February is National Bird Feeding Month. To celebrate, each Monday, NPC will post information on some of the more “popular” backyard birds. Thank you to Charlie for writing the posts, and providing the photos.
Feeding birds is a popular winter activity for many people – and birds too. And one of the most popular birds is the black-capped chickadee, which some people call “the little boy of the woods” for their constant motion and apparent joie di vivre. Black-capped chickadees are found from southern Pennsylvania to the northern limit of trees in Canada and frequent a multitude of habitats from old growth forests to reverting brushy fields. They nest in tree cavities, old woodpecker holes and in nest boxes; they spend winter nights in similar locations. It has been reported that chickadees have about two hours to find food each morning before lack of nourishment proves fatal. At feeders they prefer sunflower seeds but will also eat corn, suet and peanut butter; they frequently cache surplus food for use later. Remarkably, their brains actually produce new cells and grow by about 30% in fall so they can remember all those cache sites (up to 100,000) and then shrink in the spring.
For more information visit the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, National Geographic, and Birdzilla. You can view maps of the Black-capped chickadees habitat, listen to the bird’s song, and view more photos and identification points.