Chances are, if you fill a feeder with sunflower seeds during the winter, you are going to attract tufted titmice. Once they find a feeder stocked with sunflower seeds, they spend much of their time making forays to the feeder. On each visit, they daintily pluck one sunflower seed and quickly fly away with it.
If you have spent any time watching titmice feed, you have probably wondered how many titmice you are feeding. Whenever I have attempted to estimate the winter titmouse population in my backyard, I quickly discovered I could never come up with an answer more definitive than more than one.
Fortunately, for those of us that ponder such questions, there are ornithologists that have conducted studies concerning the winter habits of titmice in winter. Their findings have revealed during the winter titmice form small flocks principally made up of family members. As such, a flock often numbers no more than three individuals (a mated pair and one of their young that hatched the previous spring). At times, one or two others join them.
The group will forage for food throughout an area ranging from 15-20 acres in size. This tract will include the adults’ nesting territory.
One day about the time winter has loosened its icy grip on the Peach State it will dawn on you tufted titmouse seem to be visiting your feeder less frequently. This is a sign the winter flock has broken up. After the breakup, often the only birds left in the area will be the pair that nested there the previous year. The others will be elsewhere trying to find their own nesting territory.
By that time of the year, I am willing to trade my not being able to see tufted titmice as often as I have over the previous few months for the arrival of spring.