Monday, April 1, 2013

Carolina Chickadee

Sharp demarkation between the black throat and white breast, relatively uniform gray wings without frosty white feather edges, and a northern Virginia location all add up to Carolina Chickadee (see my post of 17 January 2012). Only 40 to 60 percent of chickadees survive the winter, when they form territorial flocks. In the spring, dominant males and females breed within these territories. Non-nesting birds are either forced off the territory or remain as non-breeding “floaters,” ready to take the places of deceased breeders (Mostrom et al. 2002). The red splotch behind the chickadee in the lower photo is a fleeing Northern Cardinal (not seen by me when I took the picture).

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