Bird of the Month – Chickadee

The Chickadee is no stranger to most feeders.  These playful, high-energy and curious little birds are easy to attract to the backyard.  The Carolina Chickadee covers most of the State of North Carolina and also stretches northeast to New Jersey, west to Kansas and Texas and south through Florida. The mountainous western part of the state is also home to the Black-Capped Chickadee with these two varieties likely interbreeding. Chickadees are found in both remote and residential wooded areas.  Similar to the Tufted Titmouse, these two often stick close together.  Chickadees have a sweet voice and often travel in mixed flocks in winter.  They are easy to attract and keep around.

Chickadees love black oil sunflower seeds offered from tray, hopper or tube feeders.  They also love suet, peanuts and peanut butter.  Bird feeders with many perches nearby will be their favorite.  Like all birds, chickadees need water and love to visit the bird bath.  Because they are small birds, shallow baths are best.  If you have a deeper bird bath place a saucer in it upside down or add a few rocks.  Since these birds do not migrate south, a bird bath heater in winter helps provide these birds with a constant water source when temperatures drop below freezing.

Chickadees take shelter in deciduous and coniferous tree.  It is best to plant trees and shrubs of different sizes in mixed clumps to provide better areas for foraging and cover.  They readily accept nesting houses with proper dimensions.  They prefer houses around 8 inches tall with a 4-5 inch square base.  Entrance holes for a chickadee house should be 1 1/8th inch in diameter.  Chickadee houses should be mounted on a pole, tree or wall between 4 and 15 feet off the ground.

These perky and acrobatic birds draw the attention of area cats.  Help prevent these birds from becoming prey by discouraging feral cats and keeping pets indoors.

With minor effort, it is easy to attract and enjoy frequent visits from the energetic and darling Carolina Chickadee.