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Help develop a Bird ID tool!

Bushtit

Psaltriparus minimus ORDER: PASSERIFORMES FAMILY: AEGITHALIDAE

IUCN Conservation Status: Least Concern

Bushtits are sprightly, social songbirds that twitter as they fly weakly between shrubs and thickets in western North America. Almost always found in lively flocks, they move constantly, often hanging upside down to pick at insects or spiders on the undersides of leaves. Flocks of Bushtits mix with similar small songbirds like warblers, chickadees, and kinglets while foraging. Bushtits weave a very unusual hanging nest, shaped like a soft pouch or sock, from moss, spider webs, and grasses.

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Songs

Bushtits are active birds that use lots of contact calls, but they don’t really have a song. Occasionally, several individuals gathered together make a long, drawn-out series of quiet twitters and chips.

Calls

Bushtits make several kinds of short, high, wispy contact calls or chip notes. These help group members know where flockmates are. They can intensify to indicate nesting activities or when mobbing predators or confronting opponents. Individuals that get separated from a group make a rapid series of high-pitched chip notes that carries well.

Search the Macaulay Library online archive for more sounds and videos

Backyard Tips

Bushtits eat mostly small insects, so they are hard to attract to feeders. You can help make your yard inviting to them by planting native shrubs and small trees.

Find This Bird

Bushtits are inconspicuous but common. Look for them moving through low branches of open woodlands, edges, and park or neighborhood vegetation, where they are active and acrobatic as they search for insects. Listen for their quiet but consistent call notes.