Thursday, March 17, 2011

The chickadees must be Irish 'cause they paint their nest green

The Carolina Chickadees are ready to produce the next generation of their kind and I am convinced they are Irish, because they love the green so much that they insist their babies are born to it.


They build their nest entirely of soft green moss. They've taken over not one but two of my bluebird boxes for the purpose. The bluebirds returned too late to find the chickadees already in possession of the boxes.


The nest is all green moss except for the very top where the eggs, and later chicks, nestle. For that, the chickadees find the softest material available - in this case, cat fur! Yes, I have two cats that live in my backyard, and at this time of year, whenever they groom themselves and leave tufts of fur behind, it is grabbed by nesting birds as soon as it hits the ground. The chickadees and titmice especially prize it. (And, no, these cats are no danger to birds or other wildlife.) The little eggs, as you can see here, are smaller than my fingernails. They are just about the size of a large sugar snap pea. It's hard to believe that fully-formed birds will emerge from them in a couple of weeks. There are five eggs already in the nest, but the little female may not be finished. These birds sometimes lay as many as eight eggs. Maybe that accounts for the fact that my yard is overrun with chickadees!

My little chickadees and I wish you a happy St. Patrick's Day from my very green yard.

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