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.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Is it “Titmice” or “Titmouses”?

How do you spell the plural of Titmouse. Google shows it both ways-- which is correct? ~ Boston, Massachusetts

Tufted Titmouse on Seed Cylinder Feeder
Interesting, I’m not sure if there is a correct answer. Tit is an old English word meaning little and mase meant small bird. The name titmase morphed eventually into titmouse. This was probably because the bird's coloring does sort of remind people of a small mouse. But actually the meaning of the name Titmouse is small, little bird.

Titmice as the plural is the most accepted use even though is not etymologically consistent. I went to Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s Tufted Titmouse webpage at http://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Tufted_Titmouse/id and they use titmice repeatedly.

I would use titmice but I can’t see that using titmouses would be wrong. Any bird or word experts want to chime in and make a comment?