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Description of the Black-capped Chickadee

BREEDING MALE

Length: 5 in.  Wingspan: 8 in.

Black capped Chickadee gb

 

Female

Same as male.

Seasonal change in appearance

None.

Juvenile

Similar to adults.

Habitat

Woodlands, groves, forest edges, and suburban areas with mature trees.

Diet

Primarily insects and seeds. Readily frequents bird feeders for suet or seeds.

Behavior

Very active as it forages on twigs and branches. Often occurs in mixed-species flock in the winter, along with nuthatches, kinglets, Downy Woodpeckers, and other small songbirds.

Range

A widespread resident from central Alaska to eastern Canada and south through the south-central U.S.

Black-capped Chickadee populations are largely stable.

Fun Facts

Males often feed females during spring courtship.

Both sexes may help excavate a cavity, while the nest is built largely by the female.

Vocalizations

Song is fee-bee, feebaaa.

Call is an eponymous “chick-a-dee-dee”. Often given as an alarm call, the more dee-dee-dees in the string, the more serious the chickadee believes the threat to be.

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Attracting

Black-capped Chickadees are a popular backyard bird. Offer black oil sunflower or sunflower hearts. Suet is also a chickadee favorite.

Nesting

Nests in natural cavities, or in cavity which it excavates itself, usually 5-20 feet up. Also in nest boxes. Nest is composed of moss with a lining of animal hair, feathers, insect cocoons or other soft fibers.

Both sexes incubate the eggs and care for the young.

Number: Usually 6-8.
Color: White with fine markings of reddish brown.

Incubation and fledging:
Young hatch at about 12-13 days.
Young are able to fly (fledge) at about 16 days, with an additional dependency period of several weeks.

View Black-capped Chickadee nest and young.