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, January 24, 2016

Chickadee Sweeties!

Photo by Robert Nunnally
Even though nesting season is still a couple months away, this morning I heard the loud whistled fee-bee-beeyee chickadees use to attract mates or strengthen pair bonding. In the Wild Bird Guides: Black-capped Chickadee, Susan Smith writes the loud fee-bees actually involve three notes. The first (fee) is high, the second (bee) is low, and the third (bee) is slightly higher in pitch than the second, like they are singing hey sweetie.

In the fall young chickadees leave the territory they were hatched and join non-family flocks to forage for food together all winter. The flocks usually are equal in the numbers of males and females and pairs form. This monogamous pair formation is an essential part of flock formation and may last a lifetime.

Females choose their mates so males must woo females with song and tasty treats. Chickadees are year-round residents in mid-Michigan. This gives them an advantage in finding a good nesting territory. At the end of January it is not too early to see chickadees begin to explore potential nest sites (bird houses) so that as soon as the flocks begin to break up for breeding at the end of February, each pair can claim a territory within their home range.

In March, as chickadees dispute territory rights, the loud whistled fee-bee-beeyee songs become a familiar sound. You’ll hear male chickadees engage in prolonged fee-bees battles with their male neighbors.

Related Articles:
What the 'dee' in Chick-a-dee means http://goo.gl/8rde3a
A closer look at the fee-bee song of the chickadee http://goo.gl/X4qLRV
Why don't chickadees stay to eat at the feeder? http://bit.ly/AkKThH
After chickadee babies have fledged http://bit.ly/yAYbP4
Fun Facts About Chickadees http://bit.ly/zIDkCi

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