Black-capped Chickadee

Black-capped ChickadeePoecile atricapilus
Chick-a-dee-dee, this is one bird that does not fail to announce its presence. Common throughout its range black-capped chickadees (hereafter referred to as chickadee) are a favourite for their bold, curious attitudes and acrobatics, seeming to be able to perch on even the smallest branch

Identification

A very small songbird, chickadees have a pale grey back, wings and tail, their underside is a pale buffy colour. Living up to their name chickadees have a black cap extending slightly below the eye, in addition they also have a black bib and white-cheeks.

Diet

Chickadees are primarily insectivores, eating a variety of small insects, spiders and other invertebrates they can catch. The rest of their diet is plant based consisting mostly of the seeds of many plants, cone seeds from coniferous trees and small fruits.

Where to find them

Chickadees can be found year round in even the coldest areas, in Quebec, their range extends well into the boreal forest, which makes them a likely bird in most areas where people are present. Pretty much any area with trees might have chickadees, be it a remote forest or and urban park. Areas with bird feeders are almost guaranteed to have a chickadee in the vicinity. They are inquisitive and will often come have a look when people are around. Listen for their call and keep an eye open.

Nesting

This cavity nesting species usually begins nesting in late April, excavating a nest site in a dead tree or using a suitable cavity such as a nest box! Nests usually contain a lot of moss with added hair/fur. Most chickadee will only nest once in a season, nests usually contain 6-8 tiny off-white eggs covered with brown flecks.

How to attract

Bird feeders can be used to attract chickadees; they take well to most styles of feeders and will appreciate black oil sunflower, peanuts (shelled) and suet. A surprise to many, chickadees are a cavity nesting species which will use bird houses for nesting, for information on how to build, place and maintain nest boxes visit Cornell University’s Nestwatch site http://nestwatch.org .

Black-capped Chickadee Black-capped Chickadee