This is the time of year when Black-capped Chickadees congregate at bird feeders, making their distinctive sound. These affable little birds are stashing away thousands of seeds for the winter.
This month on Outdoor Radio, biologists Sara Zahendra and Kent McFarland are at McFarland's feeder in Woodstock. They explain the unique adaptation that allows these birds to remember where they hide all those seeds.
"Every year," McFarland says, "as it gets cold out and they start storing seed, they're literally creating a brain map in the hippocampus."
This part of their brain actually grows by about 30 percent! We'll also learn about the hierarchy of Chickadee flocks and how to attract them to you when you're out in the woods.
For more information on Black-capped Chickadees, check out these sites:
- Vermont eBird map of Black-capped Chickadee range
- You can report your sightings too at Vermont Center For Ecostudies' Vermont eBird
- Cornell Lab Of Ornothology's All ABout Birds, "Black-capped Chickadee"
- Vermont Center For Ecostudies Vermont Breeding Bird Atlas, "Black-capped Chickadee"
For more about bird brains:
Outdoor Radio is produced in collaboration with the Vermont Center for Ecostudies. The program is recorded and produced by VPR's Chief Production Engineer Chris Albertine.