My life is about living with nature – here you can live it with me!

Five Baby Chickadees!

Grounded Chickadees (You are bad, now sit in your corner)

The Black-capped Chickadee is a common and widespread resident who visits our bird feeders. Then you find yourself very excited since one of these cute chickadees is using a nest boxes of yours. Young naturalist C had this happened and was so excited to tell me about her new resident. BTW: This is the chickadee nest that I posted as Cute Wordless Wednesday and thought she did such a wonderful job documenting their birth that she deserved another posting!

A Cute Wordless Wednesday! The Eggs!

Both male and female Black-capped Chickadees assist in excavating the hole but when using a nest box the male has very little work since the female is the only one who brings the material to line the nest. This particular nest was built using some string, animal hair and moss which will make it perfect accommodations for the next month. It didn’t take long until she had laid 7 tiny white with brown spotted eggs. Incubation takes around 12 days and she had only 5 nestlings hatch (see photo below taken by Young Naturalist C).

Just born!

Nestlings will stay in the nest for ~ 16 days before they fledge. Since Young Naturalist C has been assisting me at the banding station, she asked if we could band these nestlings once they were old enough to be banded. We waited until the nestlings were around 10-12 days of age before we could place a band on their leg. If you wait too long . . . . the nestlings will prematurely fledge and the little ones will run every which direction. But you can injure them if banded to early, so knowing their exact age was critical information for these kids to record. Young Naturalist E (C’s sister) had the job of taking the nestlings out of the box and then placing them into the banding bag.

Taking the Babies Out

Each nestling was issued an special numerical metal banded which can be traced through the bird banding laboratory if ever caught again. Although they still had their primary and secondary pin feathers growing, we did take a few wing measurements from the nestlings. They were then weighed and placed back into the banding bag so that all nestlings can be returned together.

Wing Rule

It it only a matter of time until these young chickadees fledge the nest and start exploring the world. They have the experience of telling the other birds (like in the movie Happy Feetthe aliens took me and put this tag on my leg!!”) If you haven’t seen the movie, you wouldn’t have a clue what I am talking about!!

Banding the Baby Chickadees

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25 responses

  1. I love the chickadees. What a great photo essay (nice words, too). I hope my little naturalists can have a mentor like you, Tom.

    6 June 2007 at 2:18 pm

  2. What a wonderful program. What a great post. The birds are just too cute. All the pictures are great, but the first and last are priceless.

    6 June 2007 at 3:06 pm

  3. I am positively giddy drunk on cuteness Monarch!!! What a spectacular post!

    6 June 2007 at 3:33 pm

  4. Too cute! What a good little mother she is. The babies are so cute all pointing outwards.

    6 June 2007 at 4:34 pm

  5. Cute little buggers! I love the photo of the baby in your Flickr album. They go for that cuticle at a young age! I had to deal with a few feisty ones last year. Luckily swallows (which I mostly deal with) don’t do that. Great to see young naturalists helping out too! Keep up the great work.

    6 June 2007 at 5:32 pm

  6. Kaz

    OMGosh… my daughter would be beside herself with shear joy if she could see one of these that upclose and personal! I cannot wait to show her these photos! Thanks for posting them, well done young naturalist C!
    -Kaz

    6 June 2007 at 6:12 pm

  7. Could they be any more adorable? What a great thing you are doing with these young naturalists! Rock on!

    6 June 2007 at 7:31 pm

  8. Great job Young Naturalist C!!! OMG, could they be any cuter? They look like they’re all mad at each other in the first pic facing away from each other like that.

    6 June 2007 at 7:46 pm

  9. @ Trixie – Thanks and you should look for some local nature centers who would be willing to put your kids in the right direction! Those that volunteer can really get some great experiences. I have had a few of these kids working with me when they were 7 years old!
    @ NatureShutterbug – Thanks and the one I posted in flickr (not here) is my favorite!
    @ Jayne – Thanks and baby birds get me giddy also!
    @ Linda – LOL, I guess those little birds all needed some lone time!
    @ Nick – Thanks and then again the feisty ones are the cutest!
    @ Kaz – Thanks and sure hope she gets the chance one day! They are cute little birdies!
    @ Liz – these kids do all the work and I just help point them in the right direction! They also have parents that really encourage them into learning (which is where their dedication comes from). Many times the parent’s will only bring the kids once, twice and no longer want to get up early in the morning or willing to take the drive down the park! Then we never see them again!
    @ Pam – thanks and I think the first photo is great also! Mom probably grounded them.

    6 June 2007 at 8:36 pm

  10. Oh oh oh — I love this post. I love the story — we get to hear how the nest turned out. I love the photos–momma, eggs, itty-bitty babies, and then the fledgling birds.
    And they are so handsome with their formal wear on!
    THANKS.

    6 June 2007 at 9:00 pm

  11. They are so cute. I hope I get to see a cute little Chickadee in my yard.

    6 June 2007 at 9:10 pm

  12. What great documentation. These photograhs show us what we could not see inside our nest boxes. Really beautiful. Our nest box of Black-capped chickadees emptied out yesterday. Just like that, they were gone. One thing I noticed while the parents were tending to their babies, was that I did not hear the sweet chickadee song. I heard it this morning, and I knew that the feeding and tending were over. A pair of Violet-green Swallows took over the nest right away. It was stunning.

    6 June 2007 at 9:29 pm

  13. Of all the bird babies, I think chickadees are the cutest! Thanks for sharing these with us.

    6 June 2007 at 10:17 pm

  14. Grace

    That nest looks so soft.

    6 June 2007 at 11:38 pm

  15. jimbeau34

    Great work Tom…..I’ve seen all of your posts on flickr and they are fantastic .

    6 June 2007 at 11:58 pm

  16. Ahhhh. Those fine, young naturalists have the greatest mentor on earth. You should be proud.

    Now, you know I have a soft spot for Chickadees. What a tease you are!

    7 June 2007 at 10:13 am

  17. Monica

    So very beautiful…wonderful captures and visual insights.

    Thank you

    7 June 2007 at 8:55 pm

  18. That last picture – cutest – EVER~ !

    7 June 2007 at 9:40 pm

  19. Great shots of these Chickadees, Tom, wow! I also really like the last one – it looks like a grumpy British royal guard 🙂

    8 June 2007 at 11:02 am

  20. Thanks everyone for such kind words 🙂
    @ KGMom – their mother told me today that the babies fledged the following day. Thanks
    @ Barb – they are cute, thanks!
    @ Robin – love reading about your nest box birds and would love to see the VG Swallow one of these days!
    @ Ruthie – The chickadees are cute birds, Thanks!
    @ Grace – very softly made!
    @ Jim – so glad you were able to visit over from flickr! Thanks!
    @ Mary – At this point the kids start teaching themselves and I teach them bad things like smelling the head of a woodpecker (have a musk tree smell to them if you are wondering).
    @ Monica – thanks and thanks again for visiting!
    @ Cathy – it is cute, thanks!
    @ Adam – LOL, they are great little birds and so glad I had some good lighting!

    8 June 2007 at 9:27 pm

  21. Mon@rch, what a photo of the baby chickadees! You keep outdoing yourself!

    9 June 2007 at 1:38 am

  22. No clue about the movie reference, but this must have been a great experience for all of these kids. I think I need to get in touch with my naturalist buddy down here to see if he’s doing any banding soon!

    Great shots throughout, by the way.

    12 June 2007 at 9:21 am

  23. Thanks LostRoses! I am trying! Marty – Do contact him and I bet you would have a blast getting out with him!

    12 June 2007 at 10:47 am

  24. annabelle

    The black cap chickadee are so so cute I love them they are adorable xoxoxo Love annabelle

    25 September 2008 at 7:27 am

  25. Renae

    This is so cute!
    may these birds have a happy future…

    27 April 2011 at 9:05 pm

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