Saga of the Carolina Chickadees

March 31, 2014  •  3 Comments

Every year, the Carolina Chickadees try to build a nest in one of our boxes. And, every year, their efforts are thwarted. The species that takes over is the Eurasian Tree Sparrow. Enough is enough! We had seen this type of PVC tube nest in Doug Tallamy's presentation. Dan found the design for it on the Cornell website. He recycled some PVC that we had to make this one.

According to Doug, chickadees feed their young entirely on caterpillars, and I want to help document that. Plus, we want to give the 'home team' a chance! The ETS (Eurasian Tree Sparrows) are an introduced species, not native here. And so the saga begins.

The box is filled with wood shavings and the pair work together in bursts of effort, removing the shavings to the right level for their mossy nest. 

They carry it in different directions, and let loose the debris.

One (the female?) inspects and the mate brings in a special treat.

This is all part of the pair-bonding process between them. They are usually monogamous.

She accepts his gift and his fervor is increased! He feverishly gets back to business.

OH, NO!!! Please, not again!!!     To be continued...


Oh dear! You are capturing some great action shots here! Go team Chickadee!
chris kelley(non-registered)
So very beautiful Margy. What a lovely respite for me to see this when we are so tired and overwhelmed with readying ourselves for opening! Thanks to you and the wonderful information on chickadees. If I find some time, I will build tube nests also and we can compare notes. Right now my bubbler is off, it needs cleaned badly. Hope to get it done one morning this week. Chris
Very fun! Your photos are amazing, and do a great job of illustrating this fascinating story.
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