Sunday, April 15, 2012
DNA research makes the surprising conclusion that Bushtits are the sole representative in the New World of an Old World family, Long-tailed Tits, Aegithalidae. Long-tailed Tits have only recently been moved from the Paridae (titmice, etc.) into Aegithalidae.
Whatever their evolutionary history might be, Bushtits are easy to find in the west. They can form large flocks and often move about with other species. We found this Bushtit in the company of the Wrentits of the previous post.They prefer oak, pine, and coastal shrub-lands. Their feeding behavior is often similar to chickadees. Bushtits are also interesting because they will often help other pairs raise young--these helpers can be male, female, juvenile, or adult. The helpers are not necessarily related to the nesting pair they assist. But, to complicate matters, Bushtits of both sexes may take on multiple mates (Sloane 2001).
Posted by Dan Tallman at 9:49 AM