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Trail Sign #18

Updated: Mar 2

Black-Capped Chickadee

Location (SLURL)

Edibility Factor: Low. The chickadee is edible but there's hardly enough meat on them to be worth it.


In the woodlands and suburban gardens of Pennsylvania, a small bird with a big personality flits among branches, its cheerful call echoing through the trees—the Black-Capped Chickadee (Poecile atricapillus). With its distinctive black cap, white cheeks, and lively demeanor, this beloved songbird holds a special place in the hearts of birdwatchers and nature enthusiasts across the state.



Black-Capped Chickadee is a small bird identified by it's black cap and bib, white cheeks and soft gray back and wings. The bird has distinct vocalizations, including it's namesake "chick-a-dee-dee-dee" call, which caries in intensity and serves various social and territorial purposes. The Black-Capped Chickadee is an intelligent, agile and is adaptable to different environments, making it a versatile survivor in Pennsylvania's diverse habitats.


The Black-Capped Chickadee makes its home in deciduous and mixed woodlands, parks, gardens and suburban areas with ample vegetation cover. Its high tolerance for cold temperature means it spends all year in Pennsylvania, caching food and fluffing its feathers for insulation. The impact of habitat loss, fragmentation and urbanization on Black-Capped Chickadee populations means it is even more important to focus on conservation efforts to preserve and restore suitable habitats.


The Black-Capped Chickadee has an omnivorous diet, consisting of insects, spiders, seeds, berries, and nuts, as well as its preference for high-energy foods like sunflower seeds, suet, and peanuts in winter. If you'd like to see the Black-Capped Chickadee in your back yard you can set up backyard feeders, providing a variety of food options, offering fresh water for drinking and bathing, and creating sheltered spaces for nesting and roosting.


The Black-Capped Chickadee tends to group in flocks, which often consist of family groups or mixed-species foraging associations, allowing for increased foraging efficiency and predator detection. This social bird exhibits cooperative behaviors such as mobbing predators, sharing food resources, and participating in communal roosting during cold nights.

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