|A Carolina Chickadee was busy gleaning insects from brush along the trail. He was also plucking seeds from the spent flower heads. Now and then he would fly off, no doubt to hide the seeds in one of his winter food caches.|
Click here for an older post called "Titmice and chickadees cache food for winter survival" to read more about this unique ability. Chickadees have larger spatial memories than non-caching birds, and the extra brain cells (which become more numerous during the autumn) help them keep track of the seeds they hide. For an article from Lehigh University that explains how this works in a little more detail, click here. In the article, Colin Saldanha talks about how the bird's hippocampus expands by about 30% in autumn due to the creation of new nerve cells. In the spring, the chickadee's hippocampus returns to normal size.
|Chickadees work hard in autumn to gather and store seeds and nuts in winter food caches to help them survive the long, cold, and grey (yikes!) winter. White-breasted Nuthatches, Blue Jays, and Tufted Titmice also stash food for the winter.|
|Green is still king along the Little Miami Trail, but it better get ready to abdicate the throne, because yellow, gold, and red are ready to take over!|