Friday, May 06, 2016

Black-capped Chickadee

Black-capped Chickadee - Poecile atricapilla

Black-capped Chickadees are prevalent year round in the Calgary area. 

Specialized leg muscles enable these birds to feed upside down while hanging from a perch. They are adept at exploiting resources in difficult situations. Food is stored in caches and used during the winter when resources are meager. During very cold winter days chickadees are able to lower their body temperature (regulated hypothermia) from 42 C to 30 C to conserve energy.

Chickadees will pester predators (mobbing behaviour) that are in their territory.

In autumn the new chickadees leave their parents and join a flock with which they will overwinter. These chickadees will mate the next spring with a member of the flock.

The nest is often a cavity in rotten wood. In my neighborhood, the chickadees favor creating cavities in the exterior of a home. They choose a location under the eaves where they excavate into the soffit where the siding meets the roofline.

1. The Atlas of Breeding Birds of Alberta. Federation of Alberta Naturalists. 2007.
2. Baicich PJ, Harrison CJO. Nests, Eggs, and Nestlings of North American Birds. Princeton UP. 2005.
3. Sibley David A. The Sibley Guide to Bird Life & Behavior. Alfred A Knopf, Inc. New York. 2001.

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