Posts Tagged 'Chestnut-backed Chickadee'

Stanley Park: February 1st 2013

I decided to take another walk at Stanley Park yesterday afternoon. The weather was quite nice today, as far as winter goes, with some sun and a temperature of around eight degrees. It turned into a good opportunity to get some close up shots of the regular sparrows and other smaller birds. I spent a decent amount of time at the west end of Lost Lagoon in the vicinity of the stone bridge. There’s always a solid congregation of smaller birds around this spot during the winter.

From the stone bridge I turned north and walked through the forested trails to Beaver Lake. Bird activity in this part of the park is generally quiet during the winter but it’s always nice taking a walk through such beautiful forest so close to the downtown core!

There were several groups of Pine Siskins and Red Crossbills feeding on the cones high up in the treetops throughout the section of forest I walked through.

When I got to Beaver Lake I spent most of my time photographing the birds around the wooden bridge at the northwest corner of the lake. The birds are accustomed to being fed at this spot it seems and will come in for a closer look anytime someone stops by. The Chestnut-backed Chickadees are particularly adept at mobbing visitors for a meal.

It was definitely a great day to be outdoors!

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A Stroll Down the TCT

On Thursday I had a rare opportunity to get out for a little bit of birding in between classes… well, I should have really been working on homework but sometimes you get that itch and you just need to bird to get it scratched. With a limited amount of time I decided to check out a stretch of the Trans Canada Trail that runs parallel to University Dr. on Burnaby Mountain.

My first notable sighting was of a Chestnut-backed Chickadee digging into a snag. The bird would peck at the excavation sight for a few seconds before flying to a nearby branch with a small chip of wood or two in its beak. The chickadee would then drop the wood chips, fly back to the snag, and repeat the process. I watched the bird continue unabated for ten minutes or so before I had to continue on.

Interestingly, male Chestnut-backed Chickadees select the nest sight but it is the female who actually prepares or constructs the nest (1). It usually takes seven to eight days to build the nest; that’s just over a week of practically non-stop hard labour (2)! After finishing the nest the female will take a day off before commencing with egg laying (2).

Further down the trail from that tough-as-nails female Chestnut-backed Chickadee I came across a mixed flock of Golden-crowned Kinglets, Black-capped Chickadees, and a lone Ruby-crowned Kinglet. In the distance a Winter Wren broke out into song and soon after a Common Raven cawed before flying above the trees where I was standing.

After my brief escape to reality I went back inside refreshed and ready for class.

References:

  1. Fowler, Jr., K. M. 1998. Breeding biology of the Chestnut-backed Chickadee. Typed manuscript of a paper presented at the North American Ornithological Conference. 11 April 1998, St. Louis, MO.
  2. Dahlsten, Donald L., Leonard A. Brennan, D. Archibald Mccallum and Sandra L. Gaunt. 2002. Chestnut-backed Chickadee (Poecile rufescens), The Birds of North America Online (A. Poole, Ed.). Ithaca: Cornell Lab of Ornithology; Retrieved from the Birds of North America Online: http://bna.birds.cornell.edu.proxy.lib.sfu.ca/bna/species/689doi:10.2173/bna.689