Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Tufted Titmouse

The Tufted Titmouse, Parus bicolor, is a year round regular here. Although not so bold as the chickadees, these birds will stay close as I fill the feeders, ready to swoop in as soon as I back off a few feet.

The Titmouse is a sociable bird, banding up with chickadees, nuthatches, and downy woodpeckers. The whole gang usually feeds together here, sometimes with cardinals and doves joining in.

Prior to 1940, the titmouse was found only as far north as New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Nowadays they can be found as far north as Maine. Explanations for their expansion range from global warming, abandoned farms turning to forests, and increased winter bird feeding.

The original Nuncketest mission was limited to flora but I'm learning that the ecological picture encompasses the fauna as well. It will be cool to tie the local plants as food sources for the furred and feathered. Besides, all this snow is making it tough collecting specimens and my birds are flying right up to my windows. Go with the flow!

The Titmouse has a consistent behavior of picking out one sunflower seed from the feeder and flying up into the branches of the crabapple tree. It places the seed between its feet and pecks it open for the meat inside. Then it's right back for another, and another.

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