Chickadee Magic and Dark Nights

The dark has arrived. I wake up gleeful to have an extra hour–yay, 7AM turned into 6AM! But this afternoon, as I prepare the ground for garlic and race the end of the day to get it all done, I am not gleeful anymore. This is transition time. The seasons demand that we pay attention. The long black nights proclaim the time of dreaming.

And chickadees. My grandmother Marion loved chickadees and I have always felt they embodied her spirit. Look closely at this common bird. We so easily think we know everything about anything that is “common”.  Truth is, this concept keeps us form learning as much about those species as I might about an animal considered exotic.

I found a lovely site that listed all kinds of facts I did not know about chickadees. Click here if you want to go to that site. Did you know that:

  • Research has shown that while Chickadees are regular visitors to feeders, over 75 to 80 percent of their winter food supply still comes from natural sources.
  • When the temperature falls below 10 degrees, research has shown that the survival rate of chickadees almost doubled when they had access to feeders, this resulted in an overall higher winter survival rate of 69% versus a 37% survival rate for populations without access to feeders.”

Okay. Stop there and take it in. They mate for life. And when it’s cold they really need some help to survive. And they need your natural plantings as well.  Here’s more:

  • “Have you noticed how ravenously the birds eat at your bird feeders, especially first thing in the morning and just before dusk? Chickadees can gain as much as 10 percent of their body weight each day and lose it all again during a cold winter night.
  • Chickadees are a tough little bird that do not migrate. During cold weather Chickadees have been found to need twenty times more food than they do in summer.
  • They like to eat seeds, suet and even coconut.
  • Chickadees weigh less than one-half of an ounce.
  • A Carolina Chickadee (Parus carolinensis) perc...Image via Wikipedia
    Carolina Chickadee
  • The oldest banded Black-capped Chickadee recaptured in the wild had lived 12 years and 5 months.”

Chick-a-dee-dee. I am going out to feed the birds.

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