Here in Maine, the black-capped chickadees (Poecile atricapillus) are displaying early courting behavior. February, after all, is the month of love. In recent weeks, I have noticed a change in the behavior of these birds. For example, the males are now starting to sing. Females are more likely to mate with males that have won a singing contest by singing the best song. I have also found that food hasn’t been their primary focus of attention lately. The flocks that usually frequent the feeders have begun to break up and find new territories in order to scout out next season’s nesting areas. One thing that hasn’t changed this month is the fact that every time I am outside getting the mail or walking around the yard, a few of these birds follow me. These are the birds that need to “get with the program” and focus on their displays of courtship. I suppose even though spring is around the corner, there is still some time left for these birds to pair up with their mates and find future nesting sites.
Black-capped chickadees pairs typically form in fall and remain together for part of the winter.
Black-capped chickadees are among some of the birds of North American that spend the nesting season together. Flocks will break up in late winter and both members of a pair help defend their nesting territory.
Nests are built by female black-capped chickadees.
Both male and female black-capped chickadees excavate a cavity site.
This is also the time that you can provide these birds with nesting boxes. Black-capped chickadees are especially attracted to nesting boxes filled with sawdust or wood shavings.
Also, as a reminder for all of you bird lovers out there, it is time for The Great Backyard Bird Count. The count is February 15-18, 2019. If you haven’t done so already, make sure to sign up and get involved with the count. You can participate for at least 15 minutes or more on each day of the count. After your observations, simply tally the number of birds you have seen. You can participate from any location.
On this day of love, I wish everyone a Happy Valentine’s Day and happy bird watching this coming weekend!