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Why Do Chickadees Come and Go?

Such well-behaved little birds!

A chickadee comes in to the feeder, quickly grabs a seed, and flies away. It may return immediately, but it's more likely to wait its turn. When a whole flock of chickadees moves into the yard, it looks as if they form a living conveyer belt. One chickadee after another flies to the feeder and leaves with a seed. The birds take turns rather than squabbling over the seeds. Watch for the Black-capped Chickadee in the North and East, the Mountain Chickadee in the Rockies, the Carolina Chickadee in the southeastern quarter of the US, and this Chestnut-backed Chickadee in the West and Northwest.
Support for BirdNote comes from Bloomsbury, announcing the new book "Winter Birds" with paintings by artist and ornithologist Lars Jonsson. Available wherever books are sold.

Full Transcript



Why Do Chickadees Come and Go?

Written by Dennis Paulson

This is BirdNote!. [Black-capped Chickadee calls]

Whether Mountain Chickadees in the Rockies, Black-caps in New England, or Chestnut-backs in the Northwest, chickadees are always worth watching at your feeder. If you’ve laid out a fine feast of sunflower seeds, you’ll see them come in, quickly grab a seed, and fly away. If you watch carefully, you’ll see one land nearby, open the seed, and eat the juicy and nutritious kernel within. [Chickadee pounding on seed] 

Now keep watching that chickadee. It may return immediately, but it’s more likely to wait its turn. When a whole flock of chickadees moves into your yard, it looks as if they form a living conveyer belt. One chickadee after another, flies to the feeder and then leaves with a seed. [Black-capped Chickadee calls]
When they find a concentrated supply of food, such as a tray of sunflower seeds, the birds are better off taking their turns than all coming in at once and squabbling over the seeds. Nature seems to prefer order to chaos.  And we have much to learn from the chickadees. [Black-capped Chickadee calls]

The bird sounds for BirdNote are from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. Nancy Rumbel and John Kessler composed and played the theme music. Writers for BirdNote include Dennis Paulson, Bob Sundstrom, Chris Peterson, Frances Wood, Ellen Blackstone, and Todd Peterson. I’m Mary McCann.


Call of the Black-capped Chickadee provided by The Macaulay Library of Natural Sounds at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, New York. Recorded by R.S. Little and S.R. Pantle.
BirdNote's theme music was composed and played by Nancy Rumbel and John Kessler.
Producer: John Kessler
Executive Producer: Chris Peterson
© 2015 Tune In to     January 2018     Narrator: Mary McCann

ID# 010907BCCH4KPLU   BCCH-05b

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