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Nature Journal-Chickadees are parents now

Updated: May 7, 2021

A couple of chickadees have moved into our birdhouse and successfully hatched their babies recently. They have been so busy feeding their hatchlings these days, in and out of the birdhouse non-stop. While the parents themselves only eat mealworms and nuts from our bird feeders, they always brought fresh soft worms to their babies. We are amazed by the nature of being parents.



carolina chickadee watercolor
Carolina chickadee watercolor by Gloria M. 4-19-21

Did you know:

  • Chickadees are native to North America with the Carolina chickadees being native to the southeast. The name “Chickadee" refers to their distinctive calls. Early Europeans in North America used the name titmouse for chickadees as well.


  • Chickadees do not migrate and they form small flocks often mixed with titmice, nuthatches, and downy and hairy woodpeckers. They have a strict hierarchy ranking in the flocks but


  • Chickadee males and females may look alike to us humans, but they see each other differently. As birds can see ultraviolet light, and the male chickadees have a stronger ultraviolet reflection on their cheeks.


  • Chickadees can reduce their body temperature by as much as 22°F from their daytime level which is called regulated hypothermia to cope with the cold winter nights.


  • Chickadees are generally monogamous and mate for life. By the way, if a high social status chickadee lost its partner and the new partner will assume the same social status even if it was originally from the lowest rank...just like marrying into the royal family


  • Chickadees can store as many as eight thousand seeds in a season to prepare for harsh winters. They store food in crevices of the same tree where the food was found and can remember the locations and which food has high quality.


Wildlife garden tips:

1. Put up nest boxes or tubes before breeding season to attract chickadee pairs. It doesn't matter if they are stuffed with sawdust or wood shavings

2. Provide bird food especially black oil sunflower seeds during winter to help chickadees and other resident birds to survive.

3. Plant trees and shrubs of different sizes to provide foraging areas as well as shelters.

4. Use a shallow birdbath for chickadees to drink and shower. Make sure the water is not too deep or add pebbles for chickadees and the other small birds to stand on.


Helpful Links:y

Chickadees and their mixed species foraging flocks: https://vt.audubon.org/news/birding-home-chickadee-crew


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