Some of the birds belong to the New World species of true tisane well known to the casual birdwatcher. The Black-capped chickadee and the Tufted titmouse are a common sight at bird feeders, and the latter is particularly familiar since, unlike the chickadee, it will readily use a nesting box.
Although never reaching population densities as high as those of the Blue and Great tit in the Old World, the Tufted titmouse is very common throughout much of the eastern USA. It is rather scarcer in the Northern States, perhaps largely because, for this resident species, the winters are too severe.
However, in recent years it has gradually become more common in these States, especially in urban areas. Since its first appearance in Ontario in 1914, the Tufted titmouse had gradually established itself along the southern edge of this Canadian province. It seems almost certain that the widespread provision of food at bird feeders is the key to this species being able to survive in such cold areas.
The Tufted titmouse is the only crested member of the family found in the eastern half of the United States. However, it has a crested counterpart to the west, the Plain titmouse, which lacks the rich orange-brown flank and the black above the beak. There is also an abridged titmouse in the States bordering northwest Mexico, which people consider separate species. All these North American crested birds are called “titmice” as opposed to tithe chickadees that make up the other members of the family. At one time the crested titmice of North America were put in a genus of their own, Baeolophus.