Black-capped Chickadee

Hey guys, welcome back! Today’s profile is one of the most common winter visitors to backyard feeders in northern North America, the Black-capped Chickadee! The Black-capped Chickadee is found throughout the northern part of the U.S and southern Canada. What I always find interesting is that Black-capped Chickadees aren’t migratory, but I have always seemed to see them much more frequently in winter. Perhaps it’s because they typically eat insects and larvae, but it’s in winter, when those food sources are scarce, that they up their seed intake, visiting bird feeders much more often. In fact, according to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, in winter, a Black-capped Chickadee’s diet is almost half seed!

The Black-capped Chickadee is one of a number of chickadee species found in North America. They all look similar but distinct enough to tell them apart, with the exception of it’s nearly identical twin, the Carolina Chickadee. Telling the two of them apart can be difficult at best. The best way is actually geography.  The Black-Capped Chickadee is found in the northern part of the U.S., while the Carolina Chickadee is found in the southern part of the country, west of the Rockies. There is, however, a small band of overlap in the ranges. So if you live in a place like St. Louis, where I am, you could see both. In that case, song is going to be your best bet for a positive ID. The two have a distinctly different song. Of course, hybrids of the two can confuse matters even more.

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Black-capped Chickadee flies to my hand hoping for a handout, Central Park, NY

Chickadees are plucky little characters that can be quite fun to watch, especially while they’re hanging upside down to grab insects off the underside of a leaf! They can also become quite used to humans, being one of the more common species that’ll eat seeds out of your hand, as seen above! They got a lot of personality packed into a tiny frame, which is why I always take note when I see or hear a Chickadee. Check back next time, when we’ll take a look at one of the Chickadee’s cousins, the Tufted Titmouse! Until then…

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Black-capped Chickadee at my mom’s feeder, Concord, OH

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