The titmouse is a small bird that belongs to the family Paridae, along with the chickadees and tits. There are about 55 species of titmice in the world, mostly in the Northern Hemisphere. They are nonmigratory birds that live in woodlands, orchards, and suburbs. They have pointed crests of feathers on their heads, which they can raise or lower depending on their mood.
Titmice are popular visitors to bird feeders, where they enjoy sunflower seeds, peanuts, and suet. They are also agile and acrobatic feeders, hanging upside down to reach insect eggs or other food items. They have a varied diet that includes insects, seeds, berries, nuts, and sometimes small vertebrates. They store food in bark crevices or holes and remember the locations for later retrieval.
Titmice are social birds that often form flocks with other titmice or chickadees. They communicate with each other using a variety of calls and songs. Some of the most common sounds are a whistled “peter-peter-peter” or a nasal “tsee-day-day”. They also use their crests to signal their emotions, such as excitement, aggression, or submission.
Titmice are monogamous birds that mate for life. They nest in natural or artificial cavities, such as tree holes, nest boxes, or even mailboxes. They line their nests with soft materials, such as feathers, fur, moss, or even hair plucked from live animals. They lay 5 to 9 eggs, which are incubated by the female for about two weeks. The male feeds the female during this time. The young fledge after about three weeks and may stay with their parents for several months.
Some of the most common and widespread species of titmice are the tufted titmouse (Baeolophus bicolor), which has a gray body and a black crest; the black-crested titmouse (Baeolophus atricristatus), which has a black crest and a white forehead; the blue tit (Cyanistes caeruleus), which has a blue cap and wings and a yellow belly; and the great tit (Parus major), which has a black head and neck and a green back.
Titmice are among the best-loved birds in the world, thanks to their cheerful voices, lively personalities, and colorful plumage. They are also important members of the ecosystem, as they help control insect populations and disperse seeds. By providing them with food, water, shelter, and nesting sites, we can help them thrive and enjoy their company.
How to Attract Titmice to Your Backyard
If you want to enjoy the sight and sound of titmice in your backyard, there are some simple steps you can take to make them feel welcome. Here are some tips to attract these charming birds:
Offer them a variety of food sources, such as sunflower seeds, peanuts, suet, mealworms, or fruit. You can use tube feeders, hopper feeders, platform feeders, or hanging baskets to provide them with food. Make sure to clean the feeders regularly and keep them away from predators.
Provide them with fresh water for drinking and bathing. You can use a birdbath, a fountain, a pond, or a shallow dish to offer them water. Change the water daily and keep it ice-free in winter.
Offer them shelter and nesting sites. You can plant native trees and shrubs, such as oaks, maples, birches, pines, hollies, or dogwoods, to provide them with cover and food. You can also put up nest boxes or birdhouses for them to nest in. Make sure to place them at least 5 feet above the ground and away from predators and competitors.
Avoid using pesticides or herbicides in your yard, as they can harm the birds and their food sources. Instead, use natural methods to control pests and weeds, such as mulching, weeding, or attracting beneficial insects.
By following these tips, you can create a backyard habitat that will attract titmice and other birds. You will be rewarded with their cheerful songs and colorful antics throughout the year.