Thursday, March 26, 2009

The oh-oh Titmouse

I arrived at one of my favorite observation spots, was standing holding my camera on the ready when a titmouse landed on my lens. Now what was I supposed to do?! Titmouse on lens looking me in the face. Very slowly I reached into my fannypack, got some nut bits into my hand and moved my open palm next to the lens. Titmouse took a look and stepped into my hand. And sat there. Looked at nut bits, but didn't try to eat. Very strange behavior. I moved my hand near to a branch and the bird flew to the branch. Next I got out a peanut in the shell and held that out. Titmouse came back and stared at peanut, but clearly didn't want that either. On to nut halves. I prepared those and titmouse pecked at them. This titmouse was determined to have human company. It sat on the lens, sat in my hand, walked up my sleeve and back. I was praying for another birder to come along. A tourist saw this, took some pictures and thought it was magic. I felt it was problematic. This is not normal titmouse behavior. Normal behavior is to snatch food and dash off. Later in the morning a few of us were back at this observation spot and the titmouse flew to another person's hand. Good! Now I could get pictures. You could have shoved a macro lens into this bird's face and it would not have been scared off. It ate and stayed put. It didn't have the fear gene. The general consensus was that this is not a healthy bird, that most likely a hawk or kestral will capture it. When I came home I washed my hands very well in a special sterilizing soap. What looks and feels enchanting is not always that. Poor little titmouse.

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