeds. Titmice have even been known to hoard these shelled seeds in bark crevices in fall and winter.
During summer months, Titmice eat mainly insects including caterpillars, ants, beetles, wasps, stink bugs, as well as spiders and snails. As hard as it can be, it's best not to spray any pesticides as this can detract from the natural protein source of these birds.
These small birds construct their nests in cavities. Unable to excavate their own cavities, they will use natural holes or old nest holes made by certain woodpecker species. Tufted TItmice will also nest in man made structures including fence posts, metal pipes, and nest boxes. Titmice build cup-shaped nests using a mixture of leaves, moss, grasses, and bark. Soft materials such as fur, hair, wool, and cotton are used to line this cup.
The average clutch size can range from 3-9 eggs. Eggs are approximately 0.6 inches wide and 0.8 inches in length and are creamy white flecked with chestnut-red or brown specs. The young typically hatch in two weeks and will remain in the nest for an additional two weeks before leaving the nest.
Have you seen any Tufted Titmice on your feeders recently?