LBBs – Little Brown Birds

By Jim Gain

Learn 100 Common Valley Birds is a photo blog series highlighting the 100 most common Valley bird species.

Post #23 in the Learn 100 Common Valley Birds series. (Species 36, & 37/100)

Oak Titmouse – Species #36

The Oak Titmouse (Baeolophus inornatus) is a small, non-migratory bird species native to the oak woodlands of California’s Central Valley. These birds are known for their distinctive gray-brown plumage and prominent black eyes. They also have a small crest on their head which they can raise or lower depending on their mood.

The Oak Titmouse feeds on insects, seeds, and acorns, which it forages for in the trees and shrubs of its habitat. The Oak Titmouse is a cavity nester and typically nests in old woodpecker holes or other natural cavities in trees.

It is known for its loud and distinctive calls, which include a buzzy “peter-peter-peter” and a whistled “see-see-see.” The Oak Titmouse is a non-migratory bird and does not typically travel far from its nesting site. The bird is considered an indicator species of the health of oak woodlands and is of conservation concern due to habitat loss and fragmentation.

Bushtit – Species #37

The Bushtit (Psaltriparus minimus) is a small, round bird found in the Central Valley of California. They have a distinctive appearance, with fluffy, grayish-brown plumage that covers their entire body, except for their black eyes and tiny, stubby beak. Their tail is relatively short, and their wings are rounded, allowing them to maneuver easily through dense vegetation.

Bushtits are highly social birds, living in flocks of up to 40 individuals. They are also highly active, constantly flitting and hopping through bushes and trees, in search of insects, spiders, and other small invertebrates. They build intricate, hanging nests made of spider silk, lichen, and other plant materials, often in clusters of up to a dozen, with each nest being occupied by a single breeding pair.

Bushtits are also known for their fascinating cooperative breeding behavior. In some cases, adult offspring from previous breeding seasons remain with their parents to help raise younger siblings. This helps to increase the survival rate of the entire family, and it also allows the older siblings to gain valuable experience for their own future breeding efforts. All in all, the Bushtit is a fascinating and charismatic bird, and it is an important part of the rich biodiversity of the Central Valley of California.

Previous posts from the Learn 100 Common Valley Birds series,

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