Notice the Little Titmouse

Discover this awesome little bird!

We see them all the time in the company of their close cousins, the chickadees, but what do we really know about titmice? While chickadees are constantly making their presence known with their cute antics, the titmouse is a calmer, quieter bird, but he has a personality too. We may not always notice and yet we should!

A definitely unappreciated little bird, you can often see titmice at your bird feeders—just as much as chickadees and nuthatches. In fact, they’re one of the top 10 reported birds in the Great Backyard Bird Count. They may appear drab gray and uninteresting at first, but if you look closely, you can see how the titmouse is one of the few small birds with a little crest on his head and has very large, dark eyes.

And there are other interesting facts about titmice. There are 5 species of titmice in North America. All are non-migratory and you can see them at your feeders year-round. They are sociable little birds and get along with other birds at the feeder. Some have a call similar to the “chick a dee dee” of their cousins, while the Tufted Titmouse of the eastern U. S. and the Black-crested Titmouse of Texas have a loud, whistled, “peter, peter, peter” call. Titmice get their name from the Old English words “tit,” meaning any small thing, and “mase,” meaning “small bird.”

And the titmouse is a little different from his cousins in another way. Most non-migratory birds join large flocks consisting of many different families when nesting season is over. But titmice are more solitary and stay together as a pair all winter. When you see two of them together at your feeders, sometimes in the company of an offspring from the previous summer, you know they’re a little family.

Titmice are very easy to attract. They enjoy suet, sunflower seeds and peanuts. Feed them suet in a hanging basket and sunflower seeds and/or peanuts in a mesh tube feeder or a tube seed feeder. And they always come to foods placed out on a platform feeder.

So the next time you see a little gray bird at your feeder that doesn’t look like anything special at first glance—take another look. And enjoy observing the little, gray titmouse.

Happy Birding!

You Might Also Like

  • Brigitte Peck Ki Laou January 5, 2010 at 9:21 pm

    I have never seen any timouse in my backyard and I am looking forward they would eventually pay me a visit.

  • Janet Dick January 6, 2010 at 1:22 pm

    I have ttm’s at my feeders and {heated} birdbath all the time. They are beautiful, friendly little birds. They are frequently in the company of chickadees. – Great fun to see a ttm carry off a whole peanut in the shell!

  • Rachel January 7, 2010 at 2:33 pm

    I love the titmouse! I think their peachy-buff colored underbellies are so beautiful against the white and grey, and their crested little heads make them unique from the other birds at the feeders. And they get so excited for peanuts! Thank you for highlighting these little guys.

  • Brenda Kula January 9, 2010 at 11:14 am

    They love my yard and I see them often!

  • Debbie January 9, 2010 at 3:37 pm

    While their cousins, the chickadees come and go alone without fear, the titmice only come with the chickadees. They are very fast and always come in a trio. I can’t imagine why birders don’t adore them. We do!

  • Margaret Strachan January 15, 2010 at 1:22 pm

    I live in S. CA and have had titmice nesting in my one of my two bluebird nesting boxes every year for the last decade. They have always successfully reared young. During the rest of the year they use the other box to roost in. I love to see them and often hear them. They visit my feeders with a quick dart in and out usually when there are no other birds feeding.
    They always make my day when I see them.

  • Lexani February 24, 2010 at 8:11 pm

    That is SUPER cute!!! 😀

  • Lexani February 24, 2010 at 8:12 pm

    How do I post um, pictures!? 🙁 please tell me!!

  • R. Brune March 2, 2010 at 11:29 am

    Hi Lexani,

    The best way to post images is on our Facebook page. I plan to post a collection of customer photos at some point in the future.

  • B.Sanders February 20, 2011 at 6:30 pm

    I have a whole flock of these cuties in my yard today..I filled the bird feeders and also filled my broken birdbath with seeds…they love the old birdbath as a feeder. Anyone who has a cracked birdbath that won’t hold water, it’s a perfect bird feeder….

  • P. Neal April 11, 2011 at 10:14 am

    I adore these little guys 🙂 We have a pair nesting in our front yard right now and I so enjoy watching them 🙂

  • Deb April 11, 2011 at 11:58 am

    They are one of my most favorite visitors! They are too funny when they take a whole peanut in the shell and fly off with it. The peanut is so big they look as though the peanut may be weighing them down when they take off. But they succeed.

  • Love Birds April 11, 2011 at 1:08 pm

    We have titmice at our feeder & birdbath year-round and they are among our favorites. We put out Safflower seed and Sunflower hearts and sometime peanuts – they love it all!

  • Alana April 11, 2011 at 1:34 pm

    I get them at my feeders everyday in New Jersey. They loved shelled pnuts.

  • Rebecca Doiron April 11, 2011 at 1:40 pm

    I have 8 birdhouses in my backyard and am thrilled to have 3 pairs of Titmice nesting in them right now. The other house have chickadees and a pair of warblers…

  • Midge West April 11, 2011 at 1:57 pm

    We put up some cute birdhouses around the back yard just for decoration, and the last two years we have had titmouse families come and live in them. They are where we can sit inside and watch the parent birds fly in and out feeding the babies, and even more fun is when they start bringing the babies out and teach them to fly.

  • juanita April 11, 2011 at 3:10 pm

    I love those little guys. They are so cute!!!!

  • Carole April 11, 2011 at 7:04 pm

    When we first looked at our Sedona house eleven years ago a titmouse was visiting a feeder off the deck. While I do love our house and its many charms, the titmouse was a decisive factor in my saying “yes” to buying it. Over the years the little gray birds have never failed to make me smile.

  • Michelle C. April 11, 2011 at 9:17 pm

    I’ve always loved these litte birds since my first sighting as a kid. Now I enjoy them at my feeders year round. Very sweet and entertaining!

  • Chrystal April 12, 2011 at 8:09 am

    These are one of my fav birds!! So so cute. They love sunflower seeds…. They do this cute thing with them: They fly to my feeder and grab one, fly over to the nearest tree branch and stand on the sunflower seed and peck at the crack, which breaks the seed open and then they peck the stuff out…. Then fly off to the next….. So damn cute!! Has anyone else seen this??

    • Nell Wilson March 14, 2017 at 7:04 pm

      Yes I’ve seen this action from my Tufted TM. They don’t go far, so you can hear the little, “jackhammers” at work. They put on full show. I will put out peanuts, but please tell me if they should be whole or shelled and raw or roasted.
      I love this blog

      • Heidi Babb April 10, 2017 at 11:48 am

        Nell, thanks for your response to Chrystal! In response to your question, you can try both whole and shelled peanuts to see which they prefer. (I serve both at my house) But always raw, not roasted!

  • Karen Packard April 12, 2011 at 11:28 am

    I love watching these cute little birds @ my nut & suet feeders. They hang upside down on the feeders & take one nut @ a time & then return for more.

  • Pam April 12, 2011 at 1:37 pm

    Here in No. California we have the Oak Titmouse. They are so sweet! I’ve lived in the same town my whole 55 years and only have seen titmouse and goldfinches since I’ve hung up feeders. The thistle seeds brougt so many “new” birds out for viewing. Hang up those feeders and help our birds. They bring so much joy to us. Variety of food is the key.

  • Mary Swails April 13, 2011 at 3:30 pm

    My husband and I enjoy watching birds at our feeder, especially the
    ‘buggy’ eyed titmouse! This winter we have a white (lucerne) tufted titmouse and find it its behaviour differences interesting to watch. It is a loner, seems shy and will snatch a seed much quicker than other titmouse. Most often it will fly away after retrieving a seed, but occassionally, it will ‘hide’ amoung the palm fronds and crack a seed, then return for another.

  • Tom Harleman April 13, 2011 at 4:36 pm

    I have hand-fed several titmouse here in PA during the winter time and they seemed almost as small as a chickadee when I had them in my hand. They are easy to hand-feed.

  • Sandy Skinner April 17, 2011 at 12:57 am

    Has anyone had Titmice in the Phoenix, Arizona area? I put out fruit, nuts and seeds but have never seen one. Will try the suet and see what happens. Thanks for replying!

  • MARIA SCIOTTI December 22, 2011 at 4:38 pm


  • Gerald L. Smith July 18, 2016 at 10:30 am

    The other day while sitting just beyond one of our feeders, a mother Titmouse landed with a youngster riding on her back.
    I have never seen this before, is it very common?
    The mother went to the feeder and then to shepards hook, then back to the feeder, all the time with it’s little pasenger.