The Oak Titmouse and Cat Fur Nest Material

As you may recall from previous posts, we use a suet cage feeder to fill with nest materials for birds.

It is filled with thin dried stems from plants such as the sweet alyssum plant, because I noticed that mourning doves like to use these stems for their nests.

And more important, I add to the twigs fur that is combed from our short haired indoor cat, an Abby Tabby.

When we lived at our previous house, the cage hung from a fig tree branch.

I sometimes observed chestnut backed chickadees harvesting and carding the fur that they then carried in their beaks to nests they were building.

When we moved to this house, a little over a year ago, we hung the feeder from a branch of the orange tree in the backyard.

But the nest materials were ignored for a year.

Exposed to the elements, the fluffy white puffs of cat fur became matted and gray, like sad lumps in the cage.

Imagine my surprise a couple of weeks ago, when I looked through a window at the backyard and noticed an oak titmouse hanging onto the feeder cage, pulling out tufts of the fur and carding it back into soft white puffs.

Within a matter of days all of the cat fur disappeared from the cage.

There is at least one softly lined oak titmouse nest out there in a tree.

And this is what the feeder cage looks like now.

Our cat is combed regularly but it takes a while to produce large balls of fur, and we didn't save any for a while because we thought the birds weren't interested in using it.

I couldn't get very good images of an oak titmouse, because they move very quickly when they are in our garden. But here is one sitting on a lemon tree branch.

And then it turned around to fly away.

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