Abundance of tufted titmice in NYC

What it says on the box! I visit Prospect Park in Brooklyn a few times a week and am seeing dozens of Titmice every time. Not only in the park, either. I’m very much an amateur so maybe it’s just me, but I have been wondering whether perhaps they eat Lanternfly eggs, for example.

Anyone know, or have a hypothesis, about why so many Titmice? Not that I’m complaining.

Is it possible people are just feeding them? Titmice & chickadees are really common feeder birds this time of year (I get tons of them,) plus they’re pretty brave little dudes when it comes to people.

1 Like

I’m about as confident as I can be that that’s not it: there are almost no feeding stations in Prospect Park and people don’t generally make it a practice to hand-feed there, except (boo, hiss) for throwing bread at waterfowl. And the Titmice are everywhere – including our backyard and the street in front of our house, where there are no feeders.

Also, this is in sharp contrast to last year, when I saw many fewer of them.

My experience watching birds in the mid-Atlantic region is that there are always lots of Tufted Titmice, especially around houses or city parks. They do well near people, they are numerous, they are easy to spot, and easy to recognize by call, silhouette, or behavior.

One caution with birdwatching, perceived patterns don’t always equate to actual patterns.

2 Likes

Ebird frequency data say Tufted Titmouse is on about 30-40% of checklists in NYC in mid-late December as reported over time. https://ebird.org/species/tuftit/US-NY-061

This is a possibility and have encountered it many times for various reasons. One thing to consider is has your ability to detect them changed at all; better identification skills, learned vocalizations, etc
,? Are you dedicating more of your attention to them? Using enhanced equipment (using binos vs not or perhaps better optics)? Birding at a different time of day?

Titmice are not migratory in the sense that many other songbirds are, and the combination of their range being not very far north and the relatively mild winter we have had so far wouldn’t give much reason for them to move south if they did such a thing. But, birds do move around locally quite a bit in search of food. There could be some fruits or seeds that are abundant this year in areas in which they weren’t last year and visa versa, which would give the appearance that there are more around. Birds flock up this time of year and some mixed flocks can be huge so sometimes you either see them, or you don’t!