Mar. 9th, 2008

A titmouse

Mar. 9th, 2008 11:17 am
I don't get titmice at my feeders often. They are one of my favorite birds, Today I not only have one visiting but he is singing and calling. I am not sure if the goal is attracting a mate or establishing territory or both but it is a treat.

This is the photo I took of another titmouse about 1 year ago.


Here is a bit about them from Cornell

Tufted titmice (Baeolophus bicolor) are common in the Eastern United States. In fact their populations are increasing and their ranges are expanding northward. They are small gray songbirds with with a short tuft on head. Their black eyes are prominent in a pale gray face. They are 6 inches from beak to tail and have a wingspan of about 8 inches from tip to tip.

Cool facts courtesy of Cornell )

Information about their nesting habits can be found here. Some highlights from this sight.

Titmice nest in pre-existing cavities and nest boxes and tend to have only one brood per year. Nest construction begins between late February and April and takes an average of 4 days. "The nest cup is lined with insulating material like down, wool, hair, fibers, cotton or fur. They have been seen yanking fur out of live mammals and the arms and heads of humans. Hair in various nests has been identified as that of raccoon, opossum, dog, fox squirrel, red squirrel, rabbit, horse, cow, cat, mouse, woodchuck, and humans (Pielou 1957). Rags, string or cloth, feathers and/or a bit of snakeskin may also be used. Like chickadees, they will use fur offered in a suet cage. Until the eggs are laid, it is hard to distinguish the nest from that of a chickadee, although they may use more leaves."

Once the nest is complete, 3-9 eggs are laid with 5 or 6 being the most common number. "Eggs are smooth and non-glossy, small (but larger than a house wren egg), white to creamy white, with fine chestnut red, hazel, purplish red, brown, purple or lilac speckles or spots which are evenly distributed, with some concentration at the larger end." Incubation lasts about 13 days.

The chicks eyes begin to open after about 4 days and are completely open by about day 8. By day 10 the down is replaced with feathers and by day 14 the chicks resemble adults. Fledging takes place in about 16-17 days and by 6 weeks the chicks are feeding themselves. The chicks often remain with parents through the first winter and some yearling titmice may stay on to help the parents raise the next season's brood.

The average life span of a tufted titmouse is about 2 years but the oldest record for one is 13 years and 3 months.

My throat and getting sorer. I want to go to the office and work today but I want to come home to something warm and nourishing. I am considering throwing the ingredients for chicken groundnut stew into the crock pot before I leave for the office. My only exposure to this dish is the cafeteria on campus which is a version with plenty of chunks of sweet potatoes. Of course I need to go get the main ingredients first. Before I go to the store I have to find a recipe; the links below are what my search is turning up.

recipe one

recipe two

Another possibility is coconut and lemon grass soup but that wouldn't be a crock pot item.

As I came back from the grocery store I noticed that my crocuses have sprouted. :) Sure it is snowing today but not sticking and we have a good deal of cold and snow to go but SPRING IS COMING!!!

Sorry I am flooding your FL today. I guess I am feeling very chatty. I am about to settle into work so I should shut up soon. Though I have decided to work at home because sore throat is turning into all over icky feeling. Being home near the means to make hot tea and cinnamon toast is suddenly much more appealing than my cave on campus.

birds today )

I started dinner with the ground nut stew ideas I posted earlier and a desire to use up bits and pieces of things from the refrigerator and freezer. here is what I did )

The verdict: It isn't great but isn't bad served over rice. I don't have the seasonings quite right and I shouldn't have floured the chicken and browned it. Also a bit too much liquid.

May 2010


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