07.10.16: Alert titmouse

A Tufted Titmouse stays alert while perched on a limb in Sharon Woods Metro Park, Westerville, Ohio. 

PHOTO OF THE WEEK ARCHIVES

Technical information

Date/time:
Nov. 22, 2009,
12:03 p.m.

Location
40°7’10” N,
82°57'32" W
(Show in Google Maps)

Camera: 
Canon EOS 7D

Lens: 
Canon EF 600mm f/4L, Canon 1.4x teleconverter (840mm) 

Aperture: 
f/5.6

Shutter: 
1/800th second

ISO: 
800

I tend to laugh when I’m taking a photo of a Tufted Titmouse. The large, round eyes, small bill and brushy crest give the bird a permanent “surprised” expression on its face.

Titmice are common in forests here in Central Ohio and are frequent visitors to feeders in the area during winter months. The birds always select the largest seed they can find, carry it to a nearby perch and hit it with their bill until the seed cracks open. Titmice also hoard food during the fall and winter months. They’ll take seeds from a feeder, open them, then store the food in cracks and crevices in nearby trees so they can be retrieved later.

During the summer, a titmouse will eat primarily insects.

I found this Tufted Titmouse when I was photographing birds around a feeder on a winter morning. I had noticed that the bird tended to follow the same path to the feeder, stopping on this limb until other birds left the feeder, then swooping in for a seed. So I focused on the limb and waited for the bird to return. It only took about a minute. It landed in the same spot and stayed for a few seconds before hopping over to the feeder.

But it stayed long enough for me to get the shot.

When I see a titmouse during the fall or winter I know to expect to find chickadees and nuthatches nearby. The birds flock together during the winter months. And I’ve grabbed a number of winter photos of nuthatches and chickadees around the feeder where I found this titmouse.

Each week I will post a photo from my collection with an explanation of how I got the shot. Previous photos of the week are in the archives.