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~ Black-Capped Chickadee ~
(Poecile atricapillus)

This little bird is often visits our home in regular numbers, clinging expertly to the suet feeders outside. We see them every day at TheCritterWindow where they often feed from the ground. They really enjoy the sunflower seeds! These cheery birds stand out with their black cap, black bib and white cheeks.

IDENTIFICATION : Length: 5.5 inches Wingspan: 7.5 – 8.5 inches Weight: 0.4 ounce

Along with the distinctive black cap and bib and white cheeks the Black-Capped Chickadee also has a short black bill, light gray upperparts, white under parts with olive-buff sides, flanks and lower belly, and a long tail.

LOCATION: location maps

VOICE: Call is a lower and huskier chick-a-dee-dee than that of the Carolina Chickadee. Song is a clear fluted fee-bee or fee-bee-be.

HABITAT: (listed in order of habitat types in which the bird is found, from most likely to least likely): • Forest edge, oak and riparian • Forest environments, coniferous, broadleaf, temperate or tropical • Open forest where there is more space between trees, tundra forest, semi open areas • Bushes, shrubs, thickets and undergrowth; tropical lowland

BREEDING: Monogamous.

NESTING: Black-Capped Chickadees will nest in trees such as conifers, deciduous, or snags between 4 and 40 feet off the ground. They will also nest in tree stumps and birdhouses. The nest is built by both sexes and is lined with vegetation, moss, feathers, hair and insect cocoons. The female will lay 5-10 oval to short oval eggs that are white with fine reddish marks. The eggs are incubated for 11-13 days by both sexes, and the young stay in the nest for 14-18 days where they are fed by both sexes while the female does the brooding.

FEEDING PREFERENCES: Crunchy peanut butter, a mix of cornmeal and smooth peanut butter made into a suet mixture, sunflower seeds and doughnuts. Forages among twigs and branches and under bark, often clinging upside down, for insects and insect eggs. Eats seeds from conifers, bayberries and other fruit.

INTERESTING FACTS: Occasionally hybridizes with the Carolina Chickadee where breeding ranges overlap. Incubating female will hiss like a snake when her nest cavity is disturbed. Curious with little or no fear of humans. Can sometimes be “trained” to take seeds and nuts from the hand. Hangs out with different bird species after breeding season such as titmice, nuthatches, woodpeckers and other species.

SOURCE(S): Alsop, Fred J, III, Birds of North America, Eastern Region, 2001, p516. Alderfer, Jonathan, National Geographic Complete Birds of North America, 2006, p444.

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