The Titmouse and My Grandson


I have three squirrel-proof bird feeders outside the large windows in my office. As I write I can see these “little schweeties” as my wife calls them, flying, eating and squabbling out there in my corner of nature.

I know I will never be a birding expert. For example, we have a host of different kinds of sparrows that come to the feeders and although I can see differences among them, I am hard pressed to identify each and every kind. I just point and say, “Man, look at all those different kinds of sparrows!”

But I can identify a number of birds. One that I love, for example, is the tufted titmouse. It’s a pretty little creature that comes to my feeders even in the dead of winter.

Now, in addition to my birding hobby, another hobby of mine concerns my grandchildren. I happen to like them, a boy 11 and a girl nine. Not all grandparents like their grandchildren, mind you, no matter what some grandparents proclaim.

I want to talk about the birds to them (not the birds and the bees) and include them in my new hobby, but I hesitate. My granddaughter would at least tolerate me going on about our feathered friends; but my grandson might be a different story.

You see, he’s a boys’ boy and that means he is interested in all the things we boys’ boys are interested in–come on, I don’t have to spell it out for you, do I? Bodily stuff like farts, vomit and poop, yes. But above all else, sex stuff – any stuff to do with females.

I’ll give you an example: Ever since he heard the word “wiener” he’s been using it nonstop to describe his own wiener and anything he can attach the word “wiener” to. He is as interested in his wiener as is Anthony Weiner, but as far as I know he has not texted an image of it to anyone. And all that stuff about women? Forgetaboutit!

So here’s what will happen when I tell him about my love of tufted titmice.

Grandson: “Tit, oh, ho, ho, tits! Ha! Ha! Grandpa Scobe said tit! Tit! Tit!”

Grandpa Scobe: “No, that’s just its name. Tufted titmouse.”

Grandson: “Tits, tits, tits, yeah, yeah!”

I can imagine that during the entire day (and then some) he would incorporate the word “tit” as much as he could. That’s just what I’d need, my grandson telling my daughter-in-law that Grandpa Scobe had been talking about tits. My son would kill me.

But my grandson is not the only one. When my wife the Beautiful AP first told me the name of that pretty bird, I responded: “Tit? Ha! Ha! Tit! Tit! I have a tit at my feeders.”

Beautiful AP: “Scobe, come on, titmouse is its name; not just tit.”

Scobe: “Ah ha!”

Beautiful AP: “Grow up.”

Scobe (whispering): “Tit.”

So I am going to figure out how to get around telling him about titmice. He will see several when he comes to my house and looks out the window, so I have to figure out something when he asks, “What’s that bird?”

I am just hoping there isn’t a bird called “tit-wiener” because then we will never hear the end of it.

[Check my books at and bookstores.]