|photo by Bob Steele|
|Photo by David Boyd|
I have to believe that such a inconspicuous little bird mostly goes un-noticed by the majority of folks. It's colour is not overly striking or impressive, but perhaps in a gang numbers and the collective sound of their chirping they are more easily recognizable and familiar.The sound itself is quick short busts of 'Tsit Tsit' and seems to be a continuous connecting with each others in the group. When a lead bird decides to move the group to another Shrub location for better foraging, this constant chirping & spitting sound seems more to be a reassuring beacon for any stragglers of one or two to radar and home in at the new location. You may even be familiar with a number of other dainty little birds which have the word 'Tit' in their name. 'Tufted Titmouse' , 'Juniper Titmouse' and 'Oak Titmouse'. Then there is not only the 'Bushtit' but also the 'Wrentit'. There are sometimes when I have a hard time saying without wondering if I said a dirty word. *eyes rolling*
Aside from their groupy shrub preening and gleaning, they pair off in the Springtime for mating. I had an Aleppo Pine (Pinus halepensis) a pair and I am assuming the same couple every year though not sure how long lived they are. Here is that tree at my old place that I have shown before. It is the tallest pine with the tiniest needles almost like a pinyon which by the way they prefer since it is in their native range and densely covered with small needles like Aleppo.
Unfortunately they were continually harassed by this Guy
That darn cat every year was alerted to their sounds and movements. Nothing escaped his notice. Though he was a good mouser and that is why we got him in the first place and of course we really did like him, but sometimes the hunting of other non-targeted wildlife was a challenge to break him of. Needless to say we never did. Several times I had rescued Chipmonks from his grasp. Oh well, here are a couple of other nest shots to give you an idea of what to look for if you are ever out in the bush and run across one.
Here is the common local Parry Pinyon (Pinus quadrafolia) which is a four needle to a bundle pinyon as opposed to the Single Needle Pinyon (Pinus monophyla) just a few miles away above Palm Desert, CA on the high desert pinyon Juniper woodland country. It also to my estimation has a denser foliage than the other pine. Some may recognize this shot of one in the Garner Valley area just a few miles north of Burn Valley area of Anza CA.
|Photo by Jay Sullivan|
Notice the four needles to a bundle and the white colour on the undersides. This pine makes a great hiding place for the Bushtits to build their nests. I can see why they may have substituted the Aleppo Pine which has similar tiny abundant needles for a nesting location. Unfortunately that darn cat always knew it too.
|Photo by Calflora|
|Photo by Deborah Small|
Here's the mature cones that the ScrubJays love so much. This is what they look like if the ScrubJays get there first which is quick. I swear they have radar for this stuff.
|Photo by Esser Lora|
Gathering nest material and couples building their nests.
I can tell you that after picking up the nest after the cat knocked it down, it is extremely well insulated. The other interesting thing I saw was that sometimes it just wasn't the parents building the nest but other helpers were chipping in with the project. I often wondered if they perhaps were the previous years young chicks from the same family helping out until their time came for finding a mate. They all seem to house themselves in these rather large nest as well. After rustling noises were heard nearby I would see three or four bolt from the same nest. Evidently they all sleep on twigs on the outside and near the nest after the babies have matured a bit. One other thing I prodded for them and other birds was a watering place. not only for drinking, but also splashing and taking a bath. I know you've all seen these metal frame feeders with the suet and I had several which the ScrubJays loved, but also the Bushtits.
Basically these birds are just another important part of nature and something that definitely adds the 'eye candy' to your backyard. I hope to add them to a list of things for which the Redshank is an important foundation tree in it's area and from which these little guys benefit from eating a little tiny green caterpillar at the end of summer. Hope you are successful at attracting some of them to your private backyard domain someday. Just adding some kool videos for everyone's enjoyment of the funny cute little character of Bushtits in their surroundings. Enjoy!
Bushtits with Anna's Hummingbird
Bushtits at a Pool Party
Bushtit (Psaltriparus minimus) visiting nest This tree looks very much like a Larch Tree I saw last week in Poland
Baby Bushtit Birds Fed in Nest