Go ahead, say it out loud.
Now laugh out loud just like you’re laughing on the inside.
For most of the world, and particularly for juvenile men (which includes pretty much all of them) you might as well call this poor bird “Fluffy boob rat!”
Actually, the word “tit” comes from the Anglo-Saxon word for anything small. Hence, the titmouse is not alone; there are also coal tits, willow tits, varied tits, sultan tits, crested tits, blue tits, and, of course, great tits.
But there’s much more to these little songbirds than a slightly naughty giggle.
The tufted titmouse (Parus bicolor) is a regular at backyard feeders in the winter. They’re cousins to the chickadee (both in the family Paridae) and will often flock with them.
The titmouse is a bit larger than the chickadee, though, at six inches from beak tip to tail tip, cool gray above with a rusty underwing and ecru belly. Their most outstanding feature is the triangular crest of feathers atop their heads, their “tuft”.
Titmouse is also a shade more standoffish than the chickadee, and may make fewer trips to the feeder when humans are present or visible through a window.
That bit of shyness is easily overcom, sitting still and keeping quiet. I love to sit and watch my feeders over my morning cup of coffee, and as long as I sit two or three feet back from the window and keep my mug in my hands I seem to meet the titmice’s trust standards.
This is exactly where you’ll find me for most of this weekend, in fact, participating in he annual Great Backyard Bird Count.
In just a few weeks now – the vernal equinox is only five weeks and two days away, joy! – the titmice males will begin singing their spring mating song to try to win the hearts of the females, calling eight alternating high and low notes that sound like ” Peter, Peter, Peter, Peter”.
Have a great Great Backyard Bird Count weekend. I hope you see plenty of tits in your own backyard. (Stop laughing, gutter mind!). 😜