A Few of My Favorite Birds (31): Timid Little Titmice?

Tufted Titmouse Fluffed up in coldNo fair-weather friend, the little songbird known as the tufted titmouse Nuthatch rainy fall day is a year-round resident of lower Michigan (where I live) & much of Eastern U.S. Tufted Titmouse in tree 3.13.15Even though they’re one of the few birds with distinct head crests (hence the name “tufted”), don’t be tempted to confuse them with female cardinals,  Female cardinal 2who are a good third larger and have brown with red-tinged feathers as well as very prominent orange beaks.Rainy Fall DayHowever, like cardinals, they can lower their crests so that they don’t show,  Rain-drenched Titmouse 11.6.13which seems to happen most often when they’re wet, Tufted Titmouse with seed; crest down anxious, or in a hurry….and that seems to be much of the time! Tufted Titmouse Back 1.15.10Unlike cardinals, the little tufted titmouse has completely grey upper parts, Underside of tufted titmouse white underparts with just a touch of rust color on the flanks,Profile of Titmouse at Bird Feeder  bright black eyes, a short, black beak, and black markings above the beak.  Titmice. Two at feederThe males and females are indistinguishable in size and coloring, Two tufted titmice at feederand like most birds, they are devoted mates and parents. Tufted Titmouse Singing 2.20.15All during mating season, titmice have a clear, whistling chant they useTufted Titmouse singing in tree 3.13.15to call their mates that sounds like, “Peter, peter, peter!…Here, here, here!” Tufted Titmouse 5.13.14They tend to nest in old woodpecker holes or other small tree cavities, and one rather charming aspect of the couple’s relationship is that during the month Titmouse in a Cherry Tree 5.13.14while the female incubates and broods over the young, the male will feed her, but he often gives a cheery call so she’ll come out of the hole to pick up her lunch! Tufted Titmouse in tree. Cold 2.20.15Although the titmouse’s favorite diet is primarily animal rather than vegetable, Tufted Titmouse eating seeds 2.20.15they are inordinately fond of sunflower seeds Tufted Titmouse +1.15.10 and definitely enjoy feasting at or under our feeder. However…Back of tufted titmouseunlike many birds, who will sit contentedly and gorge at the feeder until full,  Tufted titmouse on railingtufted titmice wait patiently for their turn on a railing or nearby tree, Tufted Titmouse 6.28.12 back feathers and when they perceive that the road is clear, Tufted Titmouse+ 6.28.12. Singing they swoop in, Face and under wing Tufted Titmouse 5.13.14 grab a single seed (a sunflower if they can find one fast enough), and thenTufted Titmouse 6.28.12 with food  retreat to a safe distance before cracking it open and devouring its contents. Tufted Titmouse 6.28.12 Dancing 1Their unusual timidity about feeding seems strange, because many bird-lovers think of them as brash, feisty little fellows. Titmouse in flight They are brazen enough to pull hairs right out of small mammals in order to line their nests, so why are they so unable to relax at our feeder? Tufted Titmouse 6.28.12 2Come to think of it, how can we be bold about some things but so antsy about others? A peck here and a bite there…why not sit and feast at the Lord’s table on the Word of God until we’re fully satisfied?Tufted Titmouse+ 9.18.14

I am the Lord thy God, which brought thee out of the land of Egypt: open thy mouth wide, and I will fill it…Oh that my people had hearkened unto me, and Israel had walked in my ways!…He should have fed them also with the finest of the wheat: and with honey out of the rock should I have satisfied thee.”
(Psalm 81: 10,13,16)

Samuel’s Third Birthday: Don’t Foget the Blessing!

IMG_3623In Germany, the birthday boy gets to do especially fun things all day long,  IMG_3636(which is often also true in America too, I might add), IMG_3612 so Samuel got to open a couple of presents right after breakfast. IMG_3604Amélie approved!IMG_3634 He loved his new pajamas and the police helicopter! IMG_3641His papa drew him a “helicopter landing pad” while we cleared away the dishes, DSCN5202and then we were off to the park for a morning of fun! DSCN5220Pauline was a bit feverish and tired, so she stayed at home to nap, DSCN5228but Samuel was really, DSCN5231really DSCN5233excited about being a big boy, now that he’s THREE…DSCN5238and he really, DSCN5276really loved spending so much time just with his daddy DSCN5316while Mama took care of Baby Aiden DSCN5205and Cousin Amélie played nearby.DSCN5268There were lots of toys for digging in the sand, and lots of sand to throw! DSCN5222There was a “motorcycle” DSCN5258and lots of funny toys to share! DSCN5302Daddy got played right out,DSCN5207but Aiden wasn’t a bit tired! DSCN5216Neither was Amélie! DSCN5219I think Amélie would have been happy to swing almost forever…DSCN5310and Samuel and Amé were in their glory to have Johannes swing the kids SO HIGH (as only dads can really seem to do)! After they had been “swung out,” DSCN5332they met a little friend on the merry-go-round who was also three! DSCN5343Finally, they got hungry enough to be ready to go home for lunch. Good thing, because I think their parents must have also built up a good appetite from working so hard playing all morning! 🙂DSCN5356One last toy to enjoy…a lamp post! I love how kids can play with anything. IMG_3662After lunch, while the other children took a nap, Samuel got to play in the pool before settling down with a new Curious George book to “study” during his quiet time. Being a “big boy,” he doesn’t really nap anymore, but his parents needed a rest. (This is also true in America!) IMG_3667Samuel also got to skype with his grandparents in Germany. Very special!! 🙂 IMG_3680After nap time it was time to don the party hats & become construction workers. IMG_3688Suzanna made a delicious white cake with M’n’M’s inside and oreo cookie dirt. IMG_3722It took about 7-8 hard blows for Samuel to get all the candles out, but it was worth it! The cake really was very delicious!IMG_3771Oh, and he got such wonderful presents! IMG_3779We wished Aunt Karin, Uncle Jon, Grandma and Grosspapa could have been here to, but we are sending you this picture with our love! IMG_3798After Grandpa returned home from work, we had a pizza party as our final treat. IMG_3804Grandpa and Nana felt like it was their birthday too, with the beautiful flowers, candy, teas, and gifts that Gerlinde’s family gave them. IMG_3808We all felt very sad to have to put Kieren’s family on a train heading west this morning. Camp “J” will not be the same without them.

IMG_3230But, I want to tell one last wee tale about Samuel. At one meal while they were visiting, in the midst of all the hubbub, Samuel must not have heard our family prayer before we ate (as we were all standing around the kitchen together but needed to eat in two different rooms), so when he got seated he would not touch his food, insisting that we must not forget the blessing! I was so touched by that! In the midst of our busy, happy lives…I hope we never forget to recognize and appreciate the multitude of blessings that our dear heavenly Father showers on us! Life is always hard…when you’re little and teething or being potty-trained, when you’re a teenager with acne and feeling socially awkward, when you’re a young adult trying to develop a career and looking for a spouse, when you’re young parents with children who wake you up at all hours of the night, and when you’re older and dealing with the problems of aging and losing friends… life—even the best and happiest of lives—is always hard! But, let’s never forget to count our blessings too! God is gracious and good. “He will bless them that fear the LORD, both small and great…The heaven, even the heavens, are the LORD’s: but the earth has he given to the children of men…We will bless the LORD from this time forth and for evermore. Praise the Lord.” (Psalm 115:13,16,18)