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The tufted titmouse (Baeolophus bicolor) is a small songbird from North America, a species in the tit and chickadee family (Paridae). The black-crested titmouse, found from central and southern Texas southward, was included as a subspecies but now is considered a separate species, Baeolophus atricristatus.
These small birds have a white front and grey upper body outlined with rust colored flanks. Other characteristics include their black foreheads and the tufted grey crest on their heads. In juveniles, the black forehead is greatly diminished such that they may be confused with the oak titmouse (although their ranges do not overlap). Males tend to be larger than females.
Its habitat is deciduous and mixed woods as well as gardens, parks, and shrublands. Although the tufted titmouse is non-migratory and originally native to the Ohio and Mississippi River basins, factors such as bird feeders have caused these birds to occupy a larger territory across the United States and stretching into Ontario and Quebec in Canada. During the second half of the 20th century and into the 21st century, the species' range has been expanding northwards.
The tufted titmouse gathers food from the ground and from tree branches, frequently consuming a variety of berries, nuts, seeds, small fruits, insects, and other invertebrates. Caterpillars constitute a major part of its diet during the summer. This species is also a regular visitor to bird feeders. Its normal pattern is to scout a feeder from cover, fly in to take a seed, then fly back to shelter to consume the morsel, though caching is also very common.
The titmouse can demonstrate curiosity regarding humans and sometimes will perch on a window ledge and seem to be peering into the house. It may also cling to the windows and walls of buildings seeking prey in wasp and hornet nests.
The lifespan of the tufted titmouse is approximately 2.1 years, although it can live for more than ten years. On average, these birds will have a clutch size of five to seven eggs. Unlike many birds, the offspring of tufted titmice will often stay with their parents during the winter and even after the first year of their life. Sometimes, a bird born the year before will help its parents raise the next year's young.
From 1966 to 2015 the tufted titmouse population has increased by more than 1.5% per year throughout the northeastern U.S. The current breeding population is estimated to be approximately 8 million.
small, active bird, early 14c., titmose, from tit (n.2), expressing something small, + Old English mase "titmouse," from Proto-Germanic *maison (source also of Dutch mees, German meise), from adj. *maisa- "little, tiny." Spelling influenced 16c. by unrelated mouse, "when mose had long been obsolete as an independent word" [OED]. The proper plural is titmouses.
1540s, a word used for any small animal or object (as in compound forms such as titmouse, tomtit, etc.); also used of small horses. Similar words in related senses are found in Scandinavian (Icelandic tittr, Norwegian tita "a little bird"), but the connection and origin are obscure; perhaps, as OED suggests, the word is merely suggestive of something small. Used figuratively of persons after 1734, but earlier for "a girl or young woman" (1590s), often in deprecatory sense of "a hussy, minx."
Residential garden with multiple feeders. First thought was Tufted Titmouse. A friend said possibly Carolina Wren. Both have a wide variety of song types, particularly the titmouse. Presented it as mystery on XC, and reviewer agreed. A very unusual song variation for a species with a wide range of vocalizations.
In its song, call notes and behavior, it is very much like its tufted cousin. In east-central Texas, the black-crested titmouse sometimes interbreeds with the tufted titmouse. The resulting hybrids usually have dark gray crests, and often a spot of reddish brown on the forehead.
But in the 1990s, studies proved that they were actually two separate species, with different voices and different choices of habitat. So now we have the oak titmouse living in the oak woods of California and extreme southern Oregon, and the juniper titmouse inhabiting woods of juniper and pinyon pine in the interior of the west, from northeastern California to New Mexico.
Juniper titmice are sometimes hard to find. In arid, open woods of juniper and pinyon pine, they live in scattered pairs and small flocks. But in the Southwest, they will sometimes join up with flocks of their sharp-looking relatives, the bridled titmouse.
In the mountains of Arizona and New Mexico, in woodlands of the canyons and foothills, flocks of bridled titmice flit through the oaks. These are the smallest of the titmice, and they often seem to sound and act more like chickadees. But in addition to the bridle-like face pattern that gives them their name, they have the sharp, pointed crest of a typical titmouse.
This species reaches the northern limit of its range in southwest Oregon. Oak and Juniper titmice were formerly in the same species as the Plain titmouse but were recognized as a separate species in 1997. The drab, gray color with distinct crest and chickadee-like calls and behavior characterizes these species. Plumage of sexes is identical.
The Oak titmouse is a friendly, high-spirited, and melodious bird of oak-dominated habitats of interior valleys and lowlands. It is a common resident in oak woodlands of the interior Rogue Valley, and a rare but permanent resident in Illinois Valley.
When mixed flocks of chickadees, nuthatches, and other small birds pass through the territory, the titmice often join them. Titmice are dominant over chickadees and other smaller species; often the smaller birds fly off when a titmouse alights on a feeder.
The same birder also watched another titmouse pulling fur off of a dead squirrel in the middle of a busy road. People who brush their dogs or cats can make titmouse lives easier by putting clumps of fur into a clean suet feeder. In spring, titmice will pull out some of the fur for their nests. Other birds and small mammals may use the fur at other times of year as well.
I just had an encounter with a titmouse on the northern Minnesota border and Canada on Rainy Lake. Oct 30, 2018. I was walking in a scrub oak plot and close to a small crabapple tree full of tiny red apples when I heard a tweet of alarm. At the same instant there was movement 20 feet to my right and a 10 point white tail buck jolted in alarm and froze. We all stared at each other around the tree for approximately 2 minutes and then I walked away and left them alone
I cleaned out the bird box after the last occupant in early May. We went out of town and came back to a fully built but empty nest in the box the last week of May. It is June 1st, and l am watching the titmouse hanging out in the box. I would have thought that it was too late for nesting as it is starting to get really hot here in Louisiana. Is this typical?
This was not the sad blunder of a bird mistaking a window for blue sky. After the titmouse fluttered and scrabbled down the window to the walk, it did not fly away. It got up and dashed against the window again. And again.
The titmouse pounded the glass with its beak. It scratched at the window with its toes. I went outside to get the bird's point of the view, and I saw my own perplexed face gazing back at me. Of course! The titmouse was battling his reflection.
The season was spring. In the trees nearby, the mate of the titmouse would be building a nest. Hormones in the bird's blood impelled him to defend his territory. And there, just beyond the window glass, he spotted a rival. The little grey bird hurled himself toward the intruder with a piercing whistle.
The other ought to have flown away, for few intruding birds can withstand the fury of a male righteous on his own territory. But this intruder did not flee. It flew straight at him, and the two collided. Even then the intruder did not retreat. As soon as the titmouse righted himself, there was the other, facing him in a posture as inflamed and challenging as his own. The titmouse shrieked his protest and jabbed at the stranger with his small bill. The rival pecked back just as fast. Two beaks hit spot on, like hammers striking sparks against each other.
I lowered the rattan shade outside the window, but my titmouse was not placated. Around and around the house he searched, discovering his rival in one window after another. He didn't stop until dark. When I went into the kitchen the next morning, the titmouse was scuffling at the kitchen window.
I kept the outside shades down a lot, but my house has many other windows, and the titmouse found his rival everywhere. Going to my car, I saw him fly away from the side mirror, which was spattered with frothy saliva and small grey feathers. Some afternoons, he thrashed at the metal trim of our utility trailer. Showering, I saw him beating at the bathroom's small high window.
I know that cardinals and robins often fight their reflections in windows, hubcaps, and other reflecting surfaces, but usually they desist after a few days. I hoped the titmouse would get so engrossed in nesting that he would forget about the other in the window. However, his lonely battle lasted all through summer. And in fall my windows and the car's side mirror still needed washing every few days. 041b061a72