The Black-capped Chickadee is a nonmigratory, northern resistant passerine, with many survival techniques to endure the northern climates. They are known to lower their body temperatures by up to 12 degrees celsius during the cold winter nights by fluffing their feathers and keeping heat near the body. This method allows the chickadee to stay well insulated in sub zero temperatures. This ability enables the Black-capped to reside in the northern climates year round with the energy to continue feeding throughout the year. Having a great spatial memory, this bird is well known to cache food for weeks, in multiple random places, to feed on later. These two practices alone make this bird a long term northern survivor.
This chickadee is found throughout the northern states and across Canada extending northwards into parts of the Yukon and Northwest Territories. It lives in all types of forest in very healthy numbers and is a very common resident in urban places. While building its nest inside tree hollows, this small bird typically lays 6-8 white; spotted with reddish brown eggs and incubates them for 13 days. Just a few short weeks after hatching, the chicks fledge.
The Black-capped Chickadee is a very social bird and travels with members of the same species, along with other individuals, creating mixed flocks. It is very common for people to hand feed this bird in places where they are accustomed to human presence. This makes the chickadee a great bird to practice bird photography with and to become familiar with the other common birds usually travelling with the black-cap. This photo was taken on the Confederation Trail in Cardigan, PEI, Canada where they live in very high numbers.
The Bald Eagle continues to fly our North American skies as the top predator in the avian world. Being found in many native tales, this giant bird has meaning to anyone who has given a moment to marvel at it's presence. As a national emblem in the US since 1782, the Bald Eagle has been persecuted to endangerment by human hunting and pesticides, but has since found stability in numbers and expansion in range. It was removed from the List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife in the Lower 48 States on June 28, 2007.
Being a very skilled hunter this bird will dine on both fish and mammals but always has a strong scent aimed on easy meals, such as carrion, or robbing others of their hard earned kill. The eagle has been observed hunting in pairs using a flushing method to achieve success. While one bird flushes prey out of hiding, the other will pursue it staying undetected and make the kill. Eagles are a fascinating creature to observe hunting either on land or at sea, always exerting dominance into each movement as they push closer to their prey. From the remarkable bone crushing power in the talons to the flesh ripping strength in their large beak, this raptor fears nothing in it's realm and has all the tools for survival.
When eagles are hunting, they prefer very large coniferous or deciduous trees with a wide open view to perch on while surveying. They have been noted to sit and scan for hours in the same tree before locking eyes on their victim or moving onward to another location. Eagles will also dine on much larger prey than they can actually carry away and will revisit a site numerous times to devour a meal. When food is scarce, eagles can go without eating for days and even weeks until food is more abundant again.
Nests are used for decades by the same family and continue to be repaired and enlarged the longer they are still standing and inhabited. The biggest eagle nest recorded to date was measured at 2.9 meters in diameter and 6.1 meters tall in Florida. Searching the nest tree's bottom will always produce a great deal of sign to what the nest users have been preying on. It is not uncommon to find a bounty of skeletons, of different sorts, and items such as domestic pet collars and other domestic animal accessories. For example, one birth study group found 9 cat collars in the bottom of the nest during their routine investigations in Sackville, New Brunswick, Canada.
The multitude of behaviors in these powerful birds is reason to take every opportunity provided and watch to learn. From the raising of their young to the mating displays in flight, the Bald Eagle's lifeline is a miraculous study and full of lessons for the teachable mind.
Robbie P. Gallant
As a naturalist, I spend a great amount of time in personal study. Discussion and research is key to exploring new and intelligent ideas and furthering our understanding of our natural surroundings.