Wild Birds Unlimited Newsletter
~ For those passionate about birding and nature ~
September 2017                                                                                              Volume 9.17
Nature News

High Desert Bird of the Month
Mountain Chickadee

BOM: Mountain Chickadee
Scientific name: Poecile gambeli 

Like all chickadees, the Mountain Chickadee has striking black-and-white markings on the head and gray elsewhere. The white stripe over the eye identifies Mountain Chickadees from all other chickadees. They are tiny, large-headed birds with small bills, with a long, narrow tail and full, rounded wings.
The Mountain Chickadee is found in the dry, mountainous forests of the West. The similar Black-capped Chickadee often occurs along streams and in broad-leaved trees, while Mountain Chickadees stick to the evergreens on higher slopes.
They are common across most of the evergreen forests of Western mountains, particularly pine, mixed conifer, spruce-fir, and pinyon-juniper forests. Mountain Chickadees use conifers heavily, typically leaving deciduous stands to the Black-capped Chickadee. The exception is in nesting, when Mountain Chickadees will seek out any available aspen trees for their soft, easily excavated wood.
Mountain Chickadees eat protein-rich insects and spiders during warm months, supplementing them with seeds and nuts as available. They come to bird feeders all year round. Many kinds of insects are eaten, including beetles, caterpillars, wasp larvae, aphids, and leafhoppers, as well as hard-to-reach scale insects and fly larvae hidden in plant galls. In fall and winter, seeds of montane pine species are very important.
Energetic models suggest that a half-ounce chickadee needs to eat about 10 calories per day to survive. That's equivalent to about one-twentieth of an ounce of peanut butter. 
For more information on Mountain Chickadees, visit one of the three Moana Nursery store locations: 1100 W. Moana Ln. & 11301 S. Virginia St., Reno and 7644 Pyramid Hwy., Sparks.
Carmel Ruiz-Hilton is Manager of Wild Birds Unlimited Nature Shops at Moana Nursery in Reno/Sparks

Fun Facts About 

- Chickadees are found across much of North America. The more common species include the Black-capped, Carolina and Mountain Chickadees.
- Chickadees are easily identified by their namesake call "chick-a-dee."
- They are inquisitive and found in wooded areas.
- Chickadee's wing beats are about 27 times per second. This compares to a hummingbird's 80 beats per second.
- Mountain Chickadees do a lot of foliage gleaning, looking around branches and leaves for insects, beetles, larvae and spiders. They enjoy seeds and will readily visit feeders.
- In early summer, Mountain Chickadees are able to find and use seeds they hid during the previous autumn.
- Chickadees are generally monogamous, mating for life.
- They are cavity nesters. They will excavate their own nest site in a rotten or decaying wood, use an old woodpecker hole or use a nesting box. (Mountain chickadee may not excavate its own hole and will nest under rock in a bank or in a hole in the ground.) They add a cozy nest on a moss base.
- Usually chickadees lay six to eight white eggs with a light reddish-brown speckling.
- They hatch in about 12 days and fledge about 21 days later.
- Research has shown that while chickadees are regular visitors to feeders, over 75 - 80% of their winter food supply still comes from natural sources.
- Chickadees are a tough little bird that do not migrate. During cold weather chickadees have been found to need twenty times more food than they do in summer.
- When the temperature falls below 10º F, research has shown that the survival rate of chickadees almost doubled when they had access to feeders. This resulted in an overall higher winter survival rate of 69% versus a 37% survival rate for populations without access to feeders.
- Chickadees have excellent coping tactics for surviving harsh winter weather. They cache foods and remember where they are hidden, have dense winter coats, diligently find excellent, well-insulated roosting cavities and can perform a regulated hypothermia to conserve energy overnight.
- Have you noticed how ravenously the birds eat at your bird feeders, especially first thing in the morning and just before dusk? Chickadees can gain as much as 10% of their body weight each day and lose it all again during a cold winter night.
- Chickadees are able to perform a controlled hypothermia at night to drop their body temperature about 12-15°F lower than their normal day-time temperature. This allows them to conserve about 25% of their energy every hour at freezing temperatures.
- They like to eat seeds, suet and even coconut.
- Chickadees weigh less than half an ounce.
- Mountain Chickadee longest living was 10 years and 1 month.

Wild Birds Unlimited Freshest Bird Seed in Town!
Red Hot Suet Prices Sept 1-15!
2405017781 - Suet Stackable No Melt Naturally Nuts - Reg 3.99 / Sale 2.99
2405018246 - Suet Cake No Melt Nuts and Berry /-Reg 3.49 / Sale 2.49

Trouble With Squirrels and Blackbirds?

Birds Love It, Critters Don't

We added a little spice to the bird food that is enjoyed by more than 140 different bird species. Our exclusive Jim's Birdacious® Hot Pepper Bark Butter® Bits are great for attracting birds, including many that do not normally visit feeders, and deterring squirrels and other critters.
To discover which birds are in your backyard, offer Bark Butter Bits in a tray, seed tube or hopper feeder. Also, try mixing them in with your existing foods to attract more birds!

Advanced Pole Bird Feeding Systems

Our exclusive, patented Advanced Pole System® (APS) Basic Setup is the perfect beginning to your ultimate bird feeding and/or watering station designed to meet your own individual needs.

Just twist the 4-foot base pole into the ground using the convenient corkscrew auger. Next slide the Stabilizer onto the base pole and push into the ground (Tests show the stabilizer holds the pole straight in up to 35 MPH wind gusts). Add the extension pole and arms and top it with the decorative finial; then fill and hang your bird feeders.


  • 48in base pole
  • 48in extension pole
  • double crook arm
  • two-piece large stabilizer
  • chickadee finial

Also, be sure to shop through our other bird feeding supplies to complement all your bird feeding needs.

(Feeders and bird food not included.)

Upcoming Events

Lahontan Audubon Society
Friday, September 8
Field Trip - Little Washoe Lake & Washoe Lake
Saturday, September 16
Field Trip - Rancho San Rafael Bird Walk
Tuesday, September 19
Birds & Books: THE HIDDEN LIVES OF OWLS, by Leigh Calvez.
Friday, September 22
Field Trip - Pyramid Lake
Tuesday, September 26
Program Meeting - Nevada Wildlife Action Plan by the NDOW, by Jennifer Newmark

Animal Ark

On the Wind Cheetah Run
September 10 @ 5:00 pm - 6:30 pm
Reservations required due to limited seating. RSVP at 1-775-970-3431 Majestic balloons grace the skyline at dawn, and our cheetahs race into the sunset! Come see the world's fastest land mammal in action running at top speeds - completely off-leash - around the Animal Ark run field! Event prices: Adults $40; Seniors $35; Children (8-16 years old) $30.
"Eye of the Tiger" Painting with Pinot's Palette
September 23 @ 12:00 pm - 2:00 pm
Join us for a brand-new event with Pinot's Palette - An artist from Pinot's Palette will come out to Animal Ark and teach you how to paint a Tiger! The painting class includes all supplies and you keep your painting. Admission includes snacks and beverages, painting class and admission to Animal Ark to see the animals!
Paws and Claws
September 24 @ 1:30 pm - 6:00 pm
Reserve early before this event sells out! RSVP by phone at 1-775-970-3431 or purchase on-line below. View Animal Ark's animals, enjoy themed hors d'oeuvres, and meet an array of wildlife experts. An open bar, plated dinner, silent and live auctions add to the fun! Wrap up the evening watching Animal Ark's cheetahs run at top speeds in an extraordinary display.
Nature Happenings
* Watch for Common Nighthawks hunting over open ground for flying insects in the late afternoon light.
* Hummingbirds are active at feeders and at flowers, sourcing protein from spiders and insects and sipping nectar for sugars.
* Male hummingbirds start their southbound migration this month, averaging 20 miles a day to wintering grounds in Central America and Mexico. Females head south later and juveniles will stay around until early October.
* Many of our summer visitors have finished their nesting cycle and will begin their migration south.
* Male Black-headed Grosbeaks will disappear from the landscape as they begin their southern migration; females and juveniles will follow in the coming weeks.
* Bullock's Orioles, our summer visitors that love to chatter notes high and low, will begin to migrate south. * Perseids Meteor shower is mid-month.
* Daylilies are in bloom.
* Yellow jackets make paper-like nests.
* Migration begins. Keep feeders full with fresh food for "stopover" migrants.
* Pinon Jays, normally found exclusively in the pinon/juniper areas, gobble lots of seed at bird feeders.
* Geese, ducks, cranes, etc. usually fly in 'V' formation. The theory is that all but lead bird gain lift from wing-tipped vortices produced by lead bird.
 American Goldfinches finish nesting late this month.

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Moana Nursery | 1100 W. Moana Lane | 11301 S. Virginia St. | 7655 Pyramid Hwy. | Reno/Sparks | NV | 89509