Species of the Month: Black-Capped Chickadee (December, 2021)

December 23, 2021

Black-capped Chickadees are one of North America's most loved little birds. They are easily identifiable for their black cap of feathers that covers the top of their head which extends just below the eyes. They have a thick, white band across their cheeks and a black throat. Their chest is white, their wings are gray with white edges, and their sides are beige.

Adult black-capped chickadees are approximately 4 to 6 inches (10 to 15 centimeters) long with a wingspan of 6 to 8 six inches (15 to 20 centimeters).


Black-capped chickadees are non-migratory and can be found year-round throughout Canada. Their preferred habitat is deciduous and mixed deciduous-evergreen forests, particularly near forest margins. When nesting, they seek to build nests in alder and birch trees. 

Adult Black-capped Chickadee's most common predators are hawks, owls, and shrikes. Eggs and young chickadees are in more danger from tree-climbing mammals. To warn other chickadees of nearby predators, they sound the very common and familiar sound of “chickadee-dee-dee!” When you are out on a local neighborhood walk, count how many times you can hear this warning call and see if you can see any immediate dangers around the chickadees. 


As with many small birds, black-capped chickadees are omnivorous. They will eat a range of foods such as invertebrates, berries, seeds, insects, and the occasional carrion (in small quantities).

Chickadees have excellent memories. They hide food items for when food is scarce in different locations and always remember where they have hidden them.