Written by an area Landscape Architect and birdwatcher with over 30 years of experience with landscaping in north Texas: what works and what doesn't. Emphasis on attracting birds to north Texas yards, and reducing required yard maintenance. Tips, trivia and proven advice for a natural, low-cost approach for this unique and sensitive part of the country.
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Sunday, February 22, 2015
What's a "pile" of chickadees, and why should you care?
cool nights, chickadees (the ones in north Texas are Carolina Chickadees) sleep
together in a pile to conserve and share body heat. This way, they stay alive to propogate. Normally this takes place
in a hollowed tree, or brushpile, but could be in an artificial “roost” you set
up (a roost could be a variety of cozy places, such as an unused birdhouse or
any other place that offers some protection from the winds, weather and
predators). Other birds seek out roosts too - but chickadees are known for
“piling” in the winter and cool spring nights.
probably never see a true Black-capped Chickadee here. Ours is a
different species called Carolina Chickadee. It has a black cap too – hence the
confusing names. The term ‘Carolina’ stems from the late 1700s when everything
west of each of the original states was informally earmarked for that state’s
future expansion. So things in north Texas were ‘Carolina’.
Insect eaters like good fruit, too
insect-eating birds (in north Texas that’s Robins, Mockingbirds, Kinglets, Orioles,
Thrashers etc.) will turn into fruit eaters whenever insects aren’t abundant. Insects
aren’t around in cooler weather, and fruit (typically in the form of berries)
gives them the energy they need. They may even try fresh seeds when they’re
OWEN YOST, in addition
to being a blogger, is a licensed Landscape Architect emeritus who has lived
and worked in north Texas for over 30 years. He is the recipient of a Lifetime
Achievement Award of the Native Plant Society of Texas, and is a member of the
American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA), International Federation of
Landscape Architects, National Wildlife Federation and the Audubon Society. His
office is at Yost87@charter.net in Denton.