Thursday, June 26, 2014

A Chickadee With Magpie Hair?

Chickadee with nesting material (c) John Ashley
Adult Black-capped Chickadee carrying nesting material
I crossed paths this evening with a Black-capped Chickadee carrying a beak full of nesting material. Some of our Chickadees have young in the nest already, while others are late nesters. With many bird species, older females nest earlier and often produce more eggs than younger, inexperienced females. The female Black-capped Chickadee picks the nesting location, normally a cavity excavated by both adults from a dead and rotting tree. They only produce one clutch per year.

At dusk I walked back down the hill to my own nest cavity, and we started looking a little more closely at the photos from today. What exactly is in this bird's beak? Could it be? It looks like this Chickadee might be carrying off some of the black and white hairs we combed out of our young Border Collie. You know, the one named "Magpie." Good to see her soft hair going to a good use.