Birds of the Week # 30

Carolina Chickadee

The Carolina Chickadee (Poecile carolinensis) is a small passerine bird in the tit family Paridae. They nest in a hole in a tree; the pair excavates the nest, using a natural cavity or sometimes an old woodpecker nest. They may interbreed with black-capped chickadees where the ranges overlap, which can make identification difficult. The female will build the nest out of moss and strips of bark; she will then line it with hair or plant fibers. Clutches are usually made up of 3–10 eggs with an incubation period of 12–16 days. The nestling period is usually 16–19 days. 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.

Brown Thrasher

The Brown Thrasher (Toxostoma rufum) is a bird in the family Mimidae, which also includes the New World catbirds and mockingbirds. The similar-looking long-billed thrasher has a significantly smaller range It has a gray head and neck, and has a longer bill than the brown thrasher. The brown thrasher’s appearance is also strikingly similar to the wood thrush, the bird that it is usually mistaken for. However, the wood thrush has dark spots on its under parts rather than the brown thrashers’ streaks, has dark eyes, shorter tail, a shorter, straighter bill (with the head generally more typical of a thrush) and is a smaller bird. The brown thrasher resides in various habitats. It prefers to live in woodland edges, thickets and dense brush, often searching for food in dry leaves on the ground. It can also inhabit areas that are agricultural and near suburban areas, but is less likely to live near housing than other bird species. The brown thrasher often vies for habitat and potential nesting grounds with other birds, which is usually initiated by the males.

© HJ Ruiz – Avian101

8 thoughts on “Birds of the Week # 30

  1. I found the information that you provided interesting. I would not be able to differentiate between a Carolina Chickadee or a Black-capped Chickadee unless their songs are different, but even then I suspect it wouldn’t be easy. It is the brown Thrush that I have seen in Alberta.

    • The line between this two birds is so thin that it’s better to consider which areas they live to call them by their names known there. Thank you, Jane. Great question! 🙂

  2. Loved your chickadee pics! We have black-capped around here, and I see from the previous comments that they are hard to tell apart. I think of chickadees as so loyal–they can always be counted on to brighten up a day!

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