Saturday, March 1, 2014

Monthly Bird #3: Black-capped Chickadee

Who hasn't heard the ever-so familiar song of a Black-capped Chickadee?

Black-capped Chickadee, adult.
"It's so adorable!" Due to the oversized head and curiosity about everything, the bird that most people know and love is the Black-capped Chickadee. With a black cap and neck, gray back and buffy (tannish) sides, this species is easy to recognize. Where its range overlaps with the Carolina Chickadee (the Black-cap's slightly smaller cousin), these two are easily confused and almost impossible to tell apart without hearing their different songs.

Carolina Chickadee, adult.
Black-capped Chickadees' brains actually grow and shrink throughout the season, due to its habit of caching food (taking from plants/feeders and storing it for later). And the more dees in a call, the higher the threat. There's a dominant hierarchy within flocks. Some birds are called "winter floaters" 'cause they don't belong to one flock. These individuals might have a different rank within each flock that they spend time in.

Black-capped Chickadee range.
Ranging from the northern Pacific coast to the northern Atlantic coast, the Black-capped Chickadee is a familiar sight in and even sometimes outside its range! It is commonly found in deciduous and mixed forests, open woods, parks, willow thickets, cottonwood groves, and disturbed areas. Happy birding!

-Mr. Bird

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