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Elijah Kruger

Cold Spring, NY, United States


This tufted titmouse with no tail started showing up to our feeders a few days ago. Unlike the other titmice, who land on the pegs of our tube feeders, our tail-less titmouse only takes seed from our feeders with a platform.




Tufted Titmouse Missing Tail Feathers

12 replies on “Tufted titmouse missing tail feathers”

bonnie laverty says:

i found a baby titmouse. the nest had been blown out of a tree. it has feathers now after 2 weeks, but the tail feathers look stunted. can it live on its own?

Chelsea Benson says:

Hi Bonnie, it is typical for fledgling birds to have short tail feathers. I would recommend locating a wildlife rehabilitator to care for the titmouse: It is technically illegal to possess a wild bird (or animal) without the proper licenses and permits. ~Chelsea, Project FeederWatch

Pamela thacker says:

The titmouse at my feeders with no tail feathers seems to be an adult

Carmen Paz says:

Hi Pamela,
I’m in Austin, TX. I also just noticed an adult tufted titmouse with no tail feathers. It looks quite plump and healthy, and eats regularly at my birdfeeder. It is not injured and seems to be able to fly pretty well, as my feeder is up at the second story window, and he / her has no problem reaching it from the other trees at the same height.

Loretta says:

I have a similar titmouse with no tail Feathers. Seemingly healthy, flies normally, but tail feathers are extremely short! Any clues?

Holly Faulkner, Project Assistant says:

Hi Loretta, Missing tail feathers often often means a bird has had a run-in with a predator, though freshly-fledged young also have relatively short tails. After a few weeks, the feathers will grow in to the normal length again.

Robert Durben says:

Looking for advice. I had a tit mouse crash into my door and knock out its tail feathers sept for two. Had a run in with the cat when it hit the deck but appears to be no external damage. Have not checked further but wings appear to be fine. Its cold out so went nuts when I tried to sit him on a towel. What should I do? Since its winter I do not know if that will affect the survivability? Please advise.

Holly Faulkner, Project Assistant says:

Hi Robert, Please contact your local certified wildlife rehabilitator immediately. Anytime a wild bird (or other animal) is found injured, rehabilitators are best to contact, as they have the federal permits necessary to handle and treat wildlife (and can offer help much faster). Birds frequently lose their feathers, and tail feathers missing in winter should not impact their survival very much, however if the bird is acting lethargic or otherwise “not normal” – call a rehabilitator. If you’re not sure who that is, contact your state’s wildlife offices – they should have a record of folks that hold the necessary permits.

Kay Mott says:

I found an adult tufted titmouse caught in the sticky flytrap at my barn, I cleaned it’s sticky feathers with googone and washed the feathers with ivory and warm water, but it lost almost all of it’s tail feathers to the sticky trap, will it survive without tail feathers? It is eating and drinking water on it’s own. Will it be able to fly, we are coming into winter in the upstate of SC.

Holly Grant, Project Assistant says:

Hi Kay, It’s imperative that you contact a local, certified wildlife rehabilitator for help with this bird. If you’re not sure who that is, your state or province’s wildlife department should keep a list of those with the necessary federal permits.

Barbie says:

Why don’t you also post the answer to the question at hand? Half the damn wildlife places do not take the birds anyways so an answer would be most helpful.

Heidi Faulkner, Project Assistant says:

Hello Barbie, thank you for reaching out. It is illegal for anyone to possess most wild birds unless you are under the direction of someone licensed for their care. Addtionally, we are not wildlife health professionals, and cannot treat or diagnose any animal without it being seen. Only veterinarians or federally licensed wildlife rehabilitators can legally treat wild birds, and if a bird is seen that appears to be compromised in some way, perhaps due to sickness or injury, one should never try to care for a bird themselves.

For more information on diseases affecting wild birds, contact the National Wildlife Health Center in the U.S. or the Canadian Cooperative Wildlife Health Centre in Canada. If you find a bird that you believe needs intervention to survive, contact a wildlife rehabilitator in your area. The Humane Society website provides contact information for rehabilitators in the U.S. or in Canada websites by state or province.

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