Thursday, March 14, 2013

This Day in Birds

We have been noticing bird activity more and more recently, especially since setting up a bird feeder right outside the back door. Birds are amazing and diverse, and it's incredible to hear the variety in the sounds they make. Here are a few visitors we have seen at our feeder so far:

Carolina Chickadee

This bird is so adorably small and puffy, and I love the severity of its little black hat. This bird means business at the feeder, but always keeps an eye out for any party crashers.

Wikipedia Fun Fact:
Carolina chickadees are able to lower their body temperatures to induce an intentional state of hypothermia called torpor. They do this to conserve energy during extremely cold winters. In extremely cold weather conditions they look for cavities where they can hide in and spend up to fifteen hours at a time in torpor; during this time they are awake but unresponsive; they should not be picked up and handled at this time, as the stress of being held may cause their death.

Tufted Titmouse

This guy distinguishes himself through his amazing triangle-shaped mohawk, and is always scaring off the chickadee. They seem like they always visit together, though, so they may formed a mixed-species flock.

Wikipedia Fun Fact:
Tufted Titmice nest in a hole in a tree, either a natural cavity or sometimes an old woodpecker nest. They line the nest with soft materials, sometimes plucking hair from a live animal such as a dog. If they find shed snake skin, they will try to incorporate pieces of it in their nest.

Maybe there is a titmouse nest somewhere with Kubla's hair lining!

The Pileated Woodpecker doesn't bother with our bird feeder, but it's always shocking to see it and realize that this bird is pretty big! He's no raven but he's no phoebe, either, and he spends his day smashing his face into solid wood looking for food. Check out this cool footage of the pileated woodpecker close up:

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