Guess who shows up in 90% of our BirdCam pictures?
Not the Pine Siskins that everyone in Maryland is seeing at their feeders...
The photo hog in our feeder shots is the Carolina Chickadee. How this tiny bird (and his Northern cousin above) make it through the winter while other birds head for warmer climates is featured in the new issue of National Wildlife.
Chickadees, thanks to an assortment of adaptations, can brave harsh winters where other birds of the same size would not dare.
Its been known for some time that Chickadees cache food in hundreds of places and can recall the locations of each hiding spot. Chickadees also eat constantly during the daylight hours to reserve fat stores to survive long winter nights. Chickadees may also group together in communal nesting cavities to conserve heat.
Perhaps the most amazing Chickadee adaptation is the ability to lower its body temps up to 14 degrees Fahrenheit at night to save energy, allowing the birds to decrease their metabolic rates and burn fewer calories.
A whole new appreciation for the biggest chow hounds at our feeders....