Bird’s ID – Tufted Titmouse
The Tufted Titmouse (Baeolophus bicolor) is a small songbird from North America, a species in the tit and chickadee family (Paridae).
These small birds are approximately 6 inches in length, with a white front, and grey upper body outlined with rust colored flanks. Other characteristics include their black forehead, and the tufted grey crest on their head.
The song of the tufted titmouse is usually described as a whistled peter-peter-peter, though this song can vary in approximately 20 notable ways.
Their habitat is deciduous and mixed woods as well as gardens, parks and shrubland. Though the tufted titmouse is non-migratory and originally native to Ohio and Mississippi, factors such as bird feeders have caused these birds to occupy a larger amount of territory across the United States and stretching into Ontario, Canada.
The tufted titmouse forages actively on branches, sometimes on the ground, mainly eating insects, especially caterpillars, but also seeds, nuts and berries. They will store food for later use. They tend to be curious about their human neighbors and can sometimes be spotted on window ledges peering into the windows to watch what’s going on inside. They are more shy when seen at bird feeders; their normal pattern there is to scout the feeder from the cover of trees or bushes, fly to the feeder, take a seed, and fly back to cover to eat it.
Tufted titmice nest in a hole in a tree, either a natural cavity, a man-made nest box, or sometimes an old woodpecker nest. They line the nest with soft materials, sometimes plucking hair from a live animal such as a dog. If they find shed snake skin, they will try to incorporate pieces of it in their nest. Their eggs are under an inch long and are white or cream-colored with brownish or purplish spots.