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Meet The Chickadee

Chestnut Backed Chickadee, Photo by Rick Korpienen

The Chickadee, though several species such as the Mountain Chickadee, Chestnut Backed Chickadee and the well known Black-capped Chickadee are all part of the Titmouse family.   This is a very curious bird and can hardly be called shy about people.  These acrobatic birds are often times seen hanging upside down on leaves or fir cones in search of insects.  Unlike many of the other birds, this bird has adapted in very unique ways to stay year round.  Every Autumn the Chickadee will allow old brain neurons containing old information to die and will replace them with new ones to gather new information thus only using new material to adapt to social and environmental changes.  Often times you will see the Chickadee frequenting backyard bird feeders with a voracious appetite, however, much of this food will be stored for later when food will not be as plentiful.  

You will find the Chickadee in a range of habitats from city parks and suburban neighborhoods to deciduous and mixed forest and wetlands.  Around May through June they will seek out rotting old snags in the forest and abandoned woodpecker nest to raise their young.  A cavity is carved into a tree and lined with soft moss and feathers, and the female will lay up to 8 eggs.  After 12 to 13 days of incubation the tiny chicks will hatch and the busy work of food gathering will be done by both parents.  Within 16 to 20 days the chicks, now in full feathers, will take flight but remain close to their parents.  It will be another 3 to 4 weeks before they will head out on their own.

The Chickadee gets It's name from their call "chicka-dee-dee.  This call identifies their flock  from other flocks, also extending the call by several "dee" sounds is a warning of danger that is heeded by many other woodland animals.