2018 50¢ Birds in Winter: Black-Capped Chickadee
Value: 50¢ 1-ounce First-Class Rate (Forever)
Issue Date: September 22, 2018
First Day City: Quechee, VT
Type of Stamp: Definitive
Printed by: Banknote Corporation of America
Printing Method: Offset
Format: Double-sided booklet of 20
Quantity Printed: 400,000,000
The black-capped chickadee is an inquisitive and cute half-ounce ball of feathers. The black-capped chickadee is easily identified by the black cap on top of its head, black bib and bill, white cheeks, gray wings, and white body. The chickadee's sweet nature and tiny stature have helped earn it a place in the hearts of many North Americans.
Chickadees are more than just cute, they also have a great memory. Throughout the summer, the birds store food all over their territory to eat during the cold winter. Chickadees can remember thousands of different hiding spots. While their food reserves grow, so do their brains. The part of the chickadee's brain known as the hippocampus grows in size during late summer and early autumn to accommodate its new memories. When chickadees don't need to remember their hiding places anymore, their brains shrink back down.
Being able to grow and shrink their brains is just one way chickadees have adapted to survive the harsh winters of North America. They can also regulate their body temperature. In order to conserve energy at night, chickadees can drop their body temperatures to almot hypothermic levels. This helps them survive during even the coldest nights. During the day, chickadees eat as much as possible – often over 10% of their body weight. At night, their bodies burn the extra calories to help keep them warm.
The black-capped chickadee is a robust and hardy species with adaptations that help it handle the winter months with ease. They never have to migrate, and many bird enthusiasts enjoy seeing them in their yards all year-round.