Songbirds Are Nesting In My Backyard

Oak Titmouse

Oak Titmouse photo by Mark Schmitt

I just had to come in from my backyard and write this post about a songbird that I love to see every year. This Oak Titmouse (also known as the Plain Titmouse until the species was split into the Oak Titmouse and the Juniper Titmouse in 1997) is a joy to watch. These birds are very quick and hardly ever remain still very long. They love to fly down to the sunflower seed feeder, grab a seed real quick, then fly back up into the upper branches of the oak tree and pound the seed open while holding it with their feet against the branch to get to the meat. You can hear the sound of the Oak Titmouse by double clicking the arrow below.

The Oak Titmouse is a small, 5 3/4 inch tall, brown-tinged gray bird with a small tuft or crest. They live year round on the Pacific slope from southern Oregon south through California west of the Sierra Nevada to Baja California. They prefer open woodlands of warm, dry oak and oak-pine at low to mid-elevations.

The Oak Titmouse will sleep in tree cavities, dense foliage or birdhouses. When roosting in foliage, the titmouse chooses a twig surrounded by dense foliage or an accumulation of dead pine needles, simulating a roost in a cavity. They will readily breed in birdhouses very similar to bluebird houses only with a 1 1/4 inch entrance. To learn how to build them a birdhouse go here Build Your Own Titmouse Birdhouse or click the link in the sidebar under “Bird Houses”.

Titmice form pairs or small groups, but do not form large flocks. They may join mixed-species flocks after the breeding season for foraging. The Oak Titmouse mates for life and pairs defend year-round territories that can be 2 to 5 acres in size.

Oak Titmice eat insects and spiders (and we gardeners love them for that), and are sometimes seen catching insects in midair! They will also take berries, acorns and some seeds. They love sunflower seeds. They will forage on foliage, twigs, branches, trunks and occasionally on the ground. They are attracted to feeders with suet, peanut butter and sunflower seeds.

The Oak Titmouse is one of my favorite birds to watch in my own backyard. If you can get a pair to breed in your backyard or on your property you will love them too!

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