On the tenth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me…
…ten tufted titmice!
…nine frogs a-croaking!
…eight vultures circling!
...seven spiky yuccas!
...six types of milkweed!
…fiiiive! naaaative! plaaaaants!
…two mourning doves!
…and a replacement for a Bradford pear tree!
The tufted titmouse is one of my very favorite feeder birds, and not just because I’m twelve and still like saying “titmouse!” (Bwhaahah!) They’re one of the really common feeder birds in the eastern US and look like…well, like titmice. (Small gray and white cardinals is how I’d describe them to a non-birder, I guess.) They have little crests and big black eyes and they hoard food. In fall and winter, there is a constant stream of tufted titmice coming and going from the feeder with safflower seed to stash somewhere.
They don’t flock, per se, but hang about in pairs and trios, usually with Carolina chickadees. They’re also one of those birds who like to nest in cavities in trees, but can’t excavate their own. They use old woodpecker holes instead. I have on at least one occasion seen tufted titmice move into a tree-trunk cavity immediately after a red-bellied woodpecker has fledged.
Tufted titmice have raised multiple broods in my garden, generally averaging a fledgling or two a year. They’re very common and in no way endangered, but I’m still delighted to see them having babies locally. Makes me feel like we’re doing something right.