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.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Where are the titmice?

Why don't titmice come to the feeders in the summer? ~ East Lansing, MI

The Tufted Titmouse is a year-round resident of Michigan and other eastern United States with mixed deciduous-coniferous forests. They come to the feeders based on the availability of natural foods. Titmice eat a variety of bugs like caterpillars, beetles, wasps, ants, bees, treehoppers, and spiders. At the feeders they like sunflower seeds, nuts, suet and mealworms. If you aren't seeing titmice at the feeder right now, then there is probably an abundance of food available and are foraging happily for wiggly food.
 
They are lovely birds to have at the feeders. Titmice have unforgettable big black eyes and a black bill which is accented with black feathers on the forehead. Male and female titmice look alike to the human eye. Their feathers are all gray on the back, and the belly is a lighter gray or white. On the sides of their belly is a little blush of chestnut feathers. They can pop a gray tuft of feathers up on the top of their head when singing or posturing for position at the feeder.

Tufted Titmice are monogamous, forming pairs that can last years. Once they've chosen a territory they stay and defend it year round. They look for natural cavities usually made by woodpeckers and sometimes bird houses to build their nests.

Daddy titmouse feeds the his female partner while she's incubating eggs and also the young when they hatch. Once the babies have grown, the juvenile titmice may remain with their parents on their natal territory during the winter months, forming a family flock. Or juveniles may leave the territory and join unrelated family units.

In early spring, most young disperse from their winter flocks, establish territories, find mates, and begin to breed. However some offspring  may remain even longer on their natal territories to help their parents raise their siblings. 

Related Articles:
- Is it “Titmice” or “Titmouses”? http://bit.ly/yImBcF
- Camouflaged Titmouse Fits Right In http://bit.ly/w0f2us
- Bird Guilds: How different birds band together to survive http://goo.gl/fMGaA
- Why is the Titmouse Tongue So Short? http://bit.ly/yds9Mm
- Tufted Titmouse fun facts http://bit.ly/AfIA7H