About us: We own the Wild Birds Unlimited nature shop in East Lansing, Michigan,
a store that provides a wide variety of supplies to help you enjoy the birdwatching hobby.

This blog was created to answer frequently asked questions & to share nature stories and photographs.
To contribute, email me at bloubird@gmail.com.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Black-capped Chickadee: Nature’s Backyard Charmer

Chickadees are a favorite backyard bird at Michigan feeders. These petite black, white and gray birds flit from place to place and seem very bright and cheery.

• Chickadees tend to feed one at a time because there is a hierarchy that allows the most dominant bird to feed first. Generally, chickadees take one seed from the feeder – sometimes choosing with care to get the heaviest seed – and then fly away to eat it and return for more. Their favorite food is oil sunflower seed, but they also eat striped sunflower seeds, peanuts and suet.

• Chickadees are inquisitive and found in wooded areas across much of North America. The more common species include the Black-capped, Carolina and Mountain Chickadees.
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• Chickadees weigh less than half an ounce and are identified easily by their namesake call “chick-a-dee.”
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• Chickadees are generally monogamous and stay with the same mate for life. They will excavate their own nest site in rotten or decaying wood or use an old woodpecker hole or use a nesting box.
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 • Chickadees watch other birds’ foraging habits to see if they should adapt their behavior to be more successful. Though chickadees are regular visitors to feeders, over 75% of their winter food supply still comes from natural sources.
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Black-capped ChickadeeImage by jackanapes via Flickr• Chickadees do not migrate and are equipped to survive harsh winter weather. They cache foods and remember where they are hidden, have dense winter coats, diligently find excellent, well-insulated roosting cavities and can perform a regulated hypothermia to conserve energy overnight.
• When the temperature falls below 10º F, research has shown that the survival rate of chickadees almost doubled when they had access to feeders.
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• Chickadees can gain as much as 10% of their body weight each day and lose it all again during a cold winter night.
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Source: WBU BOTM

4 comments:

Joy K. said...

I think another adaptation for winter survival is extreme cuteness that compels humans to buy sunflower seeds 50 pounds at a time.

Wild Birds Unlimited Mid-Michigan said...

I think their cuteness even extends into the bird world. They often eat next to pushy sparrows, goldfinches, starlings, and jays unharassed.

Their bubbly song and tiny size are attractive to all.

The little cuties know it too!
Sarah

Vetsy said...

I agree.. chickadees are one of my favorites too"

I have three that are consistently visiting my coconut feeder on a daily basis and two of the three are now eating from my hand yippie!

They are so much fun to have around I look forward to feeding them meal worms this winter, It's something have not tried yet.

Wild Birds Unlimited Mid-Michigan said...

When I fill the feeders they seem to always have something nice to say. I consider them very welcome dinner guests!