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Chickadees Bird Guide

chickadees bird guide

Chickadees are important members of our wildlife community because they eat many types of insects, including aphids, scale insects, and spider mites, as well as seeds and berries. They also help keep trees healthy by eating insect pests that can damage them.

The chickadee is a small, perky bird found in many parts of North America. These birds are known for their intelligence and playful personality. In this guide, we will discuss the different types of chickadees, their habits and preferred habitats, and how to attract them to your backyard.

Chickadees Characteristics


Chickadees are small North American birds found in the forests and woodlands of Canada, the United States, and Mexico. They are also common in urban areas.

Chickadees get their name from their chick-a-dee call, which they use to communicate with other birds. They are one of the most common backyard birds in North America.

These birds often join to form flocks that can number in the hundreds. Chickadees are also one of the few birds that can tolerate cold weather.


Chickadees eat insects, seeds, fruit, and nectar. They forage on or near the ground in winter and higher in trees during the summer.


Male chickadees sing a variety of songs to defend their territory or attract a mate. Females also make vocalizations, but they are usually quieter than males.

Chickadees are also one of the few bird species that can sing two notes at once. This “double-note” song signals other chickadees that they’re part of a flock.

Intelligent and friendly

Chickadees are known for their intelligence and ability to remember where they’ve hidden food caches. They sometimes store food near human habitations, which has earned them the nickname “titmice.”

Chickadees are very friendly and will often come close to the people who feed them. They are popular birds to watch because they are so active.

Types of chickadees in the United States

There are six species of chickadees in the world.Each type of chickadee has its unique characteristics and habits that make it special.

1. Black-capped Chickadee (Poecile atricapillus)

It is the most common type of chickadee in the United States. These birds have a black cap on their head and a white stripe down their throat.

2. Carolina Chickadee (P. carolinensis)

The Carolina chickadee is a small, gray bird that is found in the eastern United States. These birds are very similar to black-capped chickadees, but they have a slightly darker cap and a more noticeable white eye ring.

Carolina chickadees typically live in deciduous forests and wooded areas. They are known for their loud singing voice and for being one of the earliest songbirds to return to their breeding grounds each year.

3. Chestnut-backed Chickadee (P. rufescens)

It is a pretty bird with a brown bark, which explains its adorable name. We can encounter this bird in the Westcoast and the Northwest.

4. Boreal Chickadee (P. hudsonicus)

Boreal chickadees are usually found in coniferous forests or other areas with dense vegetation. They are known for their loud, distinctive call and for being one of the earliest birds to migrate south each year.

The Boreal Chickadee is a small, dark brown bird that is found in Canada and Alaska. These birds have distinctive white markings on their heads and chests.

5. Mountain Chickadee (P. gambeli)

The mountain chickadee is only found in the western part of the United States. This bird lives at high elevations near streams and coniferous forests. Mountain chickadees are well adapted to living in cold climates and can survive temperatures as low as -50 degrees Fahrenheit..

6. Mexican Chickadee (P. Sclater)

The Mexican Chickadee is a small, gray bird that is found in Mexico and Central America. These birds are very similar to black-capped chickadees, but they have a browner cap and a more orangey throat.

Mexican chickadees live in a variety of habitats, including forests, woodlands, and even urban areas. They are known for their quiet song and for being one of the last North American birds to migrate south each year.

Chickadee Field Guide

chickadees characteristics

1. What do Chickadees Look like?

Some people might say that chickadees are some of the most beautiful birds they have ever seen.

These birds have a black cap and bib, white cheeks, and a gray back. Their underparts are buff to white, and they have dark eyes.

Chickadees are about five inches long and weigh between 0.25 and 0.35 ounces. They have a wingspan of about eight inches.

2. What do Chickadees Sound like?

Chickadees have a few different sounds that they make. One of the most common is their song. Chickadees are also known for their ability to mimic other bird songs. They can copy songs of many different types.

Chickadees sing throughout the year, but their songs are most noticeable in the spring and summer. Their song is usually a series of high-pitched notes that last around two seconds each.

Chickadees also make various calls to communicate with other birds and animals. Some of these calls sound like “chick-a-dee” or “fee-bee”. These calls can be used to warn other birds about predators, find food, or signal for help.

3. How Are Chickadees Different From Other Birds?

There are many different types of birds, but chickadees are unique in a few ways.

  • They have a black cap and bib, white cheeks, and a gray back
  • Chickadees also have a strong song that can be heard from far away
  • Chickadees are known for their intelligence. They can learn to recognize people and other birds and remember where food is hidden
  • Chickadees are also very active birds. They spend most of their time climbing around trees or flying from one place to another
  • Another thing that makes chickadees unique is their relationship with humans. People often feed them by hand, and chickadees will even come up to people sitting on the ground

4. How long do Chickadees Live?

Chickadees have a lifespan of about six years. They reach sexual maturity at around one year old and start breeding soon after that.

Chickadees are known to be able to live up to twelve years in the wild, but the average is closer to six. In captivity, they may last up to fifteen years.

5. Where do Chickadees Live?

Chickadees can be found in many different habitats, including forests, fields, gardens, and even city parks. They are very versatile birds and can adapt to a variety of environments.

Chickadees prefer areas with plenty of trees for cover and food. Still, they will also visit feeders in backyards and other open spaces. In the wintertime, chickadees often flock together to find food and shelter from the cold weather.

6. Where do Chickadees Sleep?

Chickadees will sleep in various locations, including in trees, bushes, and on the ground. They often choose a spot that is sheltered from the wind and offers good visibility.

Chickadees are very adaptable and can find a comfortable place to sleep even in harsh weather conditions. Some people put up special houses just for chickadees to sleep in; these are called chickadee condos.

Chickadees often roost together in large groups to keep warm in the winter. This habit helps them conserve energy and stay safe from predators. Chickadees will tuck their heads under their wings when it’s time to rest to get some shut-eye. They’ll be up and about again in the morning, looking for food to fuel their day.

7. Where do Chickadees Nest?

Chickadees will build their nests in various locations, depending on the availability of materials and the climate. In warm climates, they may nest in trees or bushes.

In colder areas, they often use birdhouses, barns, garages, or other sheltered spots.

They also sometimes build nests on man-made structures such as porch roofs or windmills.

Chickadees prefer to use natural cavities instead of nesting boxes, so if you want to help them out, be sure to leave some dead trees standing nearby. If there are no suitable sites available, chickadees may build their nests on the ground.

If you see a chickadee carrying material around in its beak, it’s probably building a nest. The female does most of the work when it comes to building the nest, and it can take anywhere from a few hours to a few days to complete it.

8. When do Chickadees lay Eggs?

Most chickadees will lay eggs in the early spring before the leaves have even started to grow on the trees. However, some chickadees may wait until later in the spring to lay their eggs. It all depends on the weather and how food is available.

If there is a lot of food around, then chickadees may wait to lay their eggs until later in the spring to raise their young more successfully. But if there is not a lot of food around, then chickadees will likely lay their eggs earlier in the season so that their young will have a better chance of survival.

In any case, though, most chickadees will start laying eggs sometime in March or April.

The female will lay between four and six eggs and incubate them for two weeks. The male will help out by feeding the female while she’s incubating and by guarding the nest when she’s away.

Once the chicks have hatched, both parents will feed them until they can fledge or fly at around 16 days old. Chickadees are very attentive parents and will continue to feed their young even after leaving the nest.

Chickadees often stay with their families for several months after hatching. So if you see a family of chickadees hanging out together in your backyard, you can be sure that they’re well taken care of!

9. Do chickadees Migrate?

Some people believe that chickadees migrate south for the winter, while others think they stay in their territory all year round. Some researchers have suggested that chickadees may do a little bit of both – migrating to warmer areas when it gets cold and staying in their normal territory when it’s milder.

Chickadees that do migrate typically travel short distances, between 50 and 100 miles. They use a variety of cues to guide them, including the position of the sun, the stars, and the earth’s magnetic fields. They’ll establish new territories and start breeding anew when they reach their destination.

10. Where do Chickadees Migrate to?

Chickadees are migratory birds, and they migrate south for the winter. They can be found in many different parts of the United States during the winter, including Florida and Texas.

In the summer, chickadees can be found in Canada and throughout the northern United States.

Chickadees are very adaptable birds, and they can thrive in a variety of different habitats. However, they prefer forests with plenty of trees and thick undergrowth.

Regardless of how far they go, chickadees always return to their breeding grounds in the springtime. They know exactly where they are and can navigate their way back using landmarks and the sun’s position.

Thanks to their migration habits, chickadees can be found in many different parts of North America throughout the year.

11. How to Attract Chickadees to your Yard?

There are several different things you can do to attract chickadees to your yard.

  • One way is to provide them with a food source. You can do this by putting out a feeder filled with birdseed or suet
  • Another way to attract chickadees is by sheltering them. You can do this by putting up a birdhouse or creating a natural nesting area in your yard
  • Finally, you can also attract chickadees by providing them with water. You can install a birdbath or fill a container with fresh water

12. What Flowers do Chickadees like?

Chickadees are attracted to a variety of flowers, including:

  • Asters
  • Buttercups
  • Crocuses
  • Daffodils
  • Daisy’s
  • Forsythia’s
  • Lilacs
  • Magnolias

Each of these flowers offers different benefits to chickadees. For instance, asters provide nectar that sustains the birds during their migration. At the same time, crocuses act as an early source of food for the chicks.

Magnolias offer shelter from bad weather, and lilacs produce nutritious berries. By providing chickadees with various flowering plants in your garden, you can help them thrive all year round.

13. What Plants do Chickadees Like?

Chickadees are attracted to plenty of plants, including those that produce berries, seeds, or nectar. Some popular chickadee favorites include:

  • Mountain ash – Try mountain ash if you’re looking for a plant that chickadees love and are also easy to care for. This hardy tree produces showy berries that are irresistible to hungry birds in the fall.
  • Crabapple – Crabapple trees are another great option, as they produce both fruit and blossoms that attract pollinators like bees and butterflies.
  • Dogwood – Dogwoods are popular with chickadees because of their abundance of small seeds.
  • Honeysuckle – These trees are a favorite for their sweet nectar.
  • Sumac – It offers red berries in the fall.
  • Elderberry – Elderberry bushes provide tasty blackberries in the summer.
  • Alder and Hawthorn – And if you want to attract chickadees year-round, consider planting a few alders or hawthorns.

When choosing plants for your backyard, it’s important to consider which ones will be the most attractive to chickadees and other wildlife.

By providing a variety of food sources, you can help keep these birds coming back year after year!

14. What do Chickadees Eat?

Chickadees are generalists and eat multiple types of foods, including insects, spiders, seeds, fruit, and nectar.

Insects form the majority of their diet; around 60% of what chickadees eat is bugs, including beetles, caterpillars, ants, bees, wasps, and flies. They have a very good sense of sight and can see well even in low light conditions. It helps them find food even when it’s dark outside.

Sunflower seeds, black oil sunflower seeds, peanuts in the shell, and cracked corn are high in fat and protein. They are what chickadees need to maintain their energy levels during cold winter months.

One interesting thing about chickadees is that they often store food items in their beaks or nests to eat later. It allows them to survive during the winter when food is scarce.

15. How to make Chickadees’ Food?

There are many ways to make food for chickadees.

  • One way is to mix bird seed with water in a feeder
  • Another way is to put out suet or fat balls
  • You can also hang up a piece of fruit or a nut on a tree

One way is to mix bird seed with water in a feeder.

Another way is to put out suet or fat balls.

You can also hang up a piece of fruit or a nut on a tree.

16. Where to Place the Chickadee’s Feeder?

If you want to attract chickadees to your backyard, you must place a feeder in an appropriate spot. When placing your chickadee’s feeder, keep the following in mind:

  • Make sure you place your feeder in an open area where the birds will be able to see it from a distance. Chickadees are very wary and won’t visit a feeder if they feel unsafe
  • Chickadees prefer to feed on a high perch. Place your feeder at least five feet off the ground
  • Chickadees are cavity nesters, so they like to have a place to hide. Try to place your feeder in an area with some cover nearby
  • Make sure to place the feeder close to a water source, as chickadees love to drink
  • Be sure to keep the feeder filled with fresh food and clean it regularly to prevent disease transmission

17. How do Chickadees find Feeders?

The birds seem to have an uncanny ability to find feeders, even when they are well hidden.

Some people believe that the chickadees use their sharp eyesight to spot the feeders from a distance. Meanwhile, others think that the birds use their excellent sense of hearing to locate them.

Some others believe that chickadees can smell the feed and follow its scent to the feeder.

If you want to make sure that your backyard bird feeders are being visited by chickadees, try hanging some black-oil sunflower seeds in your yard. Chickadees love these seeds and will be sure to visit your feeders if you offer them.

  • One way chickadees find feeders is by looking for other birds. If they see a lot of different birds at a feeder, they will assume that there is food there and fly over to investigate.
  • Chickadees are also very vocal birds, so they can often be heard calling out to each other from far away. It helps them locate potential feeding areas.
  • Finally, chickadees are very curious birds and will often explore new areas searching for food. By using all of these methods, chickadees can find feeders even if they are hidden or obscured by trees or buildings.

18. Birdbath for Chickadees

If you want to attract chickadees to your yard, you need to provide them with a birdbath. A simple birdbath is all that is necessary. Chickadees are not fussy birds and will drink from any water source, including puddles on the ground. However, if you provide them with a clean and fresh-looking birdbath, they will be more likely to visit it often.

  • To make your birdbath, start by gathering a few supplies from your home or garden. You will need a small bowl or basin that can hold at least two inches of water, some rocks or gravel for drainage, and cleaner water daily
  • Place the bowl in an area where it will get direct sunlight, and add the rocks or gravel
  • Make sure to clean your bird bath every day with a mild detergent and water. Dirty bird baths can be a breeding ground for bacteria and other harmful organisms that can make birds sick
  • If you want to take your birding experience up a notch, consider adding a few decorative items to your birdbath. Try placing a small branch or two in the water, or add a few colorful stones for visual interest


We hope that this information has helped you learn more about these fascinating birds. Chickadees are common throughout North America and make wonderful backyard residents.

The next time you are out in nature, take the time to listen to the chickadee’s song. It is a beautiful sound that will fill your heart with happiness and peace.

If you enjoyed this post, We would love to hear from you in the comments below. What is your favorite thing about chickadees?

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