I had the chance to photograph a Tufted Titmouse eating a sunflower seed here in my yard.
Tufted Titmice are one of the few perching birds that can use their feet to hold sunflower seeds while they break them open. Here’s a step-by-step process of how they do it:
- Grab a seed: The Titmouse will first snatch a sunflower seed with its beak from a feeder or the ground.
Find a perch: It will then fly to a nearby branch or twig and perch itself comfortably.
Hold the seed: Using its dexterous little feet, the Titmouse will grip the seed firmly, positioning it for easy access.
Hammer time: With its strong beak, the Titmouse will start hammering away at the seed’s tough shell, chipping away bits and pieces.
Extract the prize: Once the shell is cracked open, the Titmouse will carefully extract the delicious seed kernel inside.
Enjoy the meal: The Titmouse will then happily munch on the nutritious seed, replenishing its energy reserves.
Tufted Titmice are not only skilled seed-crackers, but they are also clever hoarders. They will often store away hundreds of sunflower seeds in hidden caches around their territory, ensuring they have a steady food supply during the harsher winter months. This impressive feat of memory and planning helps them survive and thrive in a variety of habitats.
Note: Tufted Titmice readily consume sunflower seeds due to their high fat and nutrient content, making them an ideal food source, especially in winter. Sunflower seeds have the highest calorie-to-weight ratio compared to any other bird feed, as well as a superior level of protein, providing a concentrated source of calories. In addition to sunflower seeds, Tufted Titmice also enjoy other high-fat feeder foods such as mealworms, Nyjer, peanuts, safflower, and suet. This high-fat content and broad availability make sunflower seeds an ideal food for Tufted Titmice to help them survive the harsh winter months.
Image Information (First Image):
- Date: 01/24/24
- Time: 09:28 AM
- Camera: Canon EOS R5
- Lens: Canon RF 100-500mm F4.5-7.1 L IS USM
- ISO: 8000
- Aperture: 8
- Shutter: 1/2000
- Exp. Comp.:+0.7
- Lens (mm): 500
- Program Mode: Manual