Tufted Titmouse were once a bird of the deep South, the range of the Tufted Titmouse now extends down the Atlantic coast from middle New England and as far south as southern Florida.
This bird is ow found along the Gulf coast to eastern Texas where its range turns north and follows the eastern margin of the Great Plains as far as southeastern Minnesota and southwestern Wisconsin.
The northern boundary extends eastward through Michigan, southern Ontario, and northern New York to New England.
A 6½-inch bird is an active and noisy little bird easily recognizable by its trademark call that sounds like a whistled peter-peter-peter.
A dominant bird that chases away rival small birds at the feeders, both the male and female look alike with gray upper body and lighter gray or white belly and breasts. The flanks or sides of the body are rust or chestnut-colored.
Both sexes have a small crest of gray feathers sticking up their head – a distinctive characteristic of this Titmouse. Their forehead is black and the area around their eyes is light gray.
The black ring surrounding their eyes makes their eyes look somewhat large for tiny birds like them. This species has a short but very powerful black bill that it uses to crack open seeds and snail shells.
A cavity nester, the Tufted Titmouse prefers to build its nests in swampy and moist deciduous forests.
The Tufted Titmouse builds its nest in tree holes using a variety of materials that include dead leaves, moss, bark strips, grass, hair, fur, feathers, string, cloth, and snake skin.
A lot of them have grown accustomed to people and will live in parks and yards in suburban areas and sometimes (not often) nest in made made nest boxes.
Like many species, Titmice mate for life once they have chosen their partner. Unlike the chickadee, the mated pair does not join other larger flocks outside of the breeding season but simply stay in their territory as a pair.
Sometimes, an older offspring stays with them along with other young birds to help them raise the coming years brood.
Titmice will build nests in various types of trees including elms, maples, oaks, pines, and beech.
Breeding normally begins late March or early April after the nest has been completed by both the female and male Titmouse.
The female then lays five or six white eggs finely speckled with brown spots which she incubates for 12 to 14 days.
Like their cousin the Black-capped chickadee, the male feeds the female Titmouse from the time they start building the nest until the time the eggs hatch, during which both parents look after their young.
As the young birds get older, the female goes out more often to help her partner look for food, covering the nest partially with nesting material. It takes some 15 to 16 days for the young to fledge although they are not completely independent until after another three weeks.
Tufted Titmice in the southern range brood twice in one breeding season while those in the northern range brood only once. Sometimes, young Titmice stay with their parents to help them take care of the next brood.
The Tufted Titmouse feeds on seeds and insects although the bulk of its diet is made up of seeds.
Plant in your habitats and gardens some oak and beech for mast. Pine seeds and fruit like blueberry, blackberry, mulberry, bayberry, viburnum, and hackberry also attract these birds.
Titmice do not eat their food all at once but bury them in crevices on the tree bark or on the ground. They use their powerful bills to crack open hard-shelled nuts and seeds
Although they glean prey from the barks of trees, they also forage on the ground for food. In winter, the Titmice cache the seeds and acorns they collect.
They also visit bird feeders where they enjoy an abundance of sunflower seeds, peanut pieces and enjoy a visit to the suet feeder as well.
With time and patience, they can be trained to hand feed.
Titmice are considered a very intelligent bird.
Check the links below for more ideas on feeding and attracting titmice and other birds to your gardens.