As a passionate wildlife photographer, I am fortunate to have a front-row seat to the wonders of nature right in my own backyard. Over the years, I have installed several birdhouses, each becoming a temporary sanctuary for various avian families. This year, I had the pleasure of hosting a pair of Eastern Bluebirds, and now, a charming pair of Tufted Titmice have taken up residence in the same cozy abode. Join me on this exciting journey as I document the nesting habits of these captivating creatures.
The Tufted Titmouse’s Turn:
After the Eastern Bluebirds successfully raised their young in the birdhouse, I eagerly anticipated the arrival of new residents. In April, a pair of Tufted Titmice began inspecting the nest box, displaying characteristic behavior such as hopping and fluttering around the entrance. It didn’t take long for them to claim the space as their own.
Tufted Titmice Nesting Insights:
The Tufted Titmouse (Baeolophus bicolor) is a small, energetic songbird known for its distinctive tufted crest atop its head. These birds prefer nesting in tree cavities, but they readily adapt to using nest boxes as well. While they are not as particular about the size of the entrance hole compared to other bird species, a hole with a diameter of 1.25 inches seems to suit them well.
The female Tufted Titmouse takes the lead in constructing the nest. She collects a variety of materials, including moss, leaves, bark, and animal hair, to form a soft and cozy lining for the nest box. This meticulous arrangement ensures a comfortable environment for their eggs and future nestlings.
Incubation and Hatching:
Tufted Titmouse eggs are creamy white with speckles, usually numbering between 3 and 9. The female incubates the eggs alone, tirelessly keeping them warm for approximately 12 to 14 days. Meanwhile, the male vigilantly guards the nest, warding off potential predators and providing food for his mate.
Currently, the Tufted Titmouse eggs should be close to hatching, and I eagerly await the delightful sight of the hatchlings. From my vantage point on the deck, I can discreetly observe and photograph the nurturing behavior of the adults as they diligently feed their hungry offspring.
Unique Aspects of Tufted Titmouse Nesting:
Tufted Titmice are known for their fascinating feeding habits. Unlike some birds that regurgitate food for their young, the parents of Tufted Titmice catch insects, spiders, and caterpillars and soften them by pounding them against a branch or other hard surfaces. They then carry these softened meals to the nest, ensuring their nestlings receive a suitable diet.
Being able to witness and capture the intimate moments of bird nesting and rearing their young is a true privilege. From the Eastern Bluebirds to the Tufted Titmice, my birdhouse has provided me with a front-row seat to the wonders of avian parenting. Stay tuned for the next blog post, where I will share the heartwarming moments of the Tufted Titmouse family as they embark on their parenting journey.
Remember, creating a bird-friendly environment in your own backyard can offer countless opportunities to witness the magic of nature up close. Whether it’s installing nest boxes, providing a water source, or cultivating native plants, every effort counts in supporting our feathered friends. So grab your camera, step outside, and let the beauty of nature unfold before your lens.
- Camera: Canon EOS R5
- Lens: Canon RF 100-500 mm F4.5-7.1 L IS USM
- Location: Lavaca (Arkansas)
- Date and Time Taken: June 6, 2023 (12:25 P. M.)
- Exposure Mode: Manual
- Aperture: f8
- Shutter speed: 1/2000
- ISO: 2500 (Auto)
- Exp. Comp.: +0.3
- Focal Length: 500 mm