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Black-capped Chickadee Robbing Peter To Pay Paul

b-c chickadee 1B0A9061The time for nest-building has arrived for Black-capped Chickadees. They most often choose dead aspens and birches as nesting trees, and the punkier the wood the better so that the birds can easily excavate a cavity with their small beaks. While both male and female create the nest hole, the female builds the nest within the cavity by herself.

Most chickadee nests are used only once, and consist of coarse material such as moss for the foundation and finer, softer material such as the hair of rabbits or deer for the lining. The pictured chickadee is only a day or two away from laying eggs, for she is collecting shed fur from red fox kits (they grow three different coats on their way to maturity – gray, sand-colored and red) for the lining of her nest. She found a bonanza of nesting material on the dirt mound at the entrance of an active fox den, where the kits spend much of their time. (Thanks to Jim Block for photo op.)

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8 responses

  1. Bill On The Hill

    Fascinating little birds Mary… They are by far my best customer at the suet cakes over the course of winter. Great post btw as you caught it with its beak in the cookie jar…
    Bill… :~)

    May 27, 2019 at 7:08 am

  2. Alice Pratt

    That’s so interesting to learn about their nest building & a great photo!

    May 27, 2019 at 8:06 am

  3. Tamson

    We had a pair with a nest in a rotting birch snag about three feet high on one of our busiest trails. The nest was less than six inches from the top of the snag, and if you knew where look, you could see the baby birds. Another pair attempted to excavate a nest into the top of a sign post (15 degree angled top). The top was a bit soft, but the wood underneath was still solid and they gave up before too long. I probably should replace the post, but it’s a great show and tell on nature walks, so until someone tells me I have to replace it or the post rots out, there it will stay.

    May 27, 2019 at 9:23 am

  4. Guy Stoye

    Years ago when I had a lot of extra hair (grey then but a lot of it) I had the morning habit of leaning out our first floor bathroom window and brushing my hair with curry comb. One morning I looked down and saw a chickadee on th ground looking up at me. She had, clenched in her bill, a nice bundle of my hair.

    May 27, 2019 at 10:20 am

    • Hi Guy, I’ve provided birds with dog hair for years, but never thought of my own – brilliant!

      May 27, 2019 at 11:14 am

  5. James Macneil

    Mary, you are not only my teacher of nature, but also of grammar !

    May 27, 2019 at 10:53 am

    • Not so sure about having any talent there, but you’re kind to say so!

      May 27, 2019 at 11:13 am

  6. For the first time, we have a pair of chickadees nesting in one of our boxes and the cool thing is, one of them is leucistic – so unusual with its white tail.

    May 27, 2019 at 9:14 pm

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