About us: We own the Wild Birds Unlimited nature shop in East Lansing, Michigan,
a store that provides a wide variety of supplies to help you enjoy the birdwatching hobby.

This blog was created to answer frequently asked questions & to share nature stories and photographs.
To contribute, email me at bloubird@gmail.com.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

What Bird is Always Looking for Peter?

I was taking a walk in the woods today and heard peter, peter, peter. I know I should know this bird call but I just can't think of it. Can you help me?
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Peter, Peter, Peter” is a very familiar song of a Tufted Titmouse. Along with the chickadees in my pines these birds can be real characters. They are sparrow-sized, social birds that like to sing loud and clear just outside my window every morning. Tufted Titmice also give fussy, scolding calls when predators are sighted. This harsh distress call warns other titmice of the danger. Click HERE to listen Cornell Lab of Ornithology's recordings of a clear whistle song and a scratchy nasal call of the titmouse.
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Tufted Titmouse Baeolophus bicolor
Order: PASSERIFORMES Family: Titmice and Chickadees (Paridae)
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Description: Tufted titmice are 15 to 17 cm long and have wingspans of 23 to 28 cm. Both males and females have white undersides, gray backs, rusty-brown sides, pointed crests on their heads, and large dark eyes.
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Behavior: Tufted titmice are active birds often seen flitting about in trees and hanging upside down while searching beneath twigs for insects. They are active during the daytime and do not migrate extensively, remaining in residence throughout the winter. They are fairly confident birds and can be trained to come at the sound of human voices and take food from their hands, though not as easily as their cousins, the black-capped chickadees. Tufted titmice store food under bark or under objects on the ground. Males are dominant over females and they form pairs that persist until the death of one of the mates. Pairs separate from winter flocks in preparation for mating by February.
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General:Tufted Titmouse are regulars at backyard bird feeders, especially in winter. They prefer sunflower seeds, suet, peanuts, and other seeds as well. They build their nests in cavities, so putting up nest boxes is a good way to attract breeding titmice to your yard. The birds also eat insects, spiders, snails, various berries, acorns, and seeds. They forage in trees, sometimes upside down, often in mixed species flocks like chickadees. Most Tufted Titmice live their entire life within a few miles of their birthplace. They only occur in areas where rainfall is greater than 24 inches per year, and are more common where rainfall exceeds 32 inches per year. The Tufted Titmouse is very appealing visitor to the feeder. A group of titmice are collectively known as a "banditry" and a "dissimulation" of titmice.

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