Ten Common Birds Of The GTA

DeRango Productions

Black-capped Chickadee

The Black Capped Chickadee is a very familiar bird! Just like the name suggests, it looks like this little active bird is actually wearing a backwards black baseball cap. This bird is fairly tame and is common in the backyards of Toronto; as you can easily spot them by your feeder.  The Black Capped Chickadees are actually very smart too; they can remember where they hid food for at least 28 days after hiding it. They also have a very neat way to conserve energy; they do this by dropping their body temperature at night by 10 to 12 degrees Celsius. I guess they need all of that energy to be conserved because during the day they will be feeding their young at least six to fourteen times a day. These cute little birds seem to be very active and full of energy, they have no problems investigating humans and everything in your backyard.

Keys To Identification

Size:

5 - 6 inches. (12 - 15 centimeters) in length (fully grown), and weigh from 9 - 14 grams (0.3 - 0.5 ounces). They have a wingspan of about 6 - 8 inches (16 - 21 Centimeters).

Description:

Just like the name says the Black Capped Chickadees have a black cap, and it looks like they have a black bib on (Or sporting a big goatee). They have white cheeks, and their backs are gray with no streaks. They have dark gray wings, and often times they may have some white on the edges. The Black Capped Chickadee has a rather long tail that is the same color as the wings, just without the white edging.

Male and Female Black Capped Chickadees look alike
Juveniles also look the same, just obviously smaller in size when developing

Sounds Like:

 

Voice:

Sings a sweet song, telling everyone that Spring has arrived. This bird will also hiss if the nest is disturbed. Most of the time is just sounds like "chick-a-dee-dee-dee-dee"

 

Behavior/Habits:

Black Capped Chickadees are common in the Toronto area, but chances are you will probably see them at your feeder just to take some seeds and eat them elsewhere. These birds are also known to be territorial at times, especially during breeding season. In the winter time, they form flocks and are a bit friendlier. Each of these flocks has a hierarchy, the most aggressive bird dominates the rest and all the others fall into a decreasing pecking order. Chickadees don’t normally migrate outside their normal range, but young birds may move south together in the fall.  Chickadees also communicate with each other with a variety of calls that convey information about certain dangers, territories, and food supply. The Black Capped Chickadee is a well adapted bird, and is comfortable around human environments. They can also be very tame, and you just may be able to get them to eat from your hand!

Habitat:

The Black Capped Chickadee is commonly seen when I am in the woods up north in the Huntsville area. They are found in a variety of habitats, but for the most part they are likely to be found in deciduous and mixed woodlands. They are common in forest edges, parks, yards, wetlands, willow thickets, cottonwood groves, and in your backyard taking seeds from your feeder.

Food:

The Black Capped Chickadee likes to mainly eat sunflower seeds at your feeders. They will also eat insects, spiders, berries and other types of seeds. That pretty much makes up the majority of their diet. For a small bird the Black Capped chickadee has a voracious appetite, it will spend most of its day foraging for insects, larvae, and pupa. Although pupa sounds like poop, its actually a stage of metamorphosis and it an insect after the embryo and larva stage.  It will pretty much eat all the little bugs you can spot in your backyard. The Black Capped Chickadee is known to be one of the pest and most effective pest exterminators.

Similar birds:

The Carolina Chickadees are the definitely the bird that is most similar to the Black Capped Chickadees. Only differences would be that their range somewhat overlaps each other across the north central United States. They also have less white on their wings, and to be honest, it’s pretty had to tell them apart. Other similar birds would include the Mountain Chickadee and the Boreal Chickadee.(Below you can see pictures of The Carolina Chickadee *Left*, The Mountain Chickadee *Middle*, and the Boreal Chickadee *Right*)

Range: (the geographical area where this species can be found)

 

You can see from this range map that the Black Capped Chickadee sticks around pretty much all year, even through cold winters. And it spans right across Canada and The United States. 

"Adult chickadees don’t migrate. In years when chickadee reproduction is high, young birds sometimes move large distances, but these movements are irregular and are more accurately called “irruptions.”i

Interesting Facts: 

The Black Capped Chickadee’s song “Chick-a-dee-dee) is actually one of the most complex vocalizations in all of the animal kingdom.

Other:

Video Courtesy of James Knott, 2009

This is another mini Documentary I came across by James Knott! Intersting fact noted above and in the video, was that the Black Capped Chickadees can actually drop their temperatures overnight do conserve energy! Very smart birds!

____________________________________________________________________________

Credits:

"Black Capped Chickadee." City Noise. Web. 11 Nov 2009. <http://citynoise.org/upload/33805.jpg>.

"Black Capped Chickadee2." Fish And Game. Web. 11 Nov 2009. <http://fishandgame.idaho.gov/IFWIS/ibt/userfiles/image/photos/800/black-capped-chickadee-tom-munson.jpg>.  

"Carolina Chickadee." Birds Art. Web. 11 Nov 2009. <http://www.birdsasart.com/carolina-Chickadee-VERT-_H2D8752-McLeansville,-NC.jpg>.

"Mountain Chickadee." Tringa. Web. 7 Dec 2009. <http://www.tringa.org/bird_pictures/8049_Mountain_Chickadee_03-07-2008_8.jpg>.

"Boreal Chickadee." Tr Michels. Web. 11 Nov 2009. <http://www.trmichels.com/BorealChickadee.jpg>.

"Northern Mockingbird Range." All About Birds. Web. Nov 11 2009. <http://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/PHOTO/LARGE/mimu_poly_AllAm_map.gif>.

"Black Capped Chickadee Mini HD Documentary ." Knott, James, Youtube. Web. 10 Nov 2009. <hhttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mvJagVJxLtw>. 

"Black Capped Chickadee." Wikipedia. Web. 11 Nov 2009. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_Capped_Chickadee>.  

i."Black Capped Chickadee Migration." All About Birds. Web. 22 Nov 2009. <http://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Black-capped_Chickadee/lifehistory>. 

"Bird Jam Black Capped Chickadee." Bird Jam. Web. 14 Nov 2009. <http://www.birdjam.com/birdsong.php?id=12>. 

Ransom, Jay Ellias. Complete Filed Guide To North American Wildlife. Eastern Edition. New York: Harper and Row, 1981. 34, 143-.144 Print.

 

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