Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Spring Cleaning

Yesterday afternoon while enjoying a pleasant walk through the Salem Riverfront Park we stopped to observe a busy pair of Black-capped Chickadees.  We quickly realized that the chickadees were focused on a hole in a tree. As we continued to watch we began to understand what was going on, they were cleaning out a nest site. A bird that we eventually decided was the female would disappear into the cavity for a few seconds and then reappear with a mouth full of debris. You can see her in the above photo and see her mouth-full, and notice how her feathers are all akimbo. Now, not to read too much into these behaviors, the other bird which we concluded was the male, seemed unable to take on any responsibility in the cleaning chores, and took on the role of an observer. He is shown in the lower photo, notice he has not a feather out of place as he watches at the edge of the opening, and if you look closely you can see just the end of her tail feathers sticking out of the door way as she fiercely attacks all the dust and dirt.


  1. Donaldsville LarryApril 8, 2014 at 9:11 AM

    Once more, an excellent diatribe!

  2. Thanks Larry, I hope it didn't interrupt your morning house cleaning.:)

    1. Donaldsville LarryApril 10, 2014 at 10:53 AM

      Jim, Jim, Jim! "It is to laugh", said Daffy Duck in a Bugs Bunny cartoon. You, Sir Jim, are WAY too funny for one person!

  3. Jim has observed some interesting Black-capped Chickadee nesting behavior regarding gender roles.
    Do females of the other Chickadee species also do the house cleaning while the male is a non-participant in this activity? Lee