Family Fun on the Fourth of July!
The Ratatouille Re-cap (Long Form)

The Tufted Titmouse

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Oh, I have no business puttering on the computer this morning ~ lots to do before Bookworm's party this afternoon ~ but since I have at least one more cup of coffee to drink before my engines really get going, I thought I would post a few pictures and dash off a few lines as I sip. :)

Lately we've been enjoying the company of a lively family of tufted timice. Are you familiar with this species at all? They are quite common here in New England - so common in fact, I sometimes overlook their steadfast presence. But boy, lately they've caught my attention, because do they ever make a racket! High pitched squeaky chirps repeated endlessly, as the youngsters shadow their parents' every move. At first we thought the juveniles were waiting to be fed (beaks open, wings shaking) - and they do get fed - but we think in addition they are being taught. I have to say I admire titmouse family values:

"In fact, the titmouse family bond is so strong that the young from one breeding season will often stay with their parents long enough to help with the nesting and feeding duties of the following year." (Birds of New England)

The learning process seems to be a slow one. Here is a picture I took of two of the youngsters spending a good deal of time trying to figure out how to get to the seeds in this feeder:

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They were too timid to hold onto the side perches, lol! Instead one peered in from the open top while one or more siblings looked on from above. This went on for a good 20 minutes or so before they ended up flying over to another feeder.

I took this picture (and the one at top) peeking over the top of the window feeder. Usually when I try to snap pictures from this vantage point the birds immediately fly off. This fellow allowed me to snap several before he flew off with a seed to crack.

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I have a new appreciation for these common, clever birds. They really are quite lovely.

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