The Black-capped Chickadee may be tiny, but there’s so much to appreciate. They’re bold, curious, and, to be honest, very adorable. This makes them a favorite among bird lovers.

Hang a new feeder in your yard and you can count on a Black-capped Chickadee to be among the first to come in for a landing. When humans are about, they’re fearless. If you spend time outside, don’t be surprised to see them hopping in for a closer look. Some have even had success with hand-feeding these birds!

Winter Survival Skills

The winter toughness of these tiny birds is remarkable. The Black-capped Chickadee does not migrate, and is a year-round resident throughout the upper half of the continental U.S., along with Canada and a swath of Alaska.

To get through those long, cold winter nights, the Black-capped Chickadee drops its core body temperature from 107.6 degrees to 95 degrees Fahrenheit. By doing this, they lower their metabolism, eliminating the need to get up in the middle of the night to eat. Even so, they’ll take in extra calories by day to give them enough nighttime fuel. Alaskan Black-capped Chickadees may gain an additional 10 percent in body weight in a day to prepare.

When you see Black-capped Chickadees land on a feeder, they may stay for just a second, enough time to snatch up a single seed. They’ll snatch up a single seed, and whisk it to a nearby tree or bush to eat it in safety. Or, they may save it for later, stashing it in a bark crevice, tree knot or some other hiding spot. This is called caching, yet another winter survival strategy of the Black-capped Chickadee, and they’re capable of recalling thousands of hiding spots.

Springtime Sounds

The buzzy chicka-dee-dee-dee call is distinctive and easy to pick out. Scientists have discovered language-like tendencies in their calls. Also, other bird species respond to their calls of alarm as well as their calls of “all clear.”

For a sure sign that spring is around the corner, listen for the sound of its “fee-bee!” song ringing through the treetops.

Drawing Them In

Lyric Chickadee Mix contains a wholesome mix of ingredients to give these lively birds the energy they need, including shelled peanuts, black oil sunflower seeds, sunflower kernels, black striped sunflower seeds, pecans, and pistachios.

A Black-capped Chickadee perching on winter berries. iStock / Getty Images Plus