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PROWLS cares for a six-pack of chestnut-backed chickadees

Chestnut-backed chickadee

A nest box in a yard on Redonda Avenue fell from the tree and broke open, revealing six tiny just-hatched nestlings. With six gaping beaks hungry to be filled, the homeowner called Powell River Orphaned Wildlife Society (PROWLS) for help.

The peeping babies were too young to be identified, but within a few days, feathers came in, definitely indicating chestnut-backed chickadees. In four days they grew to three times their arrival size, being fed every 10 minutes as they clustered closely together in a crocheted nest, but were still relatively tiny.

Soon they moved into a small cage, and then, when stronger, flying and picking up their own food, into a larger cage.

After two and a half weeks, they were released by Haslam Lake, where they would easily find other foraging flocks of nuthatches, kinglets and other chickadees moving through the tall conifers.

They are gleaners, hopping through trees and shrubs, often starting low down and working their way up to the top, then dropping low into a nearby tree. Picking insects and seeds from bark and twigs, they sometimes hover to reach items or dart out like a flycatcher to catch insects in motion.

Being so tiny and fragile, and requiring a special diet, chestnut-backed chickadees are considered a difficult species to rescue.

PROWLS is delighted to have succeeded so well.