The first time I saw bushtits, I had no idea what I was looking at. It had just finished raining, and from my living room, I could hear little tiny peeps from outside.
Curious, I went outside with my camera and saw the tiniest of birds hopping around the water drops in the rhododendrons, drinking and bathing.
I was in love.
These birds were so small and cute that I just had to get a photo. Problem is, they’re pretty fast. Most of the photos were little splashes of water left behind after they jumped from leaf to leaf.
Eventually, I did get lucky enough to get a few good photos from a distance, and now that the bushtits seem to be done with nesting, I hope to get a few good close-ups.
Latin Name: Psaltriparus minimus
Size: 11 cm (4.3 in) in length
Lifespan: Oldest known Bushtit was at least 9 years and 1 month old
Types of Bushtits
While all part of the same family, bushtits can be broken up into three types based on regional differences.
- Pacific: tends to be browner than other varieties
- Interior: tends to be grayer than the pacific variety
- Melanotis: typically found in Mexico, has a black mask
If you’re looking to find some bushtits, your backyard or local green space is probably not a bad place to start – that’s where I found mine! But also make sure to look in woody and brushy areas and near streams. They seem to particularly like oak forests.
Bushtits are almost always in groups. The most I’ve seen at a time is 5, but they can be seen in flocks of up to 40, sometimes more. When they fly, it’s often in a wiggly line.
As mentioned in my first photo experience with them, they can be very quick, moving from one spot to another so fast that sometimes it seems like magic.