At the end of January chickadees begin to explore potential nest sites so that as soon as the flocks begin to break up for breeding, each monogamous pair can claim a territory within their home range. The chickadees usually live within 10 miles of where they were born for their whole life.
The intense fighting stopped temporarily when it got cold again but will start over once the flocks break up for good in the spring. On the rare occasion a chickadee doesn’t get a territory, they become summer floaters, keeping out of the way of resident pairs.
Chickadees like to nest in natural cavities like knotholes in trees, or old woodpecker nests. Where these are scarce chickadees will use bird houses. Putting some wood shavings in the bottom of the bird house may attract chickadees, as they seem to prefer freshly excavated holes. (Don’t be surprised if they throw them out as if they were excavating their own hole.) The hole entrance on a chickadee bird house should be at least 1 ¼” and some of our Michigan chubby chickadees might even prefer the 1 ½” hole.
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