Date: 1/2/21 5:48 am
From: david merker <buteojamaica...>
Subject: [VTBIRD] January Chickadee Challenge
How many you got? The Black-capped Chickadee is one of the trickiest birds to count. Chickadee flock size varies from five or six to more than a dozen, and each flock seems to wander through its winter range along a route, taking it through the best areas several times a day. The routes of more than one flock may intersect at quality feeders.

People in remote northern forests may have non-stop chickadee activity all day ó because several different flocks are visiting. People in good suburban habitat with many feeding stations may see a flurry of chickadee activity every couple of hours but no chickadees the rest of the time, indicating that only one or two flocks are coming by.

Itís hard to see more than a few chickadees at any feeder at one time ó each one keeps coming and going. Unlike many birds, chickadees never dine side by side. Chickadees are reserved, each waiting its turn at the smorgasbord, then taking a small serving off to eat in seclusion before returning for seconds. How can you possibly count them?

Best way and most accurate way is to find a bird bander who will band as many chickadees as possible! So the challenge is to try to count your chickadees and post a number! I will band all the chickadees coming to my station and at the end of the month provide you with a number to compare your estimated count! (often amazing) Six banded so far and a few holdovers from previous years...

Counting chickadees is tricky but fun; itís also useful in providing more accurate data for Christmas Bird Counts and fall and winter eBirding. And most of us will discover we have way more chickadees than we thought, gratifying evidence that our chickadees can count on us.

This info was in the November/December 2019 issue of BirdWatching magazine.

David Merker
Etna, New Hampshire
Cape May Raptor Banding Project Inc.<>

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