Chickadee nest


Nearly a month ago, I watched a Black-capped Chickadee couple excavate a cavity nest in a snag. The exercise went on for quite a few days. There was no guarantee that they would occupy it for they tend to dig several cavities before deciding which one can be their ideal home. Then activity stopped and nothing more was seen until today. 

I saw one chickadee (the female) vanish into the cavity. Soon, the male arrived with something in his bill. He vanished into the cavity and in 12 seconds returned with an empty bill. I will keep watching it in the hopes that chicks may be seen.

After the female has entered, the male arrives with food. 

And in 12 seconds he is off for more food. We may see an average of 7 chicks. 


This entry was posted in birds. Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to Chickadee nest

  1. birthe says:

    What lovely close-ups. I also enjoy seeing the colour variations in the bark.
    Thank you Alistair

  2. Allan Hobden says:

    ..and now, the black-capped chickadee bird has been voted Calgary`s Official Bird..

  3. Ed McMackin from way "Out there" @Creston Valley Advance says:

    A past conversation – “How many chickadee chicks do you see in the nest?” Five! “Well, could there possibly be one more?” I’ll look. Oh, there are six, oh, no, there are seven! Two of them are underneath with only their beaks showing!

  4. Margo says:

    It looks to me like they excavate a knot. Is this so? Seems to be very well camouflaged.

    • Alistair says:

      Margo, good suggestion. I think you are right.

    • Ed McMackin from way "Out there" @Creston Valley Advance says:

      I think in most cases the knot rotted first and then the chickadees pecked out the remaining rotten material, if there was any. When a branch breaks off there is no bark covering the spot and thus no protection against “agents” of decay. Bark-covered portions of the tree are more protection. A nuthatch seems a bit more agressive at opening knotholes but even then, unless the branch itself was decayed, nuthatches would find a softer knothole somewhere else. Cottonwoods , birch and large willows tend to loose branches more readily than some other trees. The very element, water, that helps their growth also causes their demise. Branches get heavy and tend to break off leaving easy excavation of the knothole.

  5. Sarah says:

    I knew chickadees were cavity nesters, but I thought they were too little to do the excavating work, and used abandoned holes created by larger birds? So this was interesting to read today. In your experience is it typical for them to dig their own cavities?

  6. Christine Boyd says:

    Wow, up to 7 chicks! Had no idea. Animal parents are absolutely inspiring! They’re love in action. So wonderful to observe and perhaps also learn from.

Comments are closed.