Five Baby Chickadees!
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!
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).
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.
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.
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 Feet “the 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!!