A guest blog post from Steven Price, President of Bird Studies Canada
The Black-capped Chickadee is perhaps the most popular and widely encountered feeder bird in Canada. Suitably named for their ‘chick-a-dee-dee-dee’ call, they may sometimes say only ‘dee-dee-dee’ or their slower, two-toned, descending song ‘fee-bee’. Small but dynamic, and dapper in their crisp black caps and bibs, they seem determined and punctual, visiting feeders at regular intervals from dawn to dusk.
Photo credit Missy Mandel
Sunflower seeds, suet cakes and nut pieces are magnets for chickadees. Unlike some other feeder birds, which sit on perches and platforms while gorging, chickadees prefer to sneak in from the cover of a nearby shrub or tree, snatch a single seed, and retreat on a bouncing flight path to a branch, where they crack and devour their find or cache it for a snowy day. Curious and somewhat fearless, chickadees will eventually, if you’re still and patient, perch on your hand to get seed – no one is ever the same person after that exciting moment!
Photo credit Nick Saunders
They are the ‘gateway’ bird for so many beginning nature lovers, and have set more people on the course of enjoying and conserving nature than probably any other species.