Wednesday, 18 February 2015

B.O.T.D. Black-Capped Chickadee

B.O.T.D. Feb 18, 2015

Black-Capped Chickadee (Poecile atricapillus)

When nesting is over and the young are on the wing, black-capped chickadees form flocks of eight to a dozen birds, which will roost and forage together until spring. Finding food in the winter is often tough, and hunting for it in groups increases the chances for success. As a band of chickadees flits among the trees and shrubs searching for insect eggs and pupae, they keep an eye on on another. When an individual discovers a tidbit, its fellows not only renew their search with enthusiasm, but concentrate on the particular niche where the discovery was made. In this way, new food-source bulletins are continually disseminated thought the company.
So many eyes provide extra notice of danger as well. The first chickadee to spot a predator gives a warning note and then whole flock freezes, then utters thin, ventriloquial notes. The predator, confused by the disembodied calls coming from every direction and no direction, is typically unable to initiate a hunt. When it moves on , an "all's well" note brings the flock bak to life.

Birders scrutinize fall and winter chickadee flocks, knowing that other species, such as titmice, nuthatches, kinglets, warblers, and creepers, often travel with them. While the accompanying birds may not swan to tap into the food information system, they appear to benefit from the predator-defence.