Black-capped Chickadee - Photo Copyright Ward Cameron 2003 - Click to view a larger image Black-capped Chickadee - Photo Copyright Ward Cameron 2003 - Click to view a larger image Black-capped Chickadee - Photo Copyright Ward Cameron 2003 - Click to view a larger image Black-capped Chickadee - Photo Copyright Ward Cameron 2003 - Click to view a larger image  
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Black-capped Chickadee
Poecile atricapillus

Chickadees, Nuthatches and Creepers
Chickadee Family (Paridae)

Size: Length: 14.5 cm Wingspan: 19-22 cm

Description: The black-capped chickadee is often one of the first birds learned by beginning birders. It is a small bird with a prominent black crown and throat, separated by a white cheek. The back is usually gray to olive-gray and the wings are black with white banding. The breast is white, with some light brown along the sides and belly.

Similar Species: Mountain visitors need to be able to distinguish 4 different chickadees. The black-capped is the only one with an all black-cap, and a gray back. The mountain chickadee has a prominent white eyebrow line separating the black cap. The boreal chickadee trades in its black-cap for a brown one, and finally the chestnut-backed chickadee has a distinctively brown to chestnut coloured back and sides.

Range: Black-capped chickadees are the most wide ranging chickadee, and are common across most of Canada and the U.S. It is a common year-round resident throughout the Canadian and American Rockies.

Habitat: They are diverse birds, most common in mixed wood and coniferous forests, but they may also be found in urban areas. They are also easily attracted to bird feeders.

Diet: Chickadees search plants and trees for insects, spiders and conifer seeds. They will also come to bird feeders for the plentiful supply of sunflower seeds and suet offered. They will hold the sunflower seed with their feet, and use their beak to peck it open.

Nesting: They nest in cavities, often excavated by the chickadees themselves in rotten wood. They may also use a birdhouse. The nest is a small cup lined with moss, spider's webs, wool, feathers and hair. The female lays 6-8 (up to 13) whitish, lightly spotted eggs. Incubation is by the female, with the altricial nestlings hatching after 12-14 days. Both parents tend the young until they fledge at 16 days.

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All Material Ward Cameron 2005

 

 

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