Tufted Titmouse (Baeolophus bicolor)
The Tufted Titmouse (Baeolophus bicolor) is located in the eastern regions of the United States, but there are indications that the population is beginning to spread to the northern regions as well. Conservationists can only assume that the growing numbers in these regions is due to humans feeding the birds. The Tufted Titmouse frequents bird feeders and will often chase other birds that try to use this convenient facility. This little Titmouse was originally only found along the Mississippi river basin and the Ohio river basin. Over the years, the sightings have been recorded as they started to spread across the country. The Tufted Titmouse is between 4.5 to 5.5 inches in length and both the males and females are similar in appearance. They have dark to black foreheads, gray heads and white plumage covers the under body parts such as their throats, faces and bellies. The flanks are a rusty color and the upper parts such as back and wings, are a light gray. Bills are short and black, and have dark eyes. The Titmouse will often be seen in small flocks.
Titmice will feed on a large variety of foods that include blackberries, nuts, acorns and sunflower seeds, and insects such as ants, wasps, caterpillars, spiders and snails. Insects will mostly be eaten in the warm summer months, while fruits and nuts will be eaten in the winter months.
Breeding season for the Titmouse is from April to July. The Tufted Titmouse will mate for life and will build their nests in the cavities in trees that are left by Woodpeckers, natural hollows or created by a fungus. Nests are constructed from almost anything they can find. Building materials can include cloth, grass, moss, bark, leaves, hair and feathers. Titmice feel no shame in ripping some fur from a passing squirrel or even plucking a few strands from a human head, to complete their homes. The female will lay five to six eggs that are white in color and are speckled with brown. The incubation period takes approximately fourteen days and both parents will assist in the feeding of the chicks until they are ready to fledge the nest at 16 days.