Friday, May 6, 2011

Tribute to Motherhood - Tufted Titmouse

Over the last several weeks, I have watched a pair of Tufted Timouse go from building their nest inside a hollowed out limb hole to now, spending much of their time finding food for their young.

I get about two 15 minute periods in the afternoon when the sun shines directly on the opening. I try each afternoon to get that perfect shot.

The female of course seems to be doing most of the work as the male sits lookout over the nest while the female flies in and out. On occasion, he will find an insect nearby to where he is on watch and pass it over to the female. The task of feeding and tending to the nest however seems to fall on the female. Usually between her trips in and out of the nest, she will stop off at the bird feeder for a bite. I try to keep that feeder filled with high quality energy seeds.

I have to say, they are an extremely dedicated pair. This afternoon just after the female departed the nest, a Carolina Wren flew to a dangling limb close to the opening. The male quickly flew into action and promptly dispatched the wren from the area. The Carolina Wren couple is nesting very close and unlike the Titmice pair, both seem to hunt for insects together.

Several days ago when I went out keeping a discreet distance from the nesting tree, all the birds in the area became instantly upset. I began to feel bad thinking I was the cause of the upset but soon, I saw what the true cause. A hawk had flown in and bird chaos erupted. The sound of the warning calls from all the birds in the area was almost overwhelming. In a few minutes, some Robins and Cardinals seem to join forces to chase the hawk away. The female Titmouse who had been in the nest peered out looking all around to make sure the danger had passed.

I figure I may have one more week to watch. I can now see the little ones moving about a bit if I watch carefully when the mother bird first flies in. I hope after the little ones fledge, she will have a nice vaction. Like most mothers, she deserves a break after raising her young.

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