Late last week, I was excited to see a pair of Black-crested Titmice entering and exiting a bird house, having apparently decided that it was a nice place to raise their little ones.  The charming birds worked diligently for three days, one bringing bits of leaves into the house, while the other perched on nearby branches singing, calling, and standing guard.

All I managed to photograph was the tail-end of the bird as he/she entered the house,

…and its darling face as he/she exited to gather more material.

Titmice gather soft materials like new leaves, feathers, animal fur, moss, and similar items for their nests.

Sunday was windy.  I saw them working that day, but I didn’t watch closely.  By late Monday, having been in and out during the day and not having observed regularly, I realized in late afternoon that there was no activity around the bird house.

It seems they built a dummy.  Birds will build a nest, then abandon for any number of reasons, including that they’re spooked by a predator, or that they built in several spots with the female then choosing one–not all–of those spots for her nesting.  I don’t know why this couple decided against the house, perhaps it swayed too much in the wind or maybe it was just too close to the garage door.  Maybe they thought the rain chain was  a little tacky.  Who knows what titmice think?

Whatever their reason, the house now sits empty. There will be no itty-bitty baby titmice for me to observe this spring.

I’m sorry that the cute bird house won’t house cute birds.  They’re still visiting my garden, though their home-sweet-home is somewhere else.  I wish them well in their family business and hope they bring their youngins to my garden for a drink and a nosh.

21 thoughts on “Dummy

  1. I like the Titmice at the feeder whilst the ‘Jenny Wren’ has been raising their broad in the bird house now for the past eight yrs ! I would build more houses but nowhere to hang them away from the feral cats! 😥


    • That’s interesting. I was planning to go into the house and see what work they’d done, but was going to wait. Maybe I’ll peek in earlier–thanks!


  2. I love titmice. I do still remember when I thought they were faded cardinals — oh, my. I didn’t know that they would build “dummy” nests. This post took off in a direction I didn’t expect at all!


    • I adore them too! Faded cardinals–that’s rich! When I was trying to figure out why the housework ceased, one of the articles I read used the term ‘dummy’ and it makes sense! A titmouse was singing loudly just befor sunrise this morning and just above the house, so it’s possible that they’ll come back, but I’m not holding my breath.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Tina hope that the Black Crest Titmice will return to their bird box and have babies. The strange thing is that they have made the nest and abandoned it: it will be a trick of them to mislead the predators. And if not they have another nest safe and have babies that become healthy adults. They are beautiful. Have a good week and weekend. Greetings from Margarita.


    • I hope they come back too, though I’ve taped the entry this afternoon. I’ve found some house sparrows–which are invasive–showing interest and I don’t want them! You have a good weekend too.


      • I asked a tile/flooring shop about their scraps and they let me rummage through a box in the back. I’m not sure whether that would play these days, but I was able to scavenge some fun pieces. In the middle of that same bird bath is a tile piece with some breaching dolphins!


  4. Pingback: Not Such a Dummy After All | My Gardener Says…

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