Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Sax Zim Winter Bird Fest Chickadees

Another bird that I was hoping to get a picture of during the Sax Zim Winter Birding Fest was the boreal chickadee. While I have plenty of pictures of black capped chickadee I did not have any of the boreal chickadee.
That was until the festival. On our Saturday field trip we made a few stops along roads that bordered boreal habitat and looked for some of the elusive chickadees. We heard a call and caught a glimpse of one but it did not stay long enough for me to get a good look, let alone a photo, so we moved on. Later that day we ended up heading down McDavitt Road. Originally the plan was to head down Admiral Road and check out the suet and deer carcass that Mike Hendricks had attached to the trees for the birds but another bus had headed down Admiral so we went down McDavitt instead. We made a couple stops along the road, getting off the bus and listening for woodpeckers. At one of these stops one of our group leaders, Pastor Al, heard a boreal chickadee call. We looked around and found another deer carcass that Mike or one of the local people had attached to a tree. On the ground next to this tree was a boreal chickadee.
It did not take him long to move up to the carcass and start to feed. Boreal chickadees are omnivores but tend to prefer protein such as carrion and suet. Protein is a good source of energy and probably helps to keep them warm during harsh winter conditions.
Like the black-capped, boreal chickadees store food to eat later when times are lean, which is often necessary living in the northern regions.
Boreal chickadees usually spend all year in their northern boreal forest homes and don't migrate south unless there is a shortage of food. That is why there are very few places to see these birds in the US.
Later that day we did spot another boreal chickadee down at the Morse feeding station, but it was further away and did not really come into the open long enough to get any good pics.


Lynne at Hasty Brook said...

Lucky you- our group on Saturday heard them but couldn't get a good look. Nice Pix.

Ecobirder said...

I think that most of birding is luck.