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Saturday, December 27, 2014


This afternoon I watched some Chestnut-backed Chickadees (Poecile rufescens) feeding in pine trees near the Bodega Dunes campground.  Sometimes they extracted small seeds from the cones (see above, and next picture).

Other times, they pulled out the seed still embedded within the wing, and then landed elsewhere to extract the seed:

The chickadees worked really hard, occasionally wedging themselves in between cones.  It looked like they might have been using their feet to pry open the scales of the cones.

This was the object of their attention (next image).  The pine seed is within the dark area at the base of the wing.  I didn't time myself, but I'm guessing it took me quite a bit longer than a chickadee to find a seed: 

I've always struggled to get pictures of Chestnut-backed Chickadees.  Today it was fun to observe them feeding and to think about their seed-finding and extraction strategies.

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