Saturday, March 15, 2014

Black-capped Chickadees at Home and at Hand


video
A video of the flurry of chickadees that meet me at the gate

Particularly during the winter months I can count on Black-capped Chickadees periodically confronting me on the foot trails. They are not at all  shy about asking for sunflower seeds. They used to take them right from my hand - or even from the brim of my hat, but not so much anymore. I knew that they would always be safe when they unexpectedly made a beeline for my head, but what if they did that to other people that weren't expecting such a friendly onslaught? A surprised person might just swat them as if they were black and white killer bees or something.  So I weened them from landing on my person, but the flock still gets very excited when they see me. Its not unusual for me to have a flock of 2 dozen of them waiting for me at "the Chickadee Gate". At the gate there are 3 posts to put seed onto. There is also a tube-type feeder for those that go in for that sort of thing.
The Chickadees would land on my hand whether or not I had seed in it
Some specialized in taking 2 hulled sunflower seeds at a time
This guy was more of a peanut man
Yes, I used to hide seeds in that old hat
Chickadees can excavate their own nest holes
Both the male and female work to remove wood chips - a beak full at a time

They will also nest in boxes - usually if they are located close to some woods
The Chickadee nest is a large mass of mostly moss and animal hair
Chickadee hatchlings have one of the softest and best insulated of bird nests
Chickadees parents remove all fecal material (fecal sacks) from the nest
Parents feed their young a high protein diet of insects
Fully feathered Chickadee nestlings are ready to leave  the nest after 12 days
Adult-sized Chickadee fledglings continue to be fed by their parents for about 3 weeks

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