He Doesn’t Sound Like a Tufted Titmouse

Tufted titmouse, Nov 2017 (photo by Steve Gosser)

21 February 2022

If you listen to birds and have learned to identify a few songs, our resident tufted titmouse (Baeolophus bicolor) is an easy one. His typical spring song is a clear whistled “Pete, Pete, Pete” or “Peter, Peter, Peter.”

However he has some tricks up his sleeve. He may get creative with a different-sounding Peter. This one (near a red-winged blackbird) sings “jury, jury, jury” almost like a Carolina wren.

Sometimes he’s really loud and I wonder, Who is that??

Or he sings an oddly accented Peter also quite loud (cardinal in the background).

And here, in an unattended AudioMoth recording, he doesn’t sound like a titmouse at all.

If it’s a song you can’t figure out at a time of year when new migrants have not yet returned maybe it’s a tufted titmouse.

(photo by Steve Gosser, audio from Xeno Canto)

3 thoughts on “He Doesn’t Sound Like a Tufted Titmouse

  1. In my Houston neighborhood almost every bird call where I say “who the heck is that” turns out to be a blue jay. (Also most of the red shouldered hawk calls turn out to be blue jays). It’s amazing.

  2. Perfect timing for this article! Thanks Kate!

    I heard a strange bird at my rural home this morning that I couldn’t place. I decided to try the Merlin bird app’s sound ID. It said Tufted Titmouse, even though it was not the typical Pete or Peter song that I have heard for decades. Right after that ID, I heard the titmouse making its nasal call from the same location, confirming the app ID.

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