18 July 2011

dee dee dee

I always get excited for July because I know that the chickadees are finished nesting for the season.  Meaning I can peek into the birdhouse and dissect all of their nesting material.  I have to clean out the nest box anyway or else it's very unlikely they will call the same birdhouse "home" next year if any nesting material remains.  I'm not sure if the nest-building is a courtship routine or what, but I have witnessed firsthand their lack of interest if there is any evidence of the previous season's nest!

Each year I am amazed at how clean the nest is.  The females carry out all of the young's waste and eggshell remnants so all that is left is a soft and cozy little moss mattress!

 The females also do all the work in collecting the moss and hair to build the nest.  The males' only responsibility is to bring food to the female while she incubates her 6 eggs for about 12 days.

There are about 4 different sub-species of these birds, but here on the west coast we have Chestnut-backed chickadees.  They are bold little birds which often flock with kinglets, nutchatches, and Downy woodpeckers.

Photo here by cdbtx

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