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Flowers, Fruits, and Frass

Local and statewide information on a variety of current topics for home gardeners and market growers.
chickadee

How many caterpillars does a Chickadee need?

Posted by Kelly Allsup - Bugs

This spring, if you live in North America, put up a chickadee nest box in your yard. If you are lucky, a pair of chickadees will move in and raise a family. While they are feeding their young, watch what the chickadees bring to the nest: mostly caterpillars. Both parents take turns feeding the chicks, enabling them to bring a caterpillar to the nest once every three minutes. And they do this from 6 a.m. until 8 p.m. for each of the 16 to 18 days it takes the chicks to fledge. That's a total of 350 to 570 caterpillars every day, depending on how many chicks they have. So, an incredible 6,000 to 9,000 caterpillars are required to make one clutch of chickadees." Doug Tallamy

Photo by Master Naturalist Deanna Frautschi


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