Outdoor Radio: Chickadees At Your Feeder

Dec 31, 2015

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.

"Every year, as it gets cold out and they start storing seed, they're literally creating a brain map in the hippocampus." — Kent McFarland

For more information on Black-capped Chickadees, check out these sites:

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.