Tiny Birds Crowd the Bath

In eastern North America we have chickadees and kinglets but we never get to see this tiny social bird, the bushtit, that lives year-round from southwestern Canada to Central America.

The bushtit’s name (Psaltriparus minimus) has the same origin as the titmouse’s.

The scientific name for Bushtit is Psaltriparus minimus and the second half of Psaltriparus, “parus,” is Latin for titmouse. And the “tit” in titmouse comes from Old Icelandic “titr” meaning something small.

description of video by John Hamil

Bushtits are extremely social, hanging out in flocks of 10 to 40 birds, moving through the trees and bushes gleaning tiny insects off leaves and branches. At night, they roost together. During the breeding season the entire family and their helpers sleep together in their oversized hanging nest.

On left, bushtit nest in hand. At right, bird emerges near top of structure (photos from Wikimedia Commons)

Whether they’re eating, perched or hiding, bushtits are fond of bushes.

p.s. This video by John Hamil shows how the safety of bushes applies to all backyard birds. When you set up a birdbath, make sure to place it near a bush to provide a safe zone for the birds. They need a place to hide when they’re wet.

(video by John Hamil, Johnson Creek, Portland, Oregon, photos from Wikimedia Commons; click on the caption links to see the original)

1 thought on “Tiny Birds Crowd the Bath

    We need help to find photos of backyard birds from every state and province.
    Come and join a super new fan page Backyard Bird Exchange.
    We are collecting photos of all backyard birds found in North America.
    We would like to have every State in USA and Province in Canada
    represented. Due to climate change, birds are showing up in unusual
    places. This will help us to ID them quickly.
    We are sure you have some wonderful captures to share for people to enjoy.
    Hoping to see you,

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