Black-capped Chickadee

Order:   Passeriformes
Family: Paridae
Genus: Poecile
Species: atricapillus

Black-capped Chickadee, F.C.Hennessey, Birds of Eastern Canada, P.A.Taverner, 1922

 F.C. Hennessey 


La. passer sparrow, small bird
La. forma form, kind, species
La. parum too little
La. parus titmouse, tomtit
Gr. poecile painted
La. ater black
La. capillus hair
Five inches long. Top and back of head and throat black.  Sides of head and neck white. Breast and underside white to buff. Gray back. Wing feathers and tail a darker gray, lined with white.

Inhabits forests, deserts, groves, and other wooded areas including farms, towns and cities throughout most of Canada and southern Alaska, the northern two thirds of the U.S., in the Alleghenies as far as South Carolina and in the West as far south as northern Arizona and New Mexico.

USGS Black-capped Chickadee Map

Builds nests of fine grass, feathers and hair usually in abandoned or natural cavities or excavates its own in older trees from very low up to 15 feet.  

A chickadee birdhouse in a tree in your yard is a good investment as they are attracted to bird houses.

Lays six to eight white eggs which hatch after about two weeks incubation and young leave the nest after about another two or three weeks.

Hopping about trees and underbrush, they forage in scattered, chattering flocks with nuthatches and titmice for insects and their eggs and larvae under leaves or in the crevices of bark; and small seeds and berries, and suet at feeders. Often seen hanging upside down from twigs or feeders. Sings high pitched simple melodies.

Black-capped Chickadee, Allan Brooks, Birds of Western Canada, P.A.Taverner, 1926

R. Bruce Horsfall

Feed Chickadees sunflower seeds, nyjer (thistle seeds) and suet.

Whistle to the inquisitive chickadee and it likely will sing back. With a little patience, you might even entice one to take a seed or a raisin from your hand.    

The Black-capped Chickadee birdhouse plans (same as for Nuthatches, Titmice, Downy Woodpeckers and other Chickadees) has a 4" by 4" floor, 9" inside ceiling, 1 1/4" diameter entrance hole located 7" above the floor and ventilation openings.

Assemble with corrosion resistant screws fit to pre-drilled countersunk pilot holes. Hinged roof is secured with shutter hooks for easy access.

Chickadee Nestbox Plans
Chickadee Nest Box Plans

Mount nest box on a tree trunk or hang from a limb from chest level to just out of reach, higher only if necessary.

Because Chickadees commonly nest in natural or abandon cavities, or excavate their own cavities, a few chips on the nest box floor are suitable. Remove the nest after the brood rearing seasons are over. Black-capped Chickadees are year around residents and might take advantage of northern winter warming roosts (below).


Black-capped Chickadee Song, F. Schuyler Mathews


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