Thursday, June 4, 2009

What the Titmice Taught Me

Watching this family of fledgling titmice at close range over my week of breakfasts on the front porch swing at the fish camp/bayhouse has been enlightening and confounding.

Enlightening in that titmice have a much wider variety of songs than the simple Peter-Peter-Peter that Roger Tory Peterson describes. They also have a chirring sound, a chip chip, and a meowing-like tune. And sometimes a cheer cheer similar to a cardinal, all directly observed. Not as loud as a cardinal.

Confounding in that the more I learn, the more I realize I don't know. They sometimes sound so much like a cardinal I would have thought I was mistken, if I hadn't been watching them produce the sounds. I may never again be able to distinguish between the two without an actual sighting.

And to complicate the conundrum, I did spy a cardinal in the driveway later, when called to the porch by what I thought was the song of titmouse, only to discover a mockingbird singing his heart out on the porch rail, making a mockery of the whole question. dkm

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