Exploring Nature: Winter Birds

The Carolina chickadee is a small, acrobatic bird that is about five and one-half inches long. PHOTO BY ANDY MORFFEW

By far the most numerous birds in our area these winter days are chickadees and titmice. I have them year round and right now the titmice are particularly abundant, mixing it up with visiting goldfinches to retrieve seeds from my backyard feeders.

We are fortunate to have the black-crested variety of titmice in our area. It is distinguished by a tall black crest and is found only in the eastern part of Texas. It is about six inches long, mostly gray in color, with rusty patches on its flanks.

Our chickadee is the Carolina variety, a small, acrobatic bird that is sometimes seen hanging upside down on a tree limb, looking for insects. Its beak is not powerful enough to easily crack a sunflower seed, so it has to hold the seed beneath its foot and hammer it open with a short, stubby bill. I’ve seen a few skillful birds peck open the seed right on the metal lip of the tube feeder for greater efficiency.

The Carolina chickadee is about five and one-half inches long, slightly smaller than the black-capped chickadee found in more northern states.

Keep an eye out and chances are good you’ll spot one of these birds at your feeder.

San Marcos Daily Record

(512) 392-2458
P.O. Box 1109, San Marcos, TX 78666