Precious Pal

The bird featured on this post is the Carolina Chickadee, a small little bird that I admire very much for many different reasons. These species have been nesting in my backyard for several years already. More detailed information about this bird next:

Adults have a black cap and bib with white sides to the face. Their underparts are white with rusty brown on the flanks; their back is grey. They have a short dark bill, short wings and a moderately long tail. Very similar to the black-capped chickadee, the Carolina chickadee is distinguished by the slightly browner wing with the greater coverts brown (not whitish fringed) and the white fringing on the secondary feathers slightly less conspicuous; the tail is also slightly shorter and more square-ended.

These birds hop along tree branches searching for insects, sometimes hanging upside down or hovering; they may make short flights to catch insects in the air. Insects form a large part of their diet, especially in summer; seeds and berries become important in winter. They sometimes hammer seeds on a tree or shrub to open them; they also will store seeds for later use.

During the fall migration and winter, chickadees often flock together. Many other species of birds, including titmice, nuthatches, and warblers can often be found foraging in these flocks. Mixed flocks stay together because the chickadees call out whenever they find a good source of food. This calling out forms cohesion for the group, allowing the other birds to find food more efficiently.

Carolina chickadees are able to lower their body temperatures to induce an intentional state of hypothermia called torpor. They do this to conserve energy during extremely cold winters. In extremely cold weather conditions they look for cavities where they can hide in and spend up to fifteen hours at a time in torpor; during this time they are awake but unresponsive; they should not be picked up and handled at this time, as the stress of being held may cause their death.

Photo Gallery

Text and photographs Β© HJ Ruiz – Avian101

8 thoughts on “Precious Pal

  1. Very interesting, thanks for sharing. Many of our small birds in Australia feed in Mixed Feeding Flocks likewise, it is a buzz of excitement when you see the assortment of these birds. They are often moving very quickly in a feeding frenzy through the trees so they are difficult to photograph.

    • Those factors are what makes bird photography more interesting! Get the best shots of every session! Thanks for sharing Ashley! πŸ™‚

  2. I adore chickadees! Are you still having them at your feeders frequently, H.J.? Here in the north, I am not getting the black-capped chickadees at my feeders anymore. I get them constantly from early fall through late spring, but at the height of summer they find enough bugs and spiders, I guess, that they no longer visit the feeders.

    • Of course, they are local residents and they do not migrate, I see them all through the year. In the woods is a different story because of the weather, the snow and ice. They have to change their dietary habits to what they can get. Thanks Amy for sharing! πŸ™‚

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