Wild Birds Unlimited – Omaha, NE

January 28, 2014

The Tufted Titmouse

Filed under: Birds,Titmouse — wbuomaha @ 12:59 pm
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A year-round resident of our area, the TuftedTitmouse’s  rangedoesnotextend very far west  of  the Missouri River.   Over  the  past few decades,  this bird  has been extending its range  northward.  One  possible  reason  forthis   expansion of  their territory  is warm winter  temperatures.  The  Tufted Titmouselikes a habitat of woodlands, shade trees or groves, particularly the deciduous forests. However, they can also live in mixed forests, orchards, city parks and residential areas if enough large trees are present.

Tufted Titmice feed mostly on insects and seeds. In summer, caterpillars are their preferred prey, although they eat a variety of insects and occasionally a spider or snail. Seeds, nuts, berries and small fruits make up most of their winter diets. Titmice are frequent visitors to birdfeeders in or near their habitat. They are one of the few perching birds that can use their feet to hold seeds while they break them open with their beak. 

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     The Tufted Titmouse is a relative of the chickadee. In winter, titmice, chickadees, nuthatches and woodpeckers may all forage for food together. It is not uncommon for the Tufted Titmouse to hide seeds for later use. Apparently, they can remember the exact location of each item they hide for weeks and even months. Some authorities believe this amazing memory retention is associated with the fact that the hippocampus region of the titmouse’s brain gets larger in fall and shrinks in the spring.  The hippocampus is the part of the brain responsible for short-term memory.

     The quick, vigorous movements of the Tufted Titmouse, as it darts from branch to branch or from feeder to branch, are fun to watch. So keep an eye out for them if you have birdfeeders near a stand of large trees or when you’re walking through the woods.

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