Monday, August 27, 2012

Oak Titmouse

On our March road-trip, after leaving Morro Bay, we began to dodge stormy weather. During our visit to the Seal veiwing rest area described in my last few posts, we had to backtrack--the California Coast Road was blocked by landslides. The weather inland was balmy.

We found this Oak Titmouse at a picnic area along Lake Cachuma, northwest of Santa Barbara. These titmice mate for life, defend territories all year, and never make flocks as do other chickadees and titmice (Cicero 2000). They quickly responded to our squeaking noises.

Until recently, Oak and Juniper titmice were thought to be the same species, the Plain Titmouse. Recent genetic evidence concludes they are two species, with the Juniper Titmouse inhabiting dry interior junipers and the Oak Titmouse nesting in oaks and pines along the Pacific Slope of California.

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