Black-capped Chickadee – Poecile atricapillus

As a non-migratory bird, Black-capped Chickadees hide seeds all year, storing up supplies for the cold winters. They have fantastic memories also, unlike Mr. Squirrel, who can’t remember where his nuts are….

Who was that masked bird?!?!


Where’s the bird?!?! This post was very frustrating, as most of my chickadee photos looked like this. They are incredibly fast birds. I had to set my camerone to sport!


Chickadees are one of the easiest birds to attract to feeders, for suet, sunflower, and peanuts.


It is nearly impossible to tell the male and female apart, physically. However, there are two ways to figure it out if you’re observant. Only male chickadees sing the ‘fee-bee-bee’ warning song. So, if you can actually see the bird that is singing this particular song, that is the male. The other way is to observe the birds during the mating and brooding season, which lasts only about 3 weeks.

If you’re able to get a good view of a chickadee’s underside, you may see the cloacal protuberance (a ‘swelling’ of tissue in the who-ha area) and based on the degree of enlargement, be able to identify it as a male. Females can be identified during this time because of the brood patch (a bare spot on her belly) that helps transfer heat to the eggs. Any other time of the year, you’ll have to settle on calling them he/shes !



Sometimes it’s hard to get work done, as these guys are so much fun to watch! =-O

© – Ilex Farrell

32 thoughts on “Black-capped Chickadee – Poecile atricapillus

  1. We love those little guys. If they are exposed to humans a lot (e.g. in a park area), they can become so trusting that they will feed from your hand. We used to periodically (before Ray!) make a special trip to feed the Chickadees during the Winter! Such wonderful moments. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. they are cute birds… i found one once as i was a child and i brought it in my room. the bird actually survived and he became nearly as tame as a budgie…. well, nearly, because in spring he decided to live a wild birds life :o)

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I love chickadees, and you’re right they are SO fast. For small birds they’re pretty entertaining and fabulous in my opinion. They’re kind of elusive around here, I don’t know if it’s the house sparrows or my inconsistency with the feed but they’re not as numerous as I know they can be. Great post. 🙂


  4. This post made me laugh about the description of learning the sex of a male. I don’t think that I’ll be checking the rear end of the male since I’m content to refer to the chickies as its.

    You were lucky to get those pics., Yes, they dart and dash about faster than the blink of an eye.


  5. What a cute little guy, or girl (no picture of the who-ha!) I am obviously not the only follower that is disappointed at the lack of gender information….then again, is that legal? It kinda seems like bird porn….you could start a magazine called “Dirty Bird”
    OK….maybe I should stop typing now!! 😉


  6. Pingback: Red Breasted Nuthatch ~ Sitta canadensis | Midwestern Plants

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