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Flocking behavior

Posted by on in Attracting and feeding wild birds
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It is a little early to start thinking about winter bird feeding and behavior, especially with the Texas heat, where I live, still in the 90's.  But as a precursor here is one thing to look for.  Over-wintering warblers and woodpeckers will also hang around the fringe of the chickadee/titmice flocks.

During winter, chickadees and titmice may flock together and are often seen flitting back and forth from cover to your feeders at the same time. Titmice, which are larger than chickadees, dominate certain feeding niches chickadees might otherwise occupy. But the advantages of being part of a flock may compensate the chickadees for loss of feeding area.

b2ap3_thumbnail_chickadee.jpg

Flocking advantages include having more than one pair of eyes to locate dwindling winter food supplies. The death rate due to predation may also decline when birds flock together. Because most trees have lost their leaves, the woods are more open in winter, making these birds more vulnerable to predation. Flocking birds also share responsibility for predator alerts. Once an alarm call is given, the flock will often engage in a behavior known as “mobbing”. Instead of fleeing, the birds will gather together and harass the predator. Titmice seem to be particularly bold in their attacks and will dive at the predator or pull at its feathers or fur.

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