Monday, March 10, 2008

Sax Zim Boreal Chickadees

After photographing woodpeckers on Admiral and McDavitt Roads I decided to go check out the feeding station on Admiral Road. This feeding station began when Mike Hendrickson hung part of a deer carcass on a tree. Since that time another deer carcass has been added as well as several hanging suet feeders and a bunch of loose seed on the ground. When I arrived there were about a dozen birds feeding. Since they were all either black-capped chickadees or redpolls most where on the ground eating up the loose seed. After a few minutes a boreal chickadee showed up and began to eat bits of one of the deer carcasses. I only got a couple of quick shots before he took off. I decided to stick around for a while to see if the boreal would return.
I kept hearing boreals close by so I was hopeful and it payed off. A boreal returned and began to eat of the carcass again, which was cool, but then it perched on a small snag of the tree and turned so that I could get a couple of pictures of its face.
Later on I was at the feeder station on Blue Spruce Road shooting pictures of redpolls and grossbills when a boreal showed up.
Boreal Chickadees are native to the boreal forests that occupy large portions of Canada and Alaska.They feed on seeds, insects, and insect larva and often store food to help them survive the harsh winter months.
If food becomes scarce some boreal chickadee will migrate south and will winter in the northern areas of the United States. After feeding on suet, this boreal chickadee flew down to the snow bank to get a drink of snow.
The boreal chickadee is number five on the Audubon list of common birds in decline. According to the Audubon website the current estimated population of the boreal chickadee is 5.2 million. This is compared to about 20 million 40 years ago. This is a decline of 73%. The main reason for the decline in their population is probably loss of habitat due to over logging, mining and global warming.

6 comments:

Lynne said...

Those are the best boreal chickadee photos I've ever seen!

Scott said...

Very nice. I love the critters that are slight variations on ones I'm used to seeing. I was even excited about seeing the black-capped chickadees here since pretty much all we ever got in Colorado were mountain chickadees.

Ecobirder said...

Thanks Lynne and Scott. Scott we get plenty of black-capped chickadees are here but the boreals are not seen very often even in northern Minnesota. Usually you are lucky to hear them or catch a flicker as one flies past. I was fortunate on this day.

Ivars Krafts said...

I agree with Lynne -- some of the best Boreal Chickadee pix! Keep up the good work.

Anonymous said...

Nice pix too, but - "They feed on seeds, insects, and insect larva....". We also read that their "habitat" is affected. How about them being victims of the 24 hour day like whippoorwills and many other insectivorous animals. Light at night sucks insects from habitat areas like a vacuum cleaner. Maybe we are too blinded by the light at night to see the harm being done in front of our noses.

Ecobirder said...

Thanks Ivar.

Interesting premise anonymous, but I am not sure that the 24 hour day would be responsible for the decline over the past 70 years since I think that the 24 hour daylight has existed since before the decline began.