Chickadee-dee-dee!

One of our most well-known birds in North America—the black-capped chickadee—does something pretty remarkable. Throughout summer and fall, chickadees can store thousands or even tens of thousands of food items. Chickadees hide all that secret grub—a thousand bits of beetle, bug, fruit, seed—behind birch bark, under lichen, between spruce needles.

And that’s not the most amazing thing. During winter, when food is scarce, chickadees survive quite nicely by remembering where they stashed all that food. How? Scientists discovered that the memory part of the brain—the hippocampus—actually grows over 30% in the fall. So, when finding food on a frigid day in January means life or death, chickadees will remember where they cached the food.

That’s some bird brain!

It makes my day as a nonfiction author to dig deep into the research and find these wonderful examples of scientific discovery. To be able to share it with readers is icing on the cake!

2 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

2 responses to “Chickadee-dee-dee!

  1. Amazing! Well, that knocks the term “bird brain” in the head…now, it will be a complement.
    I’m loving being in Florida right now, and amazed at the bird brains down here. This morning I watched two cormorants have an argument atop a light pole on a pier. An intelligent argument!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s