Hidden! A pair of Black-capped Chickadees selected well.
Their nest site is tucked away in a cavity located in a Red Alder that is slowly transitioning from a vibrant tree into a decaying snag.
Can you guess which tree in this cluster was selected by the Chickadee parents?
Hint: remember that
Black-capped Chickadees are cavity nesters.
If you selected this one- good job! You didn’t let the birdhouses trick you.
There’s a channel forming as the tree wood is beginning to rot and split away from heartwood with bark still mostly in tact.
It’s a perfect chickadee location- to safely chip out a spot to tuck away a little cupped-shaped nest constructed from mosses, bark, and feathers.
As I leaned in to sneak a snap this photo, I could hear tiny little chirps.
The nestlings are not visible. However, Chickadees are known to lay clutches of 6-8 eggs throughout the months of early spring to mid-summer.
Nestlings remain in their nest for about 16 days. At first, the female remains with the young while the male brings food to the whole family. Later, both parents bring food to the rapidly growing babies.
Youngsters leave the nest at about 16 days… in great part because the parents start presenting food only outside the nest cavity. The fledglings will still be fed by their parents for several weeks even thought they will be capable of catching food on their own within a week of leaving the nest.
This post highlights my observations of both parents as they came and went during the nest feeding phase. I used a 150-600 mm telephoto lens on my Nikon D500. This setup allowed me to remain unobtrusive for long photo sessions. During one session, I estimate the nestlings received food about every 5 minutes. Feedings generally rotated, one parent away with one in the nest. Every now and then, both birds would be at the nest concurrently. One would perch outside and wait for the other to leave.
Isn’t that amazing?
I selected the following images to highlight the dedication exhibited by Black-capped Chickadees engaged with the energetic process of feeding their young. As you read, click the triangles to close each photo and avoid extra scrolling.
A chickadee parent arrives with food to feed the nestlings.
After noting that the other parent was not in the cavity, the arriving bird approaches the entrance.
The adult enters.
Peek inside the crevice. Midway, you can see him scampering to nest.
After feeding young, the Chickadee turns to scamper upward.
It continues to the top of the nest cavity.
Looks to see that all is clear…
and out it flies to gather more food!
I made a choice to limit how severely I cropped photos. My goal was to allow details to be evident without sacrificing appreciation for the size of the birds in their habitat.
How did I do? Please share your thoughts in the comment section. Constructive feedback and compliments are both helpful 🙂
Resources for this post:
- Guide to Bird Behavior:Volume One; Donald Stokes
- iBird Pro app for iPad; Black-capped Chickadee
- The Virtual Nature Trail at Penn State New Kensington; Black-capped Chickadee