There is a new Tufted Titmouse singing in our back yard this year. Why is this meaningful to me?
When West Nile virus arrived in Cleveland in 2002, our neighborhood and all the surrounding areas lost all our Crows, half our Blue Jays, a considerable number of our Chickadees, and the beautiful songs of all our Titmice.
It took 5 years for them to make a comeback, and I was so happy to finally hear their cheerful songs again. The Titmice became well-established residents again and were regulars at our feeders year-round.
Each Tufted Titmouse has a repertoire of different songs and will frequently switch between them. The male who claimed our back yard as his territory for the past few years had one exceptionally nice song that was quite distinctive. Here he is on March 4, 2010.
His spirited song was related to a more common Titmouse song that he also sang:
His special song was an ascending major 3rd embellished it with two introductory notes. This song was his very own, and for me it became the song that identified our back yard as home for me as well as for him. Even now, when I play the recording of his distinctive song my little gray cat Dmitri immediately turns his head and looks out the window. I have really missed this bird and his family!