Tuesday, March 22, 2016

The black-capped chickadee travels in noisy little bands and draws attention to themselves with their frequent scolding chatter. The black-capped have black feathers that look like a cap on their head and under their beak, as well as white check patches, gray back, wings and tails and pale under parts with buff-colored flanks. The bill is tiny and dark and the legs and feet are black. Males and females are alike and there are no seasonal differences in plumage.  Their size is 5 1/4 inches lone vocal hues can be helpful. One of their two notes are fee-bee and the common call is chick-a-dee-dee-dee call. Here at Songbird Prairie in Northwest Indiana, we see the chickadee all year long.  Most of their diet is insects, such as aphids, ants, moths, and leaf hoppers. They also eat spiders, weed seeds and the seeds and small fruits of many trees and vines. At feeders they are partial to sunflower seed, suet and peanuts. They take their time in selecting just the right seed at the feeders here at Songbird Prairie. They seek out natural holes in woodland trees, often adapting old woodpecker holes. They readily accept nesting boxes. One year I found a clutch in a bluebird box. Looking in as I always do with the baby bluebird, I opened the box to find the female chickadee had made her nest with moss and the baby chickadees spilled out like water since the moss had almost disintegrated. I picked them up and poked them back into the hole and never opened it until they fledged. One side of the nest is built up higher that the other and can be pulled down like a flap to cover the young when both parents are away. As many as eight eggs are laid and incubated by the female for 11-13 days; both parents then share the feeding of the young until they fledge after two weeks. Come and hear their cheery chick-a dee-dee-dee While you enjoy our artfully presented breakfast here at Songbird Prairie Bed and Breakfast Inn and Spa here in Valparaiso, Indiana. www.songbirdprairie.com

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