Scientific Name: Psaltriparus Minimus
Pictures: (click for larger images)
Bushtit in a bottlebrush bush outside Ackerman Union. 3/2/05 One little member of a flock of bushtits pauses on a branch in the UCLA Botanical Garden. This was one of the best photos I took with my 35mm film SLR camera. 8/11/05
This bushtit, again in the UCLA Botanical Garden, is partly in the shadows, but you can see a lot of detail thanks to the new digital SLR camera. (large file!) 9/4/05
Bushtit Illustration. Notice the nest!
-Photos by Jason Finley
-Illustration by Robert C. Stebbins from "Birds of the Campus" (1947) by Dr. Loye Miller.
Description: Tiny. 4" in length (beak to tail), smaller than a sparrow, about same size as a hummingbird! Dark gray above, lighter gray underneath. Proportionally long tail and small beak.
Sound: "Contact calls are light 'tsip' and 'pit' notes, constantly uttered" (eNature.com) Listen to a Bushtit calling! Link is to the sound page for this bird from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology's All About Birds.
Commonality/Seasonality: Common-to-very-common, year-round.
Location: All over campus (see below).
Notes: These little guys may easily escape your notice. They are very small and not colorful, and they are quiet. But a flock of them emerging from a bush to infiltrate another one, seen up close, is fantastic.
They are always in flocks and always on the move. They flit in groups from one bush or tree to another, always chirping softly. They really like bottlebrush plants (see the hummingbird pages) in which you can see them hanging upside down on little branches and chowing down.
Bushtit behavior & nest notes by Linda Navroth (April 14th, 02008): http://urbanwildhome.blogspot.com/2008/04/bushtit-behavior-observed.html
Present when we arrived, these busy midgets have moved into the new trees about the buildings almost as fast as we have planted them. Their stocking-shaped nests have been built within a few feet of our doorsteps. Always in motion and always vocal in a "microscopic" way, they are easily located if you come anywhere near them.
-Miller, Loye. "Birds of the Campus, University of California, Los Angeles," from University of California Syllabus Series, No. 300. Text by Loye Miller, illustrations by Robert C. Stebbins. Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1947.