Black Capped Chickadee

Black capped chickadee is a very sweet looking and even sweeter sounding species of bird. It is round and chubby in shape, and sings in a “chicka-dee-dee-dee” call, hence the name. Their sweet and friendly nature along with their melodious calls and songs make them very admirable. They are very interesting species to observe also. Their behaviour, their habits, their nature, and everything about them make them very likable a species of tiny birds amongst the huge animal kingdom.

Description

Size :  Black capped chickadees are tiny birds. Their heads are comparatively larger than their bodies.

Weight :  These birds are tiny and also weigh very less. On average a healthy Black capped chickadee weighs around 11gm to 12gm at maximum.

Shape :  Due to the large head in a tiny body, the species of bird looks spherical n shape.

Features :  These birds have short wings, long and narrow tails, and short bills. The males of this species have a little longer tails than the females.

Colour :  As the name suggests caps of the species are black, so are the bibs. Wings are light grey with white on the edges. Their backs are soft grey. Their cheeks are white. Underneath side of their bodies is soft greyish white in colour. These sweet looking birds have tiny, black, shiny eyes.

Photo of Black Capped Chickadee

Picture 1 – Black Capped Chickadee Image
Source - levahnbros.wordpress.com

Diet

During summers the Black capped chickadees live on insects mainly. It is the winter time which gets difficult for them to gather food. During winters they diet on berries, seeds from the marshy fields, sunflower seeds, seeds taken from human bird feeders, and many other ways of gathered seeds. They also store seeds for future use while gathering them.

Origin & Distribution

The original home ground of black capped chickadee is in the woods of Canada, northern parts of USA, and Alaska.

Being a very friendly natured species of birds, Black capped chickadees make exotic and easy to handle pets. But given their short life span the owners might be really heart-broken after their demise. It is always the best to let the creatures of nature be at their original home-ground. No matter however natural the bird-house is created but that can never meet their needs of a natural habitat. Till now the Black capped chickadees are a safe species in terms of conservation status, let them be safe forever without hunting them down and letting them fly free around the world. These birds are not demanding in nature about food or anything. They are very hassle-free creatures. Let this exotic and melodious flying beauty adorn the environment. Let the “chicka-dee-dee-dee” call hum around in nature.

Migration Range

Black capped chickadees are considered to be residential birds. During winter they not exactly migrate but sometimes wander about in search of food, due to scarcity of food in one place. Most of the time, they come down to lower altitude areas in search of food.

Behaviour

Black capped chickadees usually flock together. Those flocks are likely to be mixed flocks, with some other species of birds as well in the group. They search for foods. Whenever and wherever the Black capped chickadees get food they call out their fellow beings and that helps them to reach out to food easily.

These birds are very friendly in nature. They gel along with humans also very easily.

Habitat

Black capped chickadee can be found anywhere in the woods or even residential areas. They nestle on tree branches, woody shrubs, woodlots in parks and neighbourhoods, marshes and even weedy fields. For nesting during reproduction season also they choose these places only. They even use woodpeckers’ abandoned nests sometimes.

Sounds

Call :  Usually these birds give out a simple “tsit” kind of call. When they indulge in aggressive fights they make a gargling “tseedleedeet” sound. While flocking around they make their well known “chicka-dee-dee-dee” sound.

Song :  The male Black capped chickadee birds sing in just a 2-note whistle which sounds like “fee-bee”.

Image of Black Capped Chickadee

Picture 2 – Black Capped Chickadee Picture
Source – birds242.blogspot.com

Predators

Black capped chickadees have many predators in wild. Hawks, northern shrikes, snakes, weasels, chipmunks, mice, squirrels, cats, owls, and many more such carnivorous animals and birds of larger size prey on these birds.

Adaptation

The best adapting feature of the Black capped chickadee is its chest muscle. During flight the bird inflates its chest muscle to prevent its self from heat.

As Pets

Housing :  The bird house where the Black capped chickadees are to be kept should be ideally  at the least 4ft to 8ft high above the ground level. There should be some stands and small furniture provided for them to stand on. The bird house should be tall and spacious enough for them to hop around and the stands and sing standing on them.

Feeding :  Feeding the Black capped chickadee is very easy. They are very human friendly in nature and do not create a fuss while feeding them. Provide them with small insects and bugs throughout summer. It is advisable to feed the birds with grains and seeds during winter. This diet will help them maintain their natural diet habit. They will also take seeds and grains from human hands. So if feel like feeding them with own hands and play with them, that is also possible with them give their nature.

Picture of Black Capped Chickadee
Picuture 3 – Black Capped Chickadee Flying
Source – watchthebirdie.net

Eggs

Black capped chickadees lay about 7 eggs on average each season. They lay an egg a day usually. The eggs have matt finished shells and are tiny in size. Incubation start from a day before last egg of the season is laid by the female black capped chickadees. The incubation period of an egg is usually 20mins to 25mins long.

Mating & Breeding

Black capped chickadees have been observed to mate with Carolina chickadees also apart from their own species of Black capped chickadees. Their nesting season starts from beginning of May and goes on till end of June.

Life Span

This beautiful species of sweet singing birds do not grace Earth for long. Their life span is very short. On average a female Black capped chickadee lives for 1year and 5months, and male Black capped chickadee lives for 1year and 8months.

Conservation Status

According to IUCN research reports, Black capped chickadee is perfectly a safe species and comes under the Least Concern list of the organization.

Black Capped Chickadee Picture
Picture 4 – Black Capped Chickadee Nest
Source – 50birds.com

Interesting Facts

Black capped chickadee is not only a very beautiful and admirable bird, it also very interesting to observe. Here are some very interesting facts about Black capped chickadee.

  • It is being names after both its physical appearance and its sweet and melodious call. It has black cap on head and it calls like “chicka-dee-dee-dee”.
  • It is often being mistaken as a migratory bird. But in reality it is a residential bird which only comes down to lower altitude range in dearth of food in higher altitude areas in winter.
  • These birds flock in mixed groups with other species of small and chirpy birds.
  • Apart from building their own nests, Black capped chickadees use abandoned nests of woodpeckers also.
  • They inflate their chest muscles to protect themselves from heat during extreme hot days and while flying very high above also.
  • Black capped chickadees live for a very short span of one and a half years only.
  • These birds are absolutely safe a species and not at all endangered.

Reference:

http://www.psu.edu/dept/nkbiology/naturetrail/speciespages/blackcappedchickadee.htm

http://www.sialis.org/chickadee.htm

http://www.birdweb.org/birdweb/bird_details.aspx?id=328

One thought on “Black Capped Chickadee

  1. emily September 25, 2013 at 2:01 pm #

    The oldest chickadee is 12 years and 5 months old.

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