Such has been the nature of my recent enjoyment of the Tufted titmouse family that frequents my patio. The squeals and antics of the juveniles, both begging to their parents and learning to forage for themselves, have given me many smiles. Adult, Tufted titmouse. Mostly distinguishable by behavior but also subtle differences in coloration.
There are two hemlocks near the patio, with thickly needled limbs that drape nearly to the ground. These limbs provide a wonderful refuge for foraging and shelter for the inquisitive bird that wants to approach the feeder.
And titmice are curious, vocal and welcoming. Especially if they've associated your presence with the suet and seeds they enjoyed in the winter. And maybe there's a bit more enthusiasm with demanding, hungry mouths to feed.
When I have time to sit for a while and enjoy the morning air, my first smile comes with the arrival of the titmouse family. They seem to pop up from every limb, the juveniles calling out with their eager, "zhree, zhree, zhree, zhreeaaal", that last note being more of a squeal than a note.
After being fed by a parent, this juvenile dropped down into the ivy to forage for himself among the leaves, looking up ever so often to check with a parent.
"Hey, Mom, look at me!"
This mom certainly felt proud...