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.