Sketches Responding to Human Interpretation 01

Sketches Responding to Human Interpretation 02

Sketches Responding to Human Interpretation 03

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After looking on birdwatching.com, the Animal Spirt Totems Dictionary, the Bird Watcher’s Digest, BioKIDS, and Auntyflo.com, I compiled the below key notes.

Key Notes

Titmouse means small little bird.

Titmouse teaches to use our voice and the immense power of small things and with small ideas.

Titmouse teaches courage and empowerment along with being bold with discernment.

He teaches the art of flexibility.

Titmouse can show how to express ideals with timing.

More than one sleeping family pet (and even some humans) have felt a sudden tug as a titmouse boldly steals a bit of hair.

There are no negative impacts of tufted titmice on humans.

Tufted titmice help to control the population of certain insects as well as helping trees by distributing their seeds.

Regarded as the keeper of knowledge and a mystic creature

Titmouse is often associated with the spirit world and the deeper knowledge

Titmouse is teaching us that if we just observe carefully and meditate, the truth with be presented to us

Remember the story in the Bible about David and Goliath, the titmouse also wants us to realize that size is not a factor in a real battle.

Titmouse is also telling us to express our opinion, no matter how small that insight is.

People with a titmouse totem are naturally curious, they want to explore and know everything, and they are born inventors and have a gift to recreate things in their own way.

(Industrial Designers, right?!)

Titmouse teaches us to express our ideas but with the right timing, laying a solid foundation to build your plan is a good defense.

Titmouse shows up as a spirit guide when…

Call on a Titmouse as a spirit guide when…

Reading through information from National Geographic, The Cornell Lab or Ornithology’s All About Birds, and Arthur Cleveland Bent’s Life Histories of Familiar North American Birds, I inferred the following yearly and noted the following daily behaviors of the Tufted Titmouse. From The Cornell Lab or Ornithology’s All About Birds, I also collected the following images of the bird, its eggs and nest, and geographic location.

Year-In-The-Life

Fall-Winter: Wander in Small Flocks
Early Spring: Begin Courtship
Late April (occasionally Late March): Begin Nest Building
Summer: Remain with Family
Thereafter: Offspring begin process again, parents remain in the same nest

Day-In-The-Life

“Tufted Titmice are acrobatic foragers, if a bit slower and more methodical than chickadees. They often flock with chickadees, nuthatches, and woodpeckers and are regular visitors to feeders, where they are assertive over smaller birds. Their flight tends to be fluttery but level rather than undulating.”

“Tufted Titmice flit from branch to branch of the forest canopy looking for food, often in the company of other species including nuthatches, chickadees, kinglets, and woodpeckers. When they find large seeds, such as the sunflower seeds they take from bird feeders, titmice typically hold the seed with their feet and hammer it open with their beaks. In fall and winter they often hoard these shelled seeds in bark crevices. These acrobatic foragers often hang upside down or sideways as they investigate cones, undersides of branches, and leaf clusters. They sometimes come all the way to the ground to hop around after fallen seeds or insects. Titmice are very vocal birds and are also quick to respond to the sounds of agitation in other birds, coming close to investigate or joining a group of birds mobbing a predator.”

“after the breeding season it spends a lot of time in small foraging parties that typically consist of parents and their offspring

“Tufted Titmice eat mainly insects in the summer, including caterpillars, beetles, ants and wasps, stink bugs, and treehoppers, as well as spiders and snails. Tufted Titmice also eat seeds, nuts, and berries, including acorns and beech nuts. Experiments with Tufted Titmice indicate they always choose the largest seeds they can when foraging.” 

Titmice build cup-shaped nests inside the nest cavity using damp leaves, moss and grasses, and bark strips. They line this cup with soft materials such as hair, fur, wool, and cotton, sometimes plucking hairs directly from living mammals. Naturalists examining old nests have identified raccoon, opossum, dog, fox squirrel, red squirrel, rabbit, horse, cow, cat, mouse, woodchuck, and even human hair in titmouse nests. Nest construction takes 6 to 11 days.”

“Tufted Titmice nest in cavities but aren’t able to excavate them on their own. They use natural holes and old nest holes made by several woodpecker species, including large species such as Pileated Woodpecker and Northern Flicker. Additionally, Tufted Titmice also nest in artificial structures including nest boxes, fenceposts, and metal pipes.”

Tufted Titmouse Research 01

Tufted Titmouse Research 02

Tufted Titmouse Research 03

Tufted Titmouse Research 05

Tufted Titmouse Research 04

Tufted Titmouse Research 06

Additional Notes

Appearance, Behavior, Diet

“active and noisy”
“after the breeding season it spends a lot of time in small foraging parties that typically consist of parents and their offspring”
“The large black eyes, small, round bill, and brushy crest gives these birds a quiet but eager expression that matches the way they flit through canopies, hang from twig-ends, and drop in to bird feeders. When a titmouse finds a large seed, you’ll see it carry the prize to a perch and crack it with sharp whacks of its stout bill.”
“Tufted Titmice are acrobatic foragers, if a bit slower and more methodical than chickadees. They often flock with chickadees, nuthatches, and woodpeckers and are regular visitors to feeders, where they are assertive over smaller birds. Their flight tends to be fluttery but level rather than undulating.”
“Tufted Titmice are also common visitors at feeders and can be found in backyards, parks, and orchards.”
“Tufted Titmice flit from branch to branch of the forest canopy looking for food, often in the company of other species including nuthatches, chickadees, kinglets, and woodpeckers. When they find large seeds, such as the sunflower seeds they take from bird feeders, titmice typically hold the seed with their feet and hammer it open with their beaks. In fall and winter they often hoard these shelled seeds in bark crevices. These acrobatic foragers often hang upside down or sideways as they investigate cones, undersides of branches, and leaf clusters. They sometimes come all the way to the ground to hop around after fallen seeds or insects. Titmice are very vocal birds and are also quick to respond to the sounds of agitation in other birds, coming close to investigate or joining a group of birds mobbing a predator.”
“Tufted Titmice eat mainly insects in the summer, including caterpillars, beetles, ants and wasps, stink bugs, and treehoppers, as well as spiders and snails. Tufted Titmice also eat seeds, nuts, and berries, including acorns and beech nuts. Experiments with Tufted Titmice indicate they always choose the largest seeds they can when foraging.”
“After wandering about all through fall and winter in small flocks by themselves, or mixed with other species, they begin their courtship activities early in spring and prepare to separate into pairs.”
“Dr. Dickey tells me that in several nests that he watched the period of incubation proved to be “exactly 12 days” and he says that young remain in the cavity 15 or 16 days.”
“When ten days old, the young were well feathered and closely resembled the adults, but they remained in the nest five days more.”
“Both sexes help to feed the young for some time after they leave the nest, and both young and old travel about together in a family party during summer, until they all join the mixed parties of their own and other species that roam the woods during fall and winter.”
“In the fall they appear in small groups, which, as far as they can be counted, vary from two to at least six.”
“In winter small groups suggesting family units occupy very definite and limited areas, never overlapping.”
“Tufted titmice are practically permanent residents in even the more northern portions of their range, being regularly found in winter as far north as New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Indiana, and Illinois.”
“The tufted titmouse is quick and active in all its movements, flitting upward among the branches or gliding down between them, but it seldom indulges in long flights.”

Call

“Call: a harsh, scolding zhee zhee zhee. Song: a loud, whistled peto peto peto or wheedle wheedle wheedle, often repeated monotonously”
“The Tufted Titmouse’s song is a fast-repeated, clear whistle: peter-peter-peter. The birds repeat this up to 11 times in succession or up to 35 songs delivered per minute. Females occasionally sing a quieter version of the song.”
“Titmouse calls are nasal and mechanical. A scratchy, chickadee-like tsee-day-day-day is the most common. Tufted Titmice also give fussy, scolding call notes and, when predators are sighted, a harsh distress call that warns other titmice of the danger.”

Nest

“The tufted titmouse frequents well-vegetated urban and suburban areas, willingly uses nest boxes, and regularly visits bird feeders”
“Tufted Titmice often line the inner cup of their nest with hair, sometimes plucked directly from living animals. The list of hair types identified from old nests includes raccoons, opossums, mice, woodchucks, squirrels, rabbits, livestock, pets, and even humans.”
“Titmice build cup-shaped nests inside the nest cavity using damp leaves, moss and grasses, and bark strips. They line this cup with soft materials such as hair, fur, wool, and cotton, sometimes plucking hairs directly from living mammals. Naturalists examining old nests have identified raccoon, opossum, dog, fox squirrel, red squirrel, rabbit, horse, cow, cat, mouse, woodchuck, and even human hair in titmouse nests. Nest construction takes 6 to 11 days.”
“Tufted Titmice nest in cavities but aren’t able to excavate them on their own. They use natural holes and old nest holes made by several woodpecker species, including large species such as Pileated Woodpecker and Northern Flicker. Additionally, Tufted Titmice also nest in artificial structures including nest boxes, fenceposts, and metal pipes.”
“Nests are found at both low and high elevations; they range from 3 feet up to as many as 85 or 90 feet. They will continue to use the identical cavity for years, if unmolested.”
“Nest building begins late in April, although birds are seen to carry odd leaves and trash into holes even as early as late in March. They begin by carrying in strips of bark and dead deciduous leaves; those of white oak and maple are common. Then they add sprays of green moss and dry grass, and round out the interior with pads of hair from cattle, rabbit, deer mouse, and others, and bits of rags, strings, or cloth.”
“Four to eight eggs may be found in the nest of the tufted titmouse, but oftener there are either five or six.”
“The ground color is usually pure white, but often creamy white, or rarely pale “cream color.” They are generally more or less evenly speckled all over the entire surface with very small spots or fine dots; often these markings are thickest at the larger end, where they are sometimes concentrated into a wreath; rarely this concentration is at the small end. The markings are in various browns, “hazel,” “cinnamon-rufous,” “vinaceous-rufous,” “burnt sienna,” or “chestnut”; some eggs have a few underlying shell markings of “lilac-gray” or “drab-gray.””

Presentation

Confronted with the challenge of creating a toy using solely rubber bands and one other material, I thought of a variety of ideas. From the myriad sketches, one concept that stuck out to me was inspired by a childhood joy I share with many: a ride-on car. Looking to effectively employ rubber bands and enhance the user experience, I decided to design a life-size wind-up car for people of all ages. Ideally, this oversized wind-up vehicle would not only be an attractive decoration and entertaining toy to observe, but also something the user could sit on for an exhilarating experience. The life-size wind-up wooden car would both blend in with a child’s toy collection and could free an adult’s inner child.

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Reflection

I fear I nervously rushed through my presentation, thinking I would disappoint my peers and the critique guests due to the inability to ride on the car. However, I think David Ringholz epitomized my design when he acknowledged although it cannot transport a person, the product still accomplishes my goal of evoking an adult’s inner child. As he explained, in reality this is probably a side table that doesn’t get much attention nor use beyond holding items. On the occasion, though, that an adult does reel it back, there is that inherent, childish joy.

Until David said this, I think I was too focused on making the car transport a human and unable to step back and neutrally evaluate the life-size wooden wind-up toy. David accurately expressed my frustration when I couldn’t find a rubber band that would make the car work, pointing out that during the design process, when you reach a daunting, maybe impossible, challenge you question your concept and wonder, “is this worth it?” For example, is it worth finding the world’s strongest rubber band to make this work? Is this a good, worthy design? Thus, I was elated when David resolved this question with, essentially, “I think you proved it was,” and furthermore, “for the challenges you faced and things you had to learn, you’re asking the right questions, moving the design forward at a good rate, and, for a young and new designer, this was a successful project.”

I recognize my design is not perfect and there are a variety of ways it could be improved. Likewise, I have a lot of room for personal growth in sketching, designing, craftsmanship, photographing, presenting, and more. However, especially after the critique, I feel like I have grown as a student and I am proud of the work I produced for this rubber band toy project.

I want to stress that although my current wind-up wooden car is my final product for this project, I see the piece as another model working towards a greater design. As I said, throughout constructing and after completing the model, I saw a variety of elements I could change and improve. I pondered these changes and new ideas as I fell asleep last night and continue to do so now as I prepare to present my final model. While taking pictures of the model at various locations, I have assembled and dissembled the car numerous times. This process taught me more about the design and thus more things to consider when devising the next iteration. During my most recent photographing session, I asked my friend to sit on the car to show off how the side windows also served as handles and to put the concept into context. He too hesitantly sat on it but I reassured him although it would not propel him forward (which, I’m fairly confident in saying, is due to the band being too weak for the way I designed it to work), if he didn’t shake it, the car would support his weight. As he got more comfortable, he began lifting his feet. After a lifting his legs a couple times, the top piece fell out of place and hit his hand. Aside from feeling bad, I was reminded that the structure was not reliable the design should have more secure connections between faces. Better connections, I thought, could also aid in assembly as the stretched band between the front panel and rear axle makes adding the sides to the car challenging. In an effort to resolve these issues, I quickly sketched the following design on my iPad.

Next Wooden Wind-Up Design iPad Sketch

While I thought it would make it easier to put together and stronger, I now see how it could still be difficult to assemble. Locking in the front axle via two front pieces and having those and the remaining three sides secured in between the rubber-band-help top and bottom pieces would be more secure. Attaching the band between the front panel and rear axle, though, might be more difficult. This design does not touch on a more reliable or effective way of attaching the wheels. Currently, the wooden pegs work but they are not very attractive and I think a better means exists.