SF Bay Chickadee Nesting Box Webcam 2023 Season

Go to 2024 season web page

The bird nesting box is in my suburban back yard on the San Francisco Bay south peninsula. In this photo, a chestnut-backed chickadee is roosting quietly with her beak tucked under her wing.

Sleeping Chickadee

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Chestnut-backed chickadees live on the west coast of North America from Alaska to Southern California. They are common in parks and suburbs of the San Francisco Bay Area, where I have this backyard nesting box.

The female builds the nest, starting with a foundation of redwood bark strips torn from a nearby tree and whatever fluffy material she can find nearby, such as flower filaments and cotton pulled from old furniture.

When ready, she lays one egg each night until she has a clutch of five or six. When she starts incubating them, she goes outside only to eat and drink. Her mate sometimes brings her food.

After 2 weeks of incubation, the first egg hatches. Initially the chicks are blind but not deaf. Both parents feed them frequently, chirping to let them know when food has arrived. The nestlings grow quickly and fledge about 3 weeks after hatching.

Spring 2023 chickadee nesting timeline:

  • Nest building started March 30
  • Night roosting started April 1
  • Egg laying started April 13
  • Nest abandoned with 6 eggs for unknown reasons April 19

  • Nest building restarted April 24: Nesting material brought in, up to 200 trips per day
  • Night roosting started April 25: Daytime away, nights on nest
  • Egg laying restarted April 30: Daytime away, nights on nest; 1 egg laid per day
  • Incubation May 4-17: Most of day and all night on nest
  • Hatching: May 17-18: Most of day and all of night spent on nest
  • Fledging: June 9: Young fly away from the nest

    Spring 2022 (last year's) chickadee nest timeline:

  • Nest building Mar 4-9
  • Roosting starts Mar 9
  • Egg laying Mar 21-26
  • Incubation Mar 26 - Apr 9
  • Hatching Apr 8-9
  • Fledging May 1

  • New nest building: May 19-21
  • Egg laying: May 27-30 (4 eggs)
  • Incubation started: May 25
  • Hatching: June 12 (2 eggs hatched)
  • Nestlings died: June 22 & 25

  • I think last year's late-season nesting attempt failed because of the drought. There was not enough food to be found to keep the 4 nestlings fed and hydrated. They did better this year with the abundant rain, foliage, and insects.

    Time lapse video, chickadee nest building, feeding, and fledging in 4 minutes

    Spring 2021 chickadee timeline:

  • Nest building Mar 6-16
  • Roosting starts Mar 28
  • Egg laying Apr 5-10
  • Incubation Apr 10-23
  • Hatching Apr 23-24
  • Growing Apr 24-27
  • Care crisis Apr 27-29

  • Nest building May 3-6
  • Egg laying May 10-13
  • Incubation May 12-26
  • Hatching May 25-27
  • Growing May 26 - June 16
  • Fledging June 16-17

  • You can view previous season activity below.

    © 2023 Gray Chang
    SFBayNestCam [at] gmail [dot] com