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Chickadee- AM-59 - History

Chickadee- AM-59 - History

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One of the tamest and most familiar of North American birds.

(AM-59: dp. 890 1. 221'2" b. 32'2"; dr. 10'9"; s. 18 k.;
cpl. 106; a; 3"; cl. Auk)

Chickadee (AM-59) was launched 20 July 1942 by Defoe Boat and Marine Works, Bay City, Mich., sponsored by Mrs. G. B. Coale commissioned 9 November 1942 Lieutenant commander G. Coale, USNR, in command; and reported to the Atlantic Fleet.

Between 15 February and 4 May 1943 Chickadee voyaged from Norfolk to Casablanca on convoy escort duty, then participated in an antisubmarine search and escorted coastwise convoys until 19 June. Chickadee
sailed out of Norfolk and New York as an escort for vessels sailing to Iceland or the Caribbean between 7 July 1943 and 2 March 1944.

Chickadee cleared Charleston, S.C., 7 April for Milford Haven, Wales, arriving 12 May. For the remainder of the month the minesweeper engaged in training exercises for the coming invasion of Europe. Arriving off Normandy 5 June 1944 Chickadee swept fire support channels into Baie de la Seine and throughout the various assault areas along the French coast. She performed her hazardous duties under enemy shore fire on several occasions, but escaped with only minor damage from shrapnel and no casualties. The ship assisted in the rescue of survivors from Ospreg (AM-56) and LST-188, and towed damaged LST-188 to safety.

Chickadee continued to operate off the coast of France, with frequent visits to British ports, until 1 August 1944 when she departed Plymouth for Naples. After arriving in Italian waters 12 August, she swept in Bonifacio Straits until 23 August when she sailed to Baie de la Cavalaire, France, for sweeping operations during the invasion of southern France. Between 29 August and 2 October she swept the harbor of Marseilles and conducted antisubmarine patrol off that port.

During October and November 1944 Chickadee carried out a visual search for mines south of San Remo, Italy, nnd, after a brief overhaul at Palermo, Sicily, returned to sweeping duty throughout the Mediterranean, operating out of Cannes, Niee, Leghorn, Palermo, Malta, and Corsica. On 31 May 1945 she cleared Oran, Algeria, for Norfolk, arriving 15 June.

After lengthy overhaul, Chickadee sailed from Norfolk 18 September 1945 for the Pacific, reaching San Pedro, Calif., 10 October. On 26 November she sailed for Astoria, Oreg., where she was placed out of commission in reserve 15 May 1946. Her classification was changed to MSF-59, 7 February 1955.

Chickadee received two battle stars for World War II service.


Black-capped Chickadee on the tip of a fence. 4041368 u00a9 Steven Melanson | Dreamstime.com

Chickadees (genus, Poecile ) are small birds, which live in woodlands throughout Canada, often visiting backyard birdfeeders. Both sexes have a dark cap and bib, which contrast against bright white cheeks. Chickadees do not migrate but spend the winter in small flocks foraging for insects and seeds. Social relationships in winter flocks follow a dominance hierarchy where high-ranking birds having preferential access to food. Other species of birds often join chickadee flocks, including nuthatches and woodpeckers .


Chickadee flocks break apart when spring arrives, when pairs occupy breeding territories. Birds nest in cavities that they excavate in soft or rotten wood. Females lay large clutches of 5-7 eggs the maximum clutch size reported for a chickadee is 13 eggs. Both parents contribute to feeding the nestlings with caterpillars and insects.


Chickadees are named for their distinctive "chick-a-dee" vocalization. This call is highly variable and communicates a bird's motivation upon detecting a new source of food or a predator. Most chickadees have a species-distinctive song given by breeding males, as well as a variety of other vocalizations, some of which are understood to be as complex as human language.

Range and Habitat

There are 7 species of chickadee in North America, 5 of which breed in Canada. Black-capped chickadees (Poecile atricapillus) live in woodlands throughout Canada, and regularly visit backyard birdfeeders. Mountain chickadees (P. gambeli) and chestnut-backed chickadees (P. rufescens) are found in western Canada. Boreal chickadees (P. hudsonicus) live in the boreal forest throughout Canada. Although gray-headed chickadees (P. cinctus) breed in extreme northern Yukon and Northwest Territories, their Canadian populations are very remote. Carolina chickadees (P. carolinensis) and Mexican chickadees (P. sclateri) are only found south of Canada.


Our understanding of genetic relationships within the tits (family, Paridae) has developed considerably with recent genetic studies. Formerly considered part of the same group, geneticists now distinguish the chickadee (genus, Poecile) from the titmouse (genus, Baeolophus) and various genera of European and Asian tits.

The First Ships of Operation Neptune

The first to cross the English Channel on D-Day, minesweepers cleared the way for the invasion of France.

Someone always has to be the first: first in line, first to open, first to attain a position or objective. Firsts are everywhere as the required beginning to anything. For military operations, the position of first is more often than not a terrifying honor: first on the beach, first over the top, first into an occupied land. Military firsts run the gambit of experiences from a bloodless surprise move, to stepping off into the jaws of horrific destruction. Especially for offensive operations, the first units to advance almost always encounter some sort of defensive structures. Since the beginning of warfare, defensive structures have been used to slow down or completely dissuade aggressors from attacking. Whether these structures are obstacles, walls, mines, or pillboxes, their existence always complicates the beginning of an operation.

In order to breach a defensive structure, engineers are usually required however, engineers often need protection of assault troops. In turn, those assault troops are vulnerable to defensive structures that engineers are best capable of eliminating. It is a difficult choice who to send in first, especially when the defenses are the beaches of Normandy, and the first in are the ships of the US and British Royal Navy. For Operation Neptune, the naval landing of troops during Operation Overlord, the first US Navy ships to cross the English Channel and penetrate the defenses were not the battleships of the bombardment force or the landing craft carrying the assault troops, instead, they were the specialized minesweepers of the US and British Royal Navies.

For the US Navy the modern naval mine had its beginnings during the Revolution. American Colonist David Bushnell discovered that black powder contained in a barrel could explode underwater. He was probably not the first person to come to this realization, but he was the first in the colonies to act on it by creating a sea mine. After receiving permission from General George Washington, Bushnell launched an attack on the British Fleet anchored in the Delaware River off Philadelphia, PA, with his newly invented submersible and sea mine. The idea was to attach a wooden barrel filled with gunpowder to the underside of a ship and explode it. Additional ideas included “floating” similar mines in the water where physical contact with a ship would set off the explosive, culminating in the “battle of the kegs” in August 1777. Bushnell’s sea mines were not successful however, they started a trend in naval warfare that continues to this day.

By the time the United States entered World War II, the naval mine was a terrifying and complex weapon. Naval mines were used defensively and offensively. Mine layers were capable of laying massive underwater minefields to protect coastal trade routes, harbors, or to prevent enemy surface ships and submarines from traveling in certain areas. Offensive mine fields could be laid by aircraft, submarine, or surface craft in areas that were previously considered safe. The counterpoint to a minefield was the minesweeper. As long as mines have existed, so have countermeasures, each locked in a race to out class the other.

Until the interwar years (1918-1939), most mines were moored and activated by contact. These consisted of an anchor, cable, and mine. The entire assembly was dropped to the sea floor where the anchor and length of cable keep the mine at a preset depth. This type of mine rests below the surface, barely visible unless the water is clear and the weather is calm. Through World War I, the best method for sweeping these types of mines was to drag a cable between two ships, cutting the mooring cables and causing the mine to float to the surface where it would be destroyed by gunfire. Seems simple enough, however, this was not what was waiting for the ships of Mine Squadron Seven as they departed southern England on the evening of June 5, 1944.

German sailors laying a contact mine off the coast of Norway. Any impact with the barbs, or the casing will cause the mine to explode. These mines are swept by breaking the cable that holds them underwater. Once the mine rises to the surface it is usually sunk by gunfire. Unlike many movies, these mines do not usually explode when hit with a bullet. Instead the bullet will only puncture the casing and cause the mine to sink to the bottom. Courtesy of the Naval History and Heritage Command.

US Navy sailors on a YMS, a small minesweeper, trailing LL magnetic minesweeping gear. Magnetic mines were activated by the magnetic field generated by the steel hull of ships. In order to sweep these types of mines a demagnetized minesweeper would trail two long electric cables that created a pulsing magnetic field causing the mine to detonate behind the ship. Courtesy of the Naval History and Heritage Command.

It is difficult to capture the complexity of the Operation Neptune plan in entire books, let alone a short article. The best way to describe the naval plan is—it’s complicated. Allied ships of all types, with all different missions, destinations, and speeds, needed to be coordinated to arrive off the coast of France at precise times. Fast warships could wait, while slow landing craft needed to leave first, but before any ships could leave their home port, the water needed to be swept of mines. By June 1944, thousands of mines had been laid in the English Channel by the Axis and Allies. The British had defensive minefields that protected harbors and coastal shipping routes. The Germans had laid defensive minefields all along the coast of France as well as laying offensive mine fields within British shipping lanes and harbors. Furthermore, these were not just simple contact minefields, these fields consisted of moored mines and bottom mines.

The bottom mines were a mix of magnetic, acoustic, or pressure mines. Some even had ship counters, allowing a predetermined number of ships—including minesweepers—to pass by before detonating. Minesweeping was a battle that was continuously fought, often requiring multiple sweeps, with different types of gear, to make an area “safe.” In order for the assault and bombardment ships to approach the coast of France, the Neptune planners were relying on a force of over 300 minesweepers to clear 10 channels all the way from England to France.

One group of this large minesweeping force was the 10 ships of Mine Squadron 7. Mine Squadron 7 consisted of nine US Navy fleet minesweepers and one British Royal Navy Motor Launch. Their mission was to clear one of the two assault channels and fire support area 1 off Utah Beach. The plan was for the sweeping group to trail overlapping minesweeping gear in echelon. The lead ship, USS Staff (AM-114), would be the very first ship to travel through the last 12 miles of the assault channels with the other sweepers guiding off its left side. For protection, each ship would overlap the previous ship’s sweeping gear by 100 yards allowing them to sweep from safe water. Two minesweepers were dedicated layers of dan buoys, lighted floats that marked the edges of the swept channel. If a floating mine was located and brought to the surface, a British Royal Navy Motor Launch, ML-116, was attached to the group to sink them with gunfire.

Beginning at approximately 0630 June 5, 1944, the ships of Mine Squadron 7, called Squadron “A,” departed English ports to begin sweeping operations. Disaster struck at 1755 on June 5, when the group was attempting to pass the slow Utah Beach assault convoy. USS Osprey (AM-56) departed the swept channel and struck a mine, immediately exploding and catching fire. USS Chickadee (AM-59) moved to rescue the survivors while the remaining sweepers closed ranks and pushed on. At approximately 2300 the sweepers of Squadron “A” were turning into the fire support area for Utah Beach, six miles off the beach and well within range of the shore batteries. During this most dangerous part of the sweep the crews of the minesweepers watched as anti-aircraft fire rose up to greet the transport aircraft dropping paratroopers of the 82nd and 101st Airborne Divisions.

After sweeping the fire support areas, the ships moved to sweep as much of the transport anchorages as they could before they filled up with landing craft. Around 0330 on June 6, Squadron “A” had completed the assault mission and was watching the bombardment ships file into the fire support area. Their first mission accomplished, they anchored in a defensive line, called the Mason line, on the western edge of the Utah assault area to protect against small German surface craft based out of Cherbourg. Unlike many of the ships involved in Operation Neptune, the minesweepers’ job was not over after June 6. Over the next two months, these minesweepers were constantly checking and rechecking areas. By the end of the campaign, over 800 mines had been swept from the Bay of Scene off the Normandy beaches.

1941 photo of the newly completed USS Osprey (AM-56). Osprey was the first naval vessel sunk in Operation Neptune when it struck a mine during sweeping operations on the night of June 5, 1944, with the loss of six sailors. Courtesy of the Naval History and Heritage Command.

Map showing the assault channels and fire support areas swept in advance of the landings on Omaha and Utah Beach. These were just the areas that required immediate sweeping in the hours before the bombardment ships and troop transports arrived. As soon as the landings began mine sweepers re-rechecked these areas and over the next few weeks swept the entire Bay of Scene. Courtesy of the National Archives.

USS Tide (AM-125) sinking after striking a mine off Utah Beach on June 7, 1944. PT-509 and USS Pheasant (AM-61) are seen moving in to rescue survivors. In the days after the invasion as more ships arrived the extent of the German mining became more evident as losses mounted. Courtesy of the Naval History and Heritage Command.

Cracking the defenses of the Atlantic Wall had to begin with safe passage to the coast of France. This would not have been possible without the often-overlooked minesweeping force. The nature of their mission meant they had to be the first to go in, but also the nature of minesweeping did not guarantee they would completely clear a path in one go. Losses to mines were expected, and happened. Over a dozen landing craft, two destroyers, a destroyer escort, two troop ships, and three minesweepers of Mine Squadron 7, were lost to naval mines in the western beaches on June 6 and the days following. Many of these losses were the result of new and difficult to sweep German pressure mines. However, without the work of the minesweepers these losses could have started off the coast of England and not France.


Chestnut-backed Chickadees hop through trees and shrubs, often starting low down and working their way up to the top, then dropping low into a nearby tree. They pick insects and seeds from bark and twigs, sometimes hovering to reach items, or darting out to catch insects like a flycatcher or redstart. Many Chestnut-backed Chickadee pairs stay together for a year or less a smaller number stay together for 2 to 4 years. Chestnut-backed Chickadees often form flocks with other species in winter. Where Chestnut-backed and Mountain chickadee ranges overlap, you’ll frequently find both species in a single flock, along with Red-breasted Nuthatches, Golden-crowned and Ruby-crowned kinglets, and Brown Creepers. During winter, they travel together in search of food. Flight can be direct, but is most often slightly undulating as is common in most chickadees.Back to top


From sunrise to sunset, the chickadee spends most of its time feeding. The bird hops along a branch, clutches an upright trunk, or hangs upside down at the tip of an evergreen twig, examining every crevice and cranny for tiny hidden creatures.

The chickadee eats large quantities of insect eggs, larvae and pupae (insects in the torpid stage), weevils, lice, sawflies, and other insects, as well as spiders &mdash about 80 to 90 percent of its diet consists of invertebrates during the breeding season, and about 50 percent during the winter. The chickadee is easily one of the most important pest exterminators of the forest or orchard.

When food is plentiful, particularly in the late summer and fall, the chickadee becomes a food hoarder. It carefully tucks a morsel away under a buckled piece of bark, or in a patch of lichens &mdash often only to pull the morsel out again and repeat the tucking-away ceremony in another place. A chickadee may cache hundreds of food items in a single day, and can retrieve these with almost perfect accuracy 24 hours later. Some birds can remember the location of their food hoards for at least 28 days after caching. Black-capped Chickadees remember not only where they have stored different food items but also which caches they have emptied. As it gets colder, chickadees will tend to select caches with seeds that provide more energy.

Hoarding food is important to the northern birds. This habit provides a meal for whoever finds the hidden morsel, and also ensures extra supplies along customary feeding routes when food is scarce.

It is estimated that chickadees, like other small titmice, need about 10 kcal of energy per day to survive. The birds eat plenty of food which is turned into energy. During the short winter day, the rate of feeding is speeded up. Food not needed for the immediate activity of moving around and foraging is stored as fat. The fat provides energy that the chickadee needs to survive while sleeping and fasting through the long, cold night. Chickadees also drop their body temperature at night by 10 to 12°C below daytime body temperature, to conserve energy. It is easy to see how important are the foods &mdash sunflower seeds, peanuts, and suet &mdash offered at a feeding station in winter.

Black-capped chickadees are named for the “cap” of black feathers that covers the top of the bird's head and extends just below the eyes. Their cheeks and chest are white, their wings are gray with white edges, and their sides are beige. Adult black-capped chickadees are just four to six inches (10 to 15 centimeters) long with a wingspan of six to eight inches (15 to 20 centimeters).

Black-capped chickadees are non-migratory. They are found year-round from New England to the West Coast. In the West, their range extends as far south as New Mexico. In the east, they follow the Appalachian Mountains south to Georgia. Canadian residents and Alaskans can observe black-capped chickadees near their homes as well.

Black-capped chickadees are found in deciduous and mixed deciduous-evergreen forests, especially near forest edges. They are commonly found near willows and cottonwoods, and like to make their nests in the snags of alder and birch trees. Feeders and nest boxes can be used to attract chickadees to suburban backyards.

Hawks, owls, and shrikes capture adult chickadees, but nestlings and eggs are in more danger of being consumed by tree-climbing mammals. A chickadee’s alarm call sounds just like its name. Chickadees warn their flocks of nearby predators by sounding out “chickadee-dee-dee!”

Like many birds, black-capped chickadees are omnivorous. They eat a diet of seeds, berries, insects, invertebrates, and occasionally small portions of carrion. Chickadees also love to eat suet and peanut butter offered at bird feeders. However, chickadees have a penchant for storing food and eating it later, so they usually won&rsquot stick around at a feeder for very long. They place food items in a number of different hidden locations, so chickadees must have excellent memories to keep track of their food.

Male and female chickadees excavate nest cavities in the soft, rotting wood of snags or build nests in abandoned woodpecker cavities. They also take readily to nest boxes filled with wood shavings. Females build the nest and fill it with up to 13 eggs. The male brings her food while she warms the eggs, and both parents take part in raising the young.

The average lifespan for black-capped chickadees is less than two to three years. The oldest chickadee on record was a male that lived for over 11.5 years.

Black-capped chickadee numbers are increasing due to large amounts of forest edge habitat, as well as nesting and feeding opportunities in backyards.

Chickadees are social birds that live in flocks. To keep up with changes within the flock&mdashand to remember food cache locations&mdashchickadees are able to replace old neurons with new ones. This essentially wipes out old memories and gives the birds more space to store new information.

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Black-capped Chickadees in Your Backyard

Chickadees might be the easiest birds to convince to come to your backyard feeder. Once one arrives it won’t be long until there are more. And once they begin to see your feeder as a great place to eat they’ll be around all the time.

There is no downside to this, as these tiny birds cause no issues with homes, people, or other birds. Aside from an occasional flap-up with a Sparrow or Titmouse, they rarely show any sign of aggression.

Black-oil sunflower seeds are a big favorite for these little guys. They rarely eat at the feeder, but instead visit in quick sorties, nabbing a seed and executing a “grab and go” technique.

But they usually don’t go far. Up in the branches of a nearby tree, the Chickadee will begin work to get the sunflower seed open. Holding it with its feet, the bird will peck at the hull furiously until it cracks and the soft seed inside is accessible. Seed eaten, hull discarded, it’s back to the birdfeeder for another bite.

Chickadees will call to each other across short distances using several different songs. Some of these will be well-known to anyone who spends a lot of time outside. Occasionally you can get their attention by mimicking their call, but after a couple of attempts they figure out you’re not another Chickadee. It’s always worth a try, and sometimes you can manage a short conversation before they ignore you.

Rain or shine, the Chickadee is a tenacious little bird.

Poecile rufescens (Townsend, JK, 1837)

(Paridae Ϯ Marsh Tit P. palustris) Gr. &pi&omicron&iota&kappa&iota&lambda&omicron&sigmaf poikilos colourful (cf. &pi&omicron&iota&kappa&iota&lambda&iota&sigmaf poikilis, &pi&omicron&iota&kappa&iota&lambda&iota&delta&omicron&sigmaf poikilidos unknown small bird, fancifully said to eat lark eggs, perhaps a type of finch) "4. Parus ater, palustris. . 4. Dohlenmeise. Poecile**). (Parus ater et palustris). E[ntwickelung]. Wie bei Parus und Cyanistes. Ch[arakter]. Kleine Meisen mit glattem schwarzem Kopfe, kurzem Schwanz und aschgraulichem Gefieder. L[ebensart]. Hierin ähneln sie den übrigen Meisen. . **) &pi&omicron&iota&kappa&iota&lambda&omicron&sigmaf, bunt." (Kaup 1829) "POECILEKaup, 1829 M &mdash Parus palustris Linnaeus, 1758 type by subsequent designation (G. R. Gray, 1842, Appendix to a list of the Genera of Birds, p. 8)." (Dickinson & Christidis (eds.) 2014, 428).
Var. Paecila, Poecila, Poecilia, Poekilis, Peocile.
Synon. Penthestes, Phaeopharus, Poeciloides.

L. rufescens, rufescentis reddish < rufescere to become reddish < rufus red.
● ex &ldquoAigrette rousse de la Louisiane&rdquo of d&rsquoAubenton 1765-1781, pl. 902, &ldquoAigrette rousse&rdquo of de Buffon 1770-1783, and &ldquoReddish Egret&rdquo of Pennant 1785, and Latham 1785 (Egretta).
● ex &ldquoGobe-mouche roux de Cayenne&rdquo (= ♀) of d&rsquoAubenton 1765-1781, pl. 453, fig. 1, and de Buffon 1770-1783, and &ldquoRufous Fly-catcher&rdquo of Latham 1783 (syn. Pachyramphus rufus).
● ex &ldquoRed-backed Pelican&rdquo of Latham 1785 (Pelecanus).
● ex Tringa fulicaria Linnaeus, 1758, and &ldquoPhalarope roussâtre&rdquo of Brisson 1760 (syn. Phalaropus fulicarius).
● ex &ldquoYnambú guazú&rdquo of de Azara 1802-1805, no. 326 (Rhynchotus).
● ex &ldquoCrombec&rdquo or &ldquoFiguier à Bec Courbi&rdquo of Levaillant 1803, pl. 135 (Sylvietta).

Chickadee- AM-59 - History

Mountain Chickadees are seen flitting among trees, constantly gleaning insects. They seem friendly and curious. The chickadees remain in mountains during the winter, moving down slope during storms and back up again as the storm leaves. During winter they rove in bands, forming small flocks of 3 to 5 birds. You can often see them along the concrete ramp. They remain in Long Valley during the winter.


Mountain Chickadees are small birds with a total length of 5-6 inches (13-15 cm). The body is gray and white with black cap and bib. There is a thin white line over the eyes. Both the feet and bill are black.

Song is 3-4 whistled notes—feebee-feebee, tsee-dee-dee, tee-dee-dee call includes a chickadee-deedee.

Primarily they eat insects, arthropods and spider eggs. They may also eat small fruit and seeds. Their slender, pointed bills are used to probe crevices of tree bark. They find sufficient food during winter by eating dormant insects and insect eggs.

They usually nest in a natural tree cavity or an old woodpecker hole, about 5-15 feet above ground. Nest is lined with wood chips, hair and feathers. Clutch of 7-9 white eggs hatch in about 14 days. Birds fledge in another 17-20 days. Adults remain paired for life and normally occupy the same territory year after year.

Open coniferous forests in high altitude mountains.

The Mountain Chickadee is found in the mountains of southwest Canada and the western United States.

Watch the video: Chickadee-dee-dee Call (May 2022).