A few weeks ago I wrote about putting up two bluebird nestboxes at our Wisconsin cabin in “Putting Up Eastern Bluebird Nestboxes“. I couldn’t wait to come back and see who might have moved in!
We came back up two weeks later and checked out the boxes. The first one clearly had a new resident, but it wasn’t a bluebird. After a little investigation on the sialis.org website, I figured out it was a black-capped chickadee nest. Not a bluebird but definitely a keeper!
Black-Capped Chickadee nests can take up to 2 weeks to build. The base layer is coarse material like moss, pine needles or bark.
Then it’s lined with softer materials like animal fur, downy plant fibers or feathers. The nest cup is about 1 inch deep and found towards the back. Sometimes they can even cover the cup to hide the eggs as they are being laid.
We left for a couple of weeks, so very curious what we’d come back to…
Six little tiny eggs were in nest box #1! These little eggs are only about 2/3 in x 1/2 inch in size and typically 6-8 are laid. They are laid 1 per day, and then the female lays on them starting the day before the last one so they all hatch within 24 hours. Incubation lasts 12-13 days.
Box #2 looks ready for eggs, but nothing yet. But boy was I fooled! I went back to check on them the next day and this is what I found…
There must have been a little nest plug over them when I peeked in the day before. She’s going to have her work cut out for her with all those eggs.
Depending when I get back, I may or may not check on them again. The hatchlings will spend almost 2 weeks in the nest being fed mostly by the male at first, and then equally by the male and female as they get older. They typically fledge on day 16, but they are very prone to early fledging if disturbed after day 11. I definitely don’t want to do that!
On one visit I had a little fun sneaking up on the #1 nestbox. It’s always a good idea to tap on the house when checking, otherwise you might get a bird right in the face 🙂
Then off she went to a nearby tree to tsk me.