Tuesday, December 29, 2009

...hopped on the bough, then, darting low, prints his small impress on the snow ~ From Emerson's poem The Titmouse

I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas.

We had an ice storm here on Wednesday into Thursday that interrupted power to more than 40,000 homes. My sister's home was one of them. Her family spent Wednesday night and all day Thursday wrapped in blankets in front of their fireplace. They had no electricity, no heat and no hot water.

It rained on Christmas morning and later in the afternoon the temperature dropped. The roads were a sheet of ice driving home on Christmas night. Later the snow started and we had another eight inches by Saturday evening.

In spite of the weather, our family had a lovely Christmas, eating a wonderful meal, laughing and chatting.



One of my best gifts this year has been this little visitor I call Mouse. I’ve hoped for years to attract a Tufted Titmouse to my feeders. I often see them at Severson Dells and at my father’s feeders. This is the first year I’ve been successful in bringing them to my farm. Aren’t their large, black eyes appealing?

These little birds maintain their pair bonds year round. In fact, family bonds are so strong; youngsters from the previous spring often remain with the parents and help with nesting and feeding the following year.

Females are very particular about nesting materials and prefer soft hair. People have reported seeing them pull fur from live squirrel and woodchuck tails, and from men’s beards.

The annual bird counts judge these birds to be a tentative success story. While most bird populations are rapidly decreasing, Tufted Titmouse numbers show a moderate increase. It is guessed this may be because more people are feeding birds over winter and these adaptable birds are benefiting.



The Titmouse comes to the suet feeders for Kaytee suet dough, then to the hopper feeder for shelled peanuts. I'm sure they will eat sunflower seeds also but haven't seen them at the sunflower feeders yet.


Wishing all of you a very happy New Year.
May you have and abundance of love, peace, health and comfort.


39 comments:

Betsy from Tennessee said...

Wow---your Christmas weather sounded horrible up that way, Marnie. Glad you all did get together and have a wonderful time. Being with family and friends is just so important.

Love your little "Mouse".. They are just the cutest birds around, aren't they??? I have lots of them --all day long. They eat sunflower seeds at my feeders more than the suet and peanuts.

I didn't know that about the 'hair'... Interesting!!!!

Love your header photo.

Happy New Year, my friend.
Hugs,
Betsy

sweet bay said...

I'm glad you were able to enjoy Christmas in spite of the horrible weather. Sounds extremely hazardous.

I think Titmouse are among the cutest of birds. We have a lot of them here and I always enjoy seeing them.

jodi (bloomingwriter) said...

The titmouse is just too, too cute, Marnie. I'm glad all were well despite the weather and power outages. Happy New Year to you and yours!

joey said...

You always have the best headers, Marnie. Love your handsome titmouse, one of my favorite backyard visitors. Please know how I've treasured our blogging friendship that I will again look forward to in the, hopefully, 'Happy New Year'!

Phillip said...

Marnie, your header photo is fantastic! I love this little bird too. They are presently visiting our feeders with sunflower seeds. I didn't know that about them using hair for their nests. I'm going to tell Michael to bring some from the salon.

BeadedTail said...

I'm glad you had a nice Christmas despite the wintry weather! We're had our first snow of the season, albeit barely, today and now it's raining and turning to ice. Lovely. But we got more bird seed on Christmas Eve so our birds will be taken care of. I haven't seen a Titmouse before but it's beautiful. Our chickadees have been very active lately and we saw a lot of robins on our Christmas day walk.

Di said...

Hello Marnie, boy do I love that little fella of yours. He must love it there. I may have to get some suet and a feeder to see if I can attract some different birds to the garden. The last time I did winter feeding was when I lived in MN for a short time many moons ago. I still remember sitting and waiting to see the last bird at night to the feeders... the female cardinal.

Happy New Year Marnie! to your good health and Joy in 2010. Diana

Lisa at Greenbow said...

What great photos of your little fellow. I bet you will have a garden full of them in no time now that they have found your feeders. They are such fun to watch. They will fuss at you while they skip around the garden. I hope you have the very best in 2010 Marnie. Cheers.

Tatyana@MySecretGarden said...

Hi Marnie! I'm glad you were warm and safe during that nasty weather. I feel for people who had no power. It reminded me of our 2006' storm. Fortunately, we could use our gas stove to warm up and to cook. Thank you for the interesting info about a titmouth! I'd like to watch it getting fur from squirrels' tails!
Have a Healthy and Happy New Year!

marmee said...

love your header and the rest of the titmouse photos...i am so happy for you to have him visiting. it is so much fun to have a long awaited visitor finally come. hopefully he and many more will stick around. we have them here and i enjoy watching them.
so glad you also enjoyed your family at christmas time. i can't imagine living in that much snow but we do have our share of ice storms. best just to stay at home when that happens...i have seen so many cars slip and slide right off the road.
happy new year marnie...happy december.

Darla said...

We enjoy seeing the Mouse at our feeders too. They will come to a wild bird feed mix, that's how we attracted them for awhile. This past Saturday we bought a peanut mix and some suet, they found that straight away!!

Carol said...

Marnie your little Titmouse is precious! I love those beady eyes too. Beautiful portraits!! Your new header is so perfect and lovely for winter. Sounds like your sister had a tough time... we had that experience last year... I keep meaning to purchase a generator! All the very best in the New Year! Carol

Judy said...

I love the titmouse! I don't think I have ever seen one.
So glad that you were safe for Christmas! Ice storms are pretty, but they can cause havoc with the roads and the powerlines!

CONEFLOWER said...

Hi Marnie! Love the little Titmouse. Glad you're getting visits from him/her this year. I haven't seen any here. I used to get them years ago at a different location.

Happy New Year to you too.

Monica the Garden Faerie said...

Mouse sure is cute! I've never seen a tufted titmouse in real life... but did see my first flicker the other day. If I had better knowledge of birds, or could find my bird book (usu. I'm very organized so this is frustrating!), I could tell you what kind. It was big, though, bigger than some woodpeckers!!

Rose said...

What a beautiful bird! So glad he has found his way to your home.

I'm glad you had a good Christmas with your family, Marnie. Your weather sounds horrible! I have memories of spending a couple days in a house with no electricity after an ice storm, and the novelty wears off very fast. I've seen beautiful photos of ice on several blogs, but I can't help thinking all the time--I don't want that! Hope the weather is improving for you--stay warm!

Happy New Year to you, Marnie!

Susie said...

Hey Marnie, sounds like you guys had some pretty tough weather. Hopefully, it has calmed down some.

I love that little Titmouse too! We hardly ever see this little bird. Thanks for sharing yours.

Hope you and your family have a wonderful New Year!

Zach said...

Marnie,
As soon as I saw the new Titmouse banner...may I say that my mouth dropped wide open. That was Beautiful. The titmouse is one of my favorite birds...even though I have never seen them. You are such an entrepreneur of birds. Gotta love it!

Cheryl said...

Hi Marnie....your weather sounds horrendous....but think spring.....and a gentle reminder for you to plant more annuals in 2010. I know we both said we did not plant enough this year....

The tufted titmouse is one of my favourite USA birds....I think they are just so pretty, beautiful eyes.....

May 2010 hold good health and much happiness for you......

Dawn said...

Ugh, horrid weather and just awful to spent Christmas without power.
I love this little birdie, they look so warm in their tuffed attire.
I've never heard of that kind of suet, I'll have to keep my eyes open.

Rosey Pollen said...

Happy New year to you as well.
As always, enjoyed your bird photography. I adore your "mouse".
Rosey

The Tile Lady said...

Oh, your tufted titmouse friend, Marnie, is just precious! I love them so much! I'm glad you were able to attract this one to your feeders. I'm sorry you had such awful storms over the Christmas season! I was wondering how some 0of our blogger friends were faring through it all, as well as my brother in Nebraska. It I am sure was hard on everyone, though the white Christmas had to be lovely.

This was Mom's first Christmas with Dad in Magnolia Manor, and it was hard on her, and on all of us. The Christmas party was very special there with Dad, and I think it meant the world to Mom that he was so alert and responsive to everything. It was a great party. Then, over Christmas she ducked away to NY to be with my youngest sister and her family--and to watch a two-year-old's delight at the Christmas tree and presents. I know it was a great distraction! There's nothing like a small child at Christmas!

Well, God bless you and yours! May this new year bring many wonderful birds to photograph, and God's blessings in your life!

Marie

Grace Peterson said...

Hi Marnie~~ Your photography is flawless. The family ties that bind make the titmouse all the more endearing. Happy new year.

ShySongbird said...

What weather you have had! It has been very icy here but not as much snow as you have had there.

What a delightful bird, the photos are lovely, I can guess how thrilled you are to have it visit and yes it does have beautiful eyes.

I am wishing you and yours a Very Happy and Healthy New Year Marnie.

Jann said...

Awesome photos! Beautiful bird! A very happy and wonderful 2010 to you Marnie! It's +10 right now, snowed lightly earlier...

Sherri said...

Marnie, I just love this little bird! I have just a few at the townhouse this year. Happy New Year to you!

*Ulrike* said...

I see these birds at our feeders all the time munching on the sunflower seeds. It sounds like you had all sorts of weather all at once! We have only cold rain, and fog, and more cold rain. Sigh, no snow.
Hope that you and yours have a wonderful new year!
Ulrike

garden girl said...

The weather Christmas night was pretty scary - that ice was awful! I'm not a big worrier normally, but I was in a near panic worrying about everyone getting home safely, and checked in with the girls a few times during our respective journeys home. Thankfully everyone made it safely home in spite of the roads being ice rinks.

What lovely little birds titmice are. Their family life is inspiring - some of us without wings could learn a lot from them!

Winter garden wildlife is such a joy. One of the good things about leafless trees is being able to observe winter birds more easily.

Happy New Year Marnie!

walk2write said...

Looks like Mouse has found a wonderful home at your place, Marnie. That's funny about its hair-raising methods! I'm glad your family was able to celebrate in spite of the awful weather you've been having. Happy New Year!

Msrobin said...

Oh my, what wintery holiday weather you had! We spent Christmas in Detroit with our families, and it rained buckets all day. Not very festive!

Nan and =^..^= said...

Happy New Year!
Wow, you sure have been experiencing all kinds of weather...so glad you could enjoy the holidays in spite of the treacherous conditions. That "Mouse" is darling! We have them at our bird feeders and they do go for the oiled sunflower seeds!

Balisha said...

Hi Marnie...I've had a pair at my mixed seed feeder. I just love them.
Balisha

Monica the Garden Faerie said...

Hi Marnie, Today I thought I'd finally seen a tufted titmouse, but it turned out to be a female cardinal. (Stop laughing.) Also, in Sept. you said you were in for my seed swap... if you still want in, please email your name and address to gardenfaerie02 at yahoo dot com. Happy new year!

Gayle @ Mountain Moma said...

Oh my goodness, there is nothing like a little weather excitement at Christmas! Love the bird, the eyes look almost like big buttons! What a Christmas gift for you. Have a happy New Year!

Unseen Rajasthan said...

Beautiful,lovely and fantastic shot !!

Kathleen said...

We were hearing about the brutal weather you were experiencing Marnie. I was happy it wasn't here (although it wasn't a heat wave by any means. Now I feel bad reading about how it terrible it really was. It's great you can say you had a good Christmas despite it all.

Congrats on attracting the Titmouse! I don't have them in my yard either but I would welcome them too. Very attractive bird with the crest and big black eyes (like you said). Hopefully now that one has found you, they'll continue to be a presence in your yard and perhaps in numbers as well?
Happy New Year to you too Marnie!

oldcrow61 said...

Awww, what a sweet bird. Great shots.

Kerri said...

Marnie, I'm so happy that you finally have a little Titmouse coming to your feeders. We have a family of at least 3 but I mostly see just one at a time. They really are very cute with their large black eyes. Did you know they're related to chicadees?
I'm glad you had a wonderful Christmas with your family in spite of the icy weather. Losing power in this weather would be dreadful. Your poor sister and family! Our outdoor wood furnace is working overtime and doing a great job.
You have some beautiful ornaments! I'm wishing you a healthy, happy New year and sending warm thoughts! :)

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