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Tufted Titmouse Nesting Habits: Where, When, and How They Nest?

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tufted titmouse perching

The Tufted Titmouse is a small songbird that is native to North America. This lovely bird has echoing songs and calls that make it easy to recognize. Creating a perfect nesting area for Tufted Titmice is easy once you learn the necessities they require. If you are wondering about the nesting habits of Tufted Titmice and if there is a way for them to become an everyday occupant of your backyard, make sure to follow some simple steps we’ve covered in the article below.

Quick Facts About the Tufted Titmouse

a tufted titmouse bird on a tree trunk

Image Credit: JackBulmer, Pixabay

Habitat Deciduous forests at low elevations, woodlands, groves, orchards, parks, and suburbs.
Diet Insects and seeds
Behavior They gather fallen seeds and store food for fall and winter.
Nesting They make cup-shaped nests in cavities such as natural holes and old nesting cavities of woodpeckers. They make nests from moss, damp leaves, grass clippings, and bark strips lined with hair and fur from different animals, cotton, and wool.
Conservation Low conservation concern
Scientific name Baeolophus bicolor
Lifespan: Most Tufted Titmice die as hatchlings, so the average lifespan of this bird is 2.1 years. If they reach adulthood, their chances of living more than 2 years are much higher. The oldest reported wild Tufted Titmouse was 13 years old.

Tufted Titmouse General Description

The Tufted Titmouse is a small common songbird from North America. They have a large, bushy crest, with white and light gray plumage, with hints of orange. They have a clear and repetitive song that echoes through the woodlands. The Tufted Titmouse has large black eyes and a large head, making them appear larger than other small birds. They will look for large seeds in the ground that they open with their tiny, round beaks.

tufted titmouse during winter

Image Credit: MikeGoad, Pixabay

Tufted Titmouse Range, Habitat, Behavior, Diet & Nesting

Range

The Tufted Titmouse was thought to be a southern species. Until recently, you could only find this bird as far north as Iowa and New Jersey, while now they range to Quebec and Ontario. Due to warmer climates, more birdfeeders during winter, and more woodland areas, these birds are expanding their range to the north.

Habitat

Tufted Titmouse prefers moist woodlands, mixed evergreen woods, and deciduous forests. They also enjoy suburban areas such as wooded residential areas, city parks, and orchards. The Tufted Titmouse is generally found at lower elevations.

Behavior

The Tufted Titmouse will hop from branch to branch looking for food. They tend to hang upside down or sideways when looking for food. When they find large seeds, they hold them down with their feet and crack them open with beaks. They will also search for fallen seeds in the ground. When gathering seeds, the Tufted Titmouse has a habit of storing food for fall and winter. When Tufted Titmouse hears that other birds are in distress, they will go in to investigate and attack a potential predator.

tufted titmouse perched on a branch

Image Credit: rusticpix_cheryl, Pixabay

Diet

The most common diet of the Tufted Titmouse is insects and seeds. During summer, they will mainly feed on insects since they are so easy to find. Their favorite meals are caterpillars, beetles, bees, wasps, spiders, snails, and ants, but during winter, their dietary choices mainly consist of small fruits. When gathering seeds, they tend to go for the biggest ones, breaking them open with their beaks.

Nesting

Tufted Titmouse searches for cavities to nest in. These cavities can come from many different sources: natural holes, old nesting cavities of woodpeckers, nest boxes, fence posts, and metal pipes. The nests they create have a shape that resembles a cup. These birds use moss, damp leaves, grass clippings, and bark strips to build their nests. They use animal hair, fur, cotton, and wool for the lining. They tend to collect the hair by directly plucking it off the animals’ bodies. Researchers investigating Tufted Titmouse’s nests discovered hair and fur belonging to dogs, cats, squirrels, raccoons, rabbits, cows, mice, and even human hair.

tufted titmouse collecting fur

Image Credit: Jeanne Crockett, Shutterstock

How to Find Tufted Titmouse: Birdwatching Tips

What to Listen For

The song of the Tufted Titmouse is easily recognizable by the fast repetitive whistle. They repeat this song up to 11 times in succession. The female’s song is much quieter than the male’s. While the song of these birds is echoing and pleasing, the call that a Tufted Titmouse makes to warn others of potential danger is much more mechanical. It’s a distinctive scratchy sound that resembles the call of a chickadee.

What to Look For

The Tufted Titmouse is a small songbird, although they seem larger than other small birds because of their full body, large head, and thick neck. They have a beautiful creamy plumage that starts off white and turns a soft gray on the back of the body and the wings. The undertones of the white tend to have a rusty-peach hue. Above its beak, the Tufted Titmouse has a patch of black.

When to Look

The Tufted Titmice are regular visitors to the backyard feeders, especially during winter. They are a common sight among the mixed flock of birds congregating in your background. They tend to move in groups, together with chickadees, woodpeckers, and nuthatches. You will easily recognize them in your backyard, even by their silhouette alone.

tufted titmouse bird perching

Image Credit: Mohan Nannapaneni, Pixabay

Attracting Tufted Titmouse to Your Backyard: Tips & Tricks

  • Create an inviting environment for the Tufted Titmouse. They nest in cavities such as tree holes and nest boxes, so creating such a shelter may be the best tactic for attracting these birds.
  • Attach a guard to the nest box to keep away predators lurking for eggs and young.
  • Tufted Titmice rely on berries and nuts to survive the winter. Plant berries or trees such as oak, hickory, birch, beech, pine, or maple to attract them to your backyard.
  • Create a feeder that will stand through the winter weather.
  • Provide a clean and fresh source of water.
  • Tufted Titmice adore bathing in water. Provide them with a birdbath next to the birdfeeder.

Tufted Titmouse Conservation: Is this Bird Threatened?

The Tufted Titmouse is increasing in population and is a widespread bird. Estimates show that the total breeding population size of tufted titmouse is around 12 million. They continue to expand their range to the north due to warming climates and the growing popularity of backyard birdfeeders, which help them survive the winter.

tufted titmouse

Image Credit: Malachi Jacobs, Shutterstock

Conclusion

Tufted Titmouse is a marvelous bird that you can easily recognize in North America’s wilderness or residential areas. This bird has a lovely white and gray plumage with rusty hues. There are many ways you can ensure that Tufted Titmice become an everyday guest in your backyard, and the best way to do so is planting seeds that they adore and ensuring they have enough sources to last through the entire winter.


Featured Image Credit: Rob Cochran, Shutterstock

About the Author Robert Sparks

Robert’s obsession with all things optical started early in life, when his optician father would bring home prototypes for Robert to play with. Nowadays, Robert is dedicated to helping others find the right optics for their needs. His hobbies include astronomy, astrophysics, and model building. Originally from Newark, NJ, he resides in Santa Fe, New Mexico, where the nighttime skies are filled with glittering stars.

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