My Bantam Lake

Tufted Titmouse

Written on 07/03/2018


Baeolophus bicolor

Tufted Titmice look large among the small birds that come to feeders, an impression that comes from their large head and eye, thick neck, and full bodies. The pointed crest and stout bill help identify titmice even in silhouette. They measure 14 to 16 centimeters in length, with a wingspan of 20 to 26 centimeters. Soft silvery gray above and white below, with a rusty or peach-colored wash down the flanks. A black patch just above the bill makes the bird look snub-nosed. Tufted Titmice are acrobatic foragers, if a bit slower and more methodical than chickadees. They often flock with chickadees, nuthatches, and woodpeckers and are regular visitors to feeders, where they are assertive over smaller birds. Their flight tends to be fluttery but level rather than undulating. You’ll find Tufted Titmice in most eastern woodlands below 2,000 feet elevation, including deciduous and evergreen forests. Tufted Titmice are also common visitors at feeders and can be found in backyards, parks, and orchards. This species is of low conservation concern.

Fun Facts:

  • Unlike many chickadees, Tufted Titmouse pairs do not gather into larger flocks outside the breeding season. Instead, most remain on the territory as a pair. Frequently one of their young from that year remains with them, and occasionally other juveniles from other places will join them. Rarely a young titmouse remains with its parents into the breeding season and will help them raise the next year's brood.

  • Tufted Titmice hoard food in fall and winter, a behavior they share with many of their relatives, including the chickadees and tits. Titmice take advantage of a bird feeder’s bounty by storing many of the seeds they get. Usually, the storage sites are within 130 feet of the feeder. The birds take only one seed per trip and usually shell the seeds before hiding them.

  • Tufted Titmice nest in tree holes (and nest boxes), but they can’t excavate their own nest cavities. Instead, they use natural holes and cavities left by woodpeckers. These species’ dependence on dead wood for their homes is one reason why it’s important to allow dead trees to remain in forests rather than cutting them down.

  • Tufted Titmice often line the inner cup of their nest with hair, sometimes plucked directly from living animals. The list of hair types identified from old nests includes raccoons, opossums, mice, woodchucks, squirrels, rabbits, livestock, pets, and even humans.

 

Source: Tufted Titmouse Overview and Identification Information, All About Birds, The Cornell Lab of Ornithology

https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Tufted_Titmouse/overview