Bushtits are busily moving about the landscape in small foraging flocks. It is common to see around 20 in a group, and I have counted as many as 40 together. They are loosely strung along a small area looking for insects on the foliage and limbs of trees and shrubs. They have joyful spirits and acrobatically bounce around often clinging upside down from leaves and branches. Their ability to zip every which way finding tiny insects and spiders is dizzying and makes getting a photo challenging.
Peterson aptly sums up this bird’s movement as, “travels in straggling talkative flocks.” They are in constant contact with each other through quick call notes that Peterson describes as “insistent light tsits, pits, and clenks.” This chattiness makes them fairly easy to locate. In addition, you’ll often find them in mixed flocks in the fall and winter with other small song birds like chickadees and kinglets. So be on the lookout and keep an ear out for them too.
Bushtits only weigh 4-6 grams and with all the acorns laying around, I wondered how the weight of an acorn compared to the weight of a bushtit. I gathered various sizes of acorns and weighed them. Starting from the smallest on the left and moving right, the weight of each acorn is 2, 4, 6, 8 and 10 grams. Can you believe that!?
Nature is an inexhaustible source of wonder. Hope to see you out there.
Peterson, Roger Tory. Field Guide to Birds of Western North America. 4th ed. New York, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2010.