My Family of Backyard Chickadees

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

The baby chickadees hatched this afternoon!  I have been watching this chickadee pair for quite some time, so when Adam bought me this beautiful birdhouse for Christmas this year, I hoped they might choose it.  Little did I know that a global pandemic was right around the corner.  Little did I know shortly after I hung it up facing southeasterly in early April that they would choose it.  Little did I know how happy I would be just to sit in the garden and watch this pair, called Sunny and Moe, build their nest.

There were many days I wondered if they found a better spot and moved on, but every day or so, I would see them enter the nest.  It soon became apparent that Moe was sitting on the eggs, because Sunny would come regularly and call to her, or Moe would call to him, and he would feed her, sometimes inside the nest, sometimes outside the nest.  Earlier today, Sunny was sounding his usual call, but Moe didn't leave the nest.  A few hours later, I was walking by and heard babies.  Since that moment, the two have flitted back and forth all day, bringing back caterpillars and insects to feed their babies.

It will take 6,000-9,000 caterpillars to feed this clutch.  If they can't find enough, the babies won't make it, or only half may survive.  How do they get that many caterpillars?  From our native plants.  Our native white oaks host the most caterpillars than any other species in the Northern hemisphere.  What we plant in our yards is essential to the survival of our local wildlife.  Even a small percentage is enough to support our local populations.  To find out what plants are native to your area, plug in your zip code on the Native Plant Finder on the National Wildlife Federation website.  Birds just like Sunny and Moe depend on us!

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