Friday, June 19, 2009

Tufted Titmouse Fun

It is comforting to know that nature is everywhere, that we can enjoy it where ever we are, both the unusual and the 'ordinary'. When you spend time with whatever is plentiful around you, your enjoyment naturally becomes richer and deeper and nothing seems ordinary anymore. Juvenile Tufted titmouse.

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...


  1. Sweet. Love those silly little faces with baby gapes.

  2. Me too, Lynne. And that fine little tuff that lays like a new hair cut.

  3. We have a family of Titmice hanging about our feeders, too. The Titmouse, I find, can be one of the shrillest birds at our feeders, and the juvies are no exception to that! I've noticed that when our little TIMO babies squawk for food their "zhrees" get progressively more insistent with a very emphatic, higher pitched "ZHREE!" right at the moment when food is landing in their little beak. This evening I noticed one of the babies working on opening a seed, instead of mom just giving him the food hook, line and sinker. I love your photos in this series!

    BTW, I'll keep you posted about the template change on my blog. Keep your fingers crossed!

  4. You are describing exactly what I'm hearing, Heather, and what I've enjoyed so much about them. They are so vocal and eager!

  5. Oh my goodness...Vickie this is an incredible post. Those babies are so cute and capturing one with a tiny bit of food in his bill is amazing. I love Tufted Titmice. I also liked your narrative. It's so true...immerse yourself in nature and you will find something amazing every day.

  6. Hi Vickie, Your 'tufted' photos are outstanding. We have them also (as you know from my blog yesterday)... I have not had the privilege of seeing the little ones fledge yet---but I see them when they are at my feeders. They fly around 'trying' to land --and sometimes they can and sometimes they can't... Too Cute!!!!!

    Have a nice day.

  7. Hi Vickie,

    I haven't visited your blog in a little while and I've obviously been missing out on some more great photos and sketchbook posts!

    Titmice are one of my favorite birds - such personality and spunk. We don't get them where I live, but I have fond memories of them from my time in the east.

  8. They're one of my favorite yard birds...always. Never watched juveniles before but I'll be looking for them. I love your photos and narrative. The adults are hard to get!


  9. oh that was great..amazing captures..

  10. Lovely glimpse into the private lives of those little birds.


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