Saturday, January 28, 2012

Winter Bird Study: Chickadee

This week our nature study focused on  Chickadee Study. We were surprised at how many varieties of chickadee there are! To the best of my knowledge, the chickadees indigenous to our area are the black-capped chickadee and the Carolina chickadee. [Addendum: I checked today at my nature center, and the naturalist looked it up. Apparently we are too far north for the Carolina chickadee.]

I tried to be organized, but when I was preparing for the time with the children it just seemed things wouldn't go right for everything I had hoped to do. So, I read in advance the information in the Comstock Book of Nature Study, which was very helpful. So, we got to learn about the chickadees in general, listened to the difference in bird calls of both species, and the kids drew the black-capped chickadee. [Trying very hard to determine the difference between Black-capped Chickadee and Carolina Chickadee. Answer: Black-capped Chickadee has a stripe of white on the wings that is missing from the Carolina Chickadee, and is a bit smaller, not that it is easy to determine which is bigger. They move so fast it's hard to see whether the wing has a stripe or not!]

We really enjoyed learning that the chickadees are such friends to our local agriculture, planting themselves here throughout the winter to locate and eat insect eggs that they find on the trees. I was also interested to learn that you can attract chickadees and keep them nearby by putting out beef fat or a beef bone, smearing a nearby tree with the fat every two weeks. I thought that was intriguing!

I opted to not take a nature walk that day. The kids had outdoor play instead. I intend to return to the chickadee topic next week to finish the study and see if we can do some chickadee spotting. Not sure if it will involve photos, but we will try to capture some chickadee photos from our dining room bird watching spot just in case. (Walking outdoors with boys who want to run does not seem conducive to spotting birds who fly away when things are noisy...)

I'm behind on the winter study schedule at this point, and getting behinder. So, I might try to squeeze in some of the twig study at the end of next week...

So, I'm working on getting caught up. I'll try to post posts in timely fashion. Gotta go! Have a great weekend.


  1. Never behind...just keep working a little each week. I always try to look at nature study as a life project so enjoy your time.

    I appreciate that you looked up and researched your area for chickadees. They are very similar and hard to tell apart.

    Thanks for sharing your entry with the OHC Carnival.

  2. I feel the same about my son and bird studies; all he wants to do is run too.

  3. Thanks for stopping by our chickadee pastel tutorial! Love those little birds and the way they perch - their call. I agree with Barb - never behind! :)