These little creatures are hysterically funny and a delight to watch. Although I didn’t feel this bird had a direct “mom” connection, it was the first bird I had a direct connection to humor-wise. The crown on it’s head and somewhat awkward body movements can keep one endlessly entertained for hours (and, of course, I just heard one as I am writing this so I guess I’m on the right track).
“”Tit” is a folksy 14th century English name for anything little. The “mouse” part of titmouse comes from “mose” – a general name that was applied to any small, dull-colored bird in that same period. It is known for its cheery call, and to many people its mating song is the first true sign of spring.” – Ted Andrews, Animal Speak
Winter 2014. One day I was snacking on organic almonds (there’s a reason I am telling you this) while watching the birds on the feeders, this sweet little Tufted Titmouse flies up to a branch outside of the window and looks in at me as if it was expecting me to share.
“These are too big for you, silly…“, although I didn’t think it was out of the question that he/she would be able to handle one. When it didn’t fly away after a while, and continued with it’s adorable glare, I opened the door and placed a couple of them on the back railing.
That Titmouse knew exactly what it was doing, and those almonds disappeared faster than you can say “Titmouse” (little did I know that this very act was going to be the drain in my pocket that I could never seem to account for…).
My special trips to Whole Foods became all about stocking up on organic almonds for my new little friend, who told two friends, and so on, and so on… (are you another product of the 80’s who used Faberge shampoo?).
Soon we had an entire family tree of Titmice coming to the back porch asking for their daily almonds. Every morning I would look forward to the ritual of placing them out on the railing, and sitting back for the show while happily sipping my coffee. Ok, not really… I was usually trying to get as many shots of them through the window as I possibly could (usually standing in the sink – shshsh don’t tell).
I needed to cleverly construct something that would be eye level so that I could actually stand with my feet on the ground. Plus, if there really was a chance my mother was fully aware that I was actually standing in our sink, and my husband ever found out (not that she’d tell him)… well, you know.
SO – I cleverly (overstatement) constructed a stand alone bird feeder using a tall candle holder and tape. It was not the prettiest of sights, it got the job done, AND we graduated to peanuts.
A few weeks later I saw an infomercial for the My Spy Birdhouse. They were offering an “up-close bird feeder” as a bonus – a little round plastic feeder with a suction cup which you place on the window. FINALLY, a way to be able to truly photograph my little friends up-close! I couldn’t order one fast enough (and you should too, if you love watching birds).
At first they were a bit timid, but after discovering this new almond filled honeypot we were friends for life. They would fly up to the wire, jump down to the bubble, grab an almond, and scram. I have never checked to see how many camera cards I went through (I have no desire to discover how truly obsessed I was), although did manage to make a silly video using some of the photos which I would later use in a 2nd grade class bird presentation (scariest day of my life which is an entirely different story).
As word of the bubble hit the street, the number of daily visitors and varieties increased. My special Whole Food trips were no longer about organic almonds… sadly they had to start suffering with (Ahem) regular almonds, corn and anything else nutty. Although it is long gone (we had to take it down after the squirrels discovered it and told all of their friends), I am forever grateful for this special “free” bonus gift that ended up bringing a kind of joy you just can’t put a price on.
“This rather tame, active, crested little bird is common all year in eastern forests, where its whistled peter-peter-peter song may be heard even during mid-winter thaws. It is related to the chickadees, and like them it readily comes to bird feeders, often carrying away sunflower seeds one at a time. Feeders may be helping it to expand its range: in recent decades, Tufted Titmice have been steadily pushing north.” – Audubon
The following are photos of the fledglings that I took when the bubble was still up… are they rediculously cute, or what?!
“Cheerful, bird of truth, mind mysteries, joy, heals/balances/opens perceptions, teaches about voicing impressions and expressions. Titmouse teaches to use our voice and the immense power of small things and with small ideas. Titmouse teaches courage and empowerment along with being bold with discernment. A natural curiosity awakens your senses and surroundings. Pay attention to social settings. He teaches the art of flexibility. Incubation for development is 6-8 weeks time. Are you sharing your thoughts and opinions right now? Titmouse can show how to express ideals with timing.” – Starstuffs.com