Chickadee (Common 10 Songbirds)

You know how parents do not have a favorite child?

Well, I do not have a favorite bird.  I love them all equally.

Except . . . well, I may have a little extra love for the chickadee.

My mother nicknamed me Dee when I was born, and the name seriously stuck.  Not only do all of the friends I grew up with still call me Dee, but all of the kids I work with at the nature center know me as “Ms. Dee”.

And you kind of have to love a bird that calls your name:

“Chick-a-dee-dee-dee!  Chick-a-da-dee-dee-dee!”


This Carolina chickadee (Poecile carolinensis) was photographed by Dan Pancamo and provided via Wikimedia Commons.

In addition to this obviously superlative call, chickadees are also incredibly brave little birds, a trait that I both admire and aspire to.

At just 4.5 and 5.5 inches from beak to tail, respectively – we get both Carolina chickadees (Poecile carolinensis) and black-capped chickadees (Poecile atricapillus) here and I’ve spent exactly zero time learning to tell them apart, which I’m surprisingly okay with – they are among the smallest of the common songbirds.  So, you might expect them to be shy or timid, but the opposite is true.


This black-capped chickadee (Poecile atricapillus) was photographed by Minette Layne and provided via Wikimedia Commons. The guide books note that the black-capped has buff colored sides whereas the Carolina chickadee’s sides are all very light gray. I must take my fancy new binocs up to my feeder watching chair and see if I can tell which visit my feeder.

They’re often first to the backyard feeder, happy to claim their place among the bigger birds and, seemingly, much less bothered by humans.

On my recent owling walk with the NRV bird club, chickadees nearly surrounded us along the length of the Deerfield Trail.  They sat boldly on low branches, checking out our oddly large eyes (read:  binoculars) with friendly curiosity.

They must have confidence in their rapid wing beats and acrobatic flight.  They can afford to be brave and inquisitive because they know they can be gone in a heartbeat if they sense danger.

I love to watch them in my backyard, flitting back and forth from our yellow birch tree to the hanging feeder, cracking one big black oil sunflower seed at a time with their little, determined beaks.

Just thinking of them makes me smile.


This has been another #10minwri on the Common 10.  To learn more about Common 10 animals, check out:

American Kestrel (Common 10 Birds of Prey)

Opossum (Common 10 Nocturnal Animals)

Red-tailed Hawk (Common 10 Birds of Prey)

Eastern Screech-owl (Common 10 Birds of Prey)

White-tailed Deer (Common 10 Mammals)

Brown Marmorated Stink Bug (Common 10 Insects)

Skunk (Common 10 Mammals)

Black Bears (Common 10 Mammals)






7 thoughts on “Chickadee (Common 10 Songbirds)

  1. Pingback: American Kestrel (Common 10 Birds of Prey) | Birch Nature

  2. Pingback: Hawking the Road (Red-tailed Hawk, Common 10 Birds of Prey) | Birch Nature

  3. Pingback: White-tailed Deer (Common 10 Mammals) | Birch Nature

  4. Pingback: Brown Marmorated Stink Bug (Common 10 Insects) | Birch Nature

  5. Pingback: Skunks (Common 10 Mammals) | Birch Nature

  6. Pingback: Black Bears (Common 10 Mammals) | Birch Nature

  7. Early, early, early in my love affair with birds, I perched upon a stump on the rocky banks of our six by four foot backyard fish pond. One tiny chickadee flew in from the woods outside the fence up to the seed filled feeder off our second story deck. How brave he seemed daring a stopover with me sitting so close below. Then, years later, I watched from the kitchen, the room on the other side of that sundeck. Another chickadee sat on the barbecue grill beneath the same feeder–as if he were frozen. He stayed like that for five long minutes. The only part of him to waver was his eyeballs which occasionally shifted upwards. Surely it must be that our resident red shouldered hawk was soaring too near. Chickadees! Delicate balls of fluff on the outside; sturdy, stalwart stuff on the in. Not a bad being with which to share a moniker, Dee.

    Liked by 1 person

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