I was pleased today to learn the true identity of the birds nesting in one of the PVC nest boxes in our back yard. I had posted the below photo on my FB page on Saturday, after I was convinced it was a Tufted Titmouse nest. Two small speckled eggs are hidden in the bottom of the nest, covered with what appears to be rabbit fur. I did wonder about the fact I hadn’t seen any birds around the box, but that’s not always unusual since they often come and go quickly and discreetly to avoid drawing predators to the nest.
Today when I checked on the nest, the fur was pulled back and the eggs were visible. And as I examined it, there was a Black-Capped Chickadee perched on the nearby Black Cherry tree. It was singing and chirping as only a chickadee does, so there was no mistaking its identity. Perhaps I was a bit hasty in my earlier ID of the nest? I went back in the house to do a little research, and decided it was likely a chickadee nest. That was confirmed when I went back out with my camera, and a startled chickadee flew out of the box!
At this point there are six tiny chickadee eggs in the nest. According to Sialis.Org, 6-8 eggs is the norm for Black-Capped Chickadees, though as many as 13 have been recorded. Incubation lasts for 12-13 days. It also mentions the egg covering behavior of the female after she leaves the nest. The nesting material serves as a blanket to help insulate the eggs. I’ll keep monitoring the next few days and share any developments. Hopefully the next news will be the successful hatching of the eggs.