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, March 9, 2014

Tufted Titmouse’s song is a fast-repeated, clear whistle

The Tufted Titmouse can slide by unnoticed among the branches of the trees but their song is so loud it’s like an opera singer projecting their song to the cheap seats. In the spring you can even hear their first mating songs through the closed windows.

The Tufted Titmouse’s song is a fast-repeated, clear whistle: purdy-purdy-purdy. The birds repeat this up to 11 times in succession or up to 35 songs delivered per minute. Females occasionally sing a quieter version of the song.

There are also 10 different known calls of tufted titmice. The calls are divided generally into 2 groups that are nasal and mechanical. One group is made up of calls that have a very low frequency and the others have a very high frequency.

The three calls in the group of high-frequency calls are usually associated with aggressive behavior. A scratchy, chickadee-like tsee-day-day-day is the most common. Tufted Titmice also give fussy, scolding call notes and, when predators are sighted, a harsh distress call that warns other titmice of the danger.

The big black eyes of this small gray bird make them irresistible. They are regulars at backyard bird feeders if you feed sunflower seeds, suet, peanuts, or mealworms.

In the spring you can keep them in your yard by putting up nest boxes. Tufted Titmice often line the inner cup of their nest with hair, sometimes plucked directly from living animals. The list of hair types identified from old nests includes raccoons, opossums, mice, woodchucks, squirrels, rabbits, livestock, pets, and even humans. March is a good time collect clean cat, dog, or human hair and present it to the nesting birds on the end of an evergreen. 
Thank you Rodney Campbell for sharing your photo!
Related Articles: 
- Is it “Titmice” or “Titmouses”? http://bit.ly/yImBcF  
- Camouflaged Titmouse Fits Right In http://bit.ly/w0f2us
- What Do Titmice Eat? http://bit.ly/weAiDB
- Why is the Titmouse Tongue So Short? http://bit.ly/yds9Mm 
- Tufted Titmouse fun facts http://bit.ly/AfIA7H


WisconsinWildMan said...

We've got suet, peanuts, striped sunflower, black oil sunflower, and cranberry seed cylinder. We also have Downey and Hairy Woodpeckers, White and Red Breasted Nuthatches, Black Capped Chickadees and on occasion Red Bellied Woodpeckers, but we never get a Tufted Titmouse, any thoughts about why?

Wild Birds Unlimited Mid-Michigan said...

Tufted titmice prefer deciduous woodlands, especially moist woodlands with lots of trees that have old woodpecker nests. They are also common in wooded suburbs that have nest boxes available.

They are always at my seed cylinder pecking out the pecans but they also like to pick out the nuts and sunflower chips from my feeder. Another trick to attract a lot of bug eating birds is smear a forkful of pure peanut butter on a tree with rough bark.

And I've found I get the best birds when I feed peanuts in the shell. This draws in the Blue Jays which in turn give the very loud "food is here" call.

Finally, long white cat hair is irresistible to many birds in March. I save all my cats' hair and buy cotton nesting balls, available at Wild Birds Unlimited, for the birds to use to build the soft cup in their nest. The long white cat hair is always the first to go.

Be patient and keep your ears open.