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.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Titmice Fun Facts

There are five species of titmice in North America: Black-crested Titmouse, Juniper Titmouse, Oak TitmouseBridled Titmouse, and Tufted Titmouse. The most widely distributed and only titmouse in mid-Michigan is the Tufted Titmouse.

Tufted Titmouse
• The Bridled Titmouse is the only North American member of its family that appears to have helpers at the nest regularly, And unlike the other titmice species, does not hide seeds for future use. The part of the brain used to store memories of hiding places is small in this species compared with other species that frequently hide food.
• The Oak Titmouse mates for life, and pairs defend year-round territories. Those that do not find a mate in their first fall are excluded from territories and must live in marginal habitat until they find a vacancy.
• The Juniper Titmouse sits very tight on her nest and will hiss like a snake if disturbed.
• The Black-crested Titmouse hybridizes with the Tufted Titmouse where their ranges overlap in central Texas. They were considered the same species for a while, but they are distinct genetically and vocally.
• The Tufted Titmouse has an alarm call that seems to fade off into the distance, giving the impression that the bird is moving from one place to another. Birdwatchers and predators alike can be fooled into chasing this ghost call while the titmouse stays securely hidden out of sight. During the winter, Tufted Titmice forage together with chickadees, nuthatches, woodpeckers and Brown Creepers.They have been expanding its range northward since the 1940s and is now found almost to the Canadian border across most of its range. Speculation for the expansion suggests warming winter temperatures and the increase in mature woodland habitat. 

Sources: WBU BOTM  and http://www.allaboutbirds.org

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