The tufted titmouse (Parus bicolor), a sociable and energetic little songster, has easily adapted to many settings, including city parks, roadside fields and backyards. Titmice feed with flocks of chickadees, nuthatches, kinglets and other small migratory songbirds. Staying with its own and other flocks gives the titmouse protection – safety in numbers. Like most birds, they feed with their heads down, a vulnerable position. But, when hundreds of pairs of eyes are scanning nearby bushes and trees for hidden danger, a warning signal is more likely and can mean life or death. Flock mates can also rally together against a large hawk, where a single bird would lose its chance to live. When a flock senses danger, it may respond by tightening-up its numbers – a common animal strategy. As the group forms a tight unit, perhaps several birds at the fringes will flutter and create some chaos. Hopefully, this will confuse the predator, who initially focused on one single bird.
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