Ricky and Lucy Chickadee Are Expecting Babies!

It’s been a week since I last looked in the chickadee nest box.  It’s a bit early for chickadees to be laying eggs and incubating, but with the early spring anything is possible.  My Black-capped Chickadee couple, Ricky and Lucy, seemed ready and anxious to start their family.  A week ago that nest appeared just about complete.

Today I approached the box calling for Ricky and Lucy and tapped the side of the box.  No bird exited.  I lifted the side panel to expose the nest and took a side view picture.  There was no evidence that a bird was in the box.  I secured the side panel and when I lifted the panel on top of the box…OUT FLEW LUCY!  She perched nearby and scolded me.  Fee bee bee!  Fee bee bee!  Fee bee bee!  And then Ricky came flying over from the nearby field.  Boy!  Now I was in trouble!  I snapped a few photos, secured the top panel and moved away.  Ricky and Lucy flew away and I did not see a bird re-enter the box.  Now that they are firmly committed to the box, it’s not likely a little peek inside the box will be enough to make them abandon the nest.

I found 6 eggs in the nest.  It appears that Lucy laid the first egg on Tuesday, April 3 and laid one every morning since.  Chickadees generally lay from 6-8 eggs and begin incubating the day before the last egg is laid.  Lucy is apparently incubating now, so I expect there will be no more eggs in the clutch.  Lucy will incubate her eggs for 12-13 days.

Hopefully Lucy is snug in her nest tonight and will be happily incubating her clutch this week until I check up on her again.


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4 Responses to Ricky and Lucy Chickadee Are Expecting Babies!

  1. denny says:

    Question?/ When the eggs hatch do the chickadee remove the shells to outside of the nesting box. During viewing with binoculars I see parents exiting with something white in their mouths.

    • The parents will remove the shells and also the female may eat the shells. This restores calcium to her body that she lost during the egg laying.

      Very likely what you may be seeing is a parent removing a “fecal sac”. When nestlings eliminate waste in the nest, the feces are covered with a membrane that allows the parent to remove it. It is white and looks like the bird is flying off with a little marshmallow.

      The adults will deposit spent egg shells and fecal sacs far away from the nest site so they don’t alert predators that there is a nest with vulnerable young.

  2. Haha.. good news! Hope you will find some other way to have a peek inside next week! We should certainly not disturb them when the babies arrive.

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