Right out the window from where my computer sits, is a birdhouse. It's been there for four years. I put it there in hopes of attracting my favorite bird, the wren, into nesting where I could watch. Mr. and Mrs. Titmouse beat them to it every year. They often begin building the nest when I believe we could still have a freak cold snap. In fact, last year we had snow and ice on Easter weekend--in April! Crazy, crazy weather for central Texas.
I decided to play a little Poker with Mother Nature. I called her on her 27 degree temperature and raised her a ladder and a heat lamp. The chicks had just hatched that week and they were in danger of freezing in their little nest box. I hovered on the "do not climb above this step" step of the ladder to place an extension cord and heat lamp so it would shine on the nest box, but not in it. Mother and Father Titmouse didn't know what to make of it, but they worked on through the weather to locate bugs for the chicks. A challenge to be sure. Luckily, it was a true cold snap. Temperatures rose into high 30's in the next day or two and then on into the 50's later the next week.
This year, I think they are in the clear. The poor parents are at the box feeding the chicks about once every minute or so from sun-up to sundown for 17 days. Here's a link that gives more information. http://www.sialis.org/titmice.htm
These are some pics of this year's pair.
Mom or Dad with a tasty buggy.