ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Carolina Chickadees

Updated on September 20, 2018
naturegirl7s profile image

Since the mid-1980s Yvonne has maintained a registered NWF backyard wildlife habitat where a variety of birds, insects and frogs abound.

Carolina chickadees are small birds with big personalities.
Carolina chickadees are small birds with big personalities. | Source

Perky Little Bird of the Eastern United States

Carolina Chickadees are great little cavity nesting birds that nest very early in spring. They are permanent residents in the Eastern United States and coexist well with humans since they love sunflower seeds and suet. Chickadees are very under rated and everyone should take more notice of these bold and intelligent little birds. In these small birds dwells the heart of a lion! This article celebrates the Carolina Chickadee.

Carolina Chickadee, Louisiana's Only Chickadee

Source

One of our favorite birds is the Carolina Chickadee. To be so tiny, this bird has the heart of a lion. They are inquisitive and intelligent and seem to be comfortable with man. They are the first ones to discover and use a new feeder or nest box and will not hesitate to let you know when something bothers them.

Chickadee Poll

What species of Chickadee is common where you live?

See results

Identifying Carolina Chickadee

A young Carolina Chickadee perches after eating a bite of suet. You can see a drop on its throat.
A young Carolina Chickadee perches after eating a bite of suet. You can see a drop on its throat. | Source

Carolina Chickadees are from 10-12 cm (4-5 in) with a wingspan of 15-20 cm (6-8 in). They weigh from 8-12 g (0.28-0.42 ounces). It has a small, short-billed bird with a black cap, black bib and white cheeks. Its back is solid gray, underparts are whitish, wings and tail are dark grayish and flanks are gray or brownish. The upper wing feathers have no or only a little white edging. The tail is rather long and the bill is black. The legs and feet are gray.


Reference: All About Birds

Chickadee in Bird Bath

Chickadees love to bathe in shallow water.
Chickadees love to bathe in shallow water. | Source

Diet

According to Martin, Zim and Nelson in American Wildlife & Plants - A Guide to Wildlife Food Habits, Carolina Chickadees have diets similar to Blackcapped Chickadees. During winter, animal foods include large numbers of the eggs of moths, plant lice, katydids and spiders. In warmer months the animal diet consists of moths, caterpillars, spiders, beetles (particularly weevils), flies, wasps, true bugs, plant lice, scale insects, leafhoppers and treehoppers. In the Southeast plant food includes: seeds from Pines, Poison-ivy, Bayberry, Ragweed, Red Maple and Elm. They also enjoy sunflower seeds and suet.

So this bird is another of the many wild "helpers" who organically rid our gardens of harmful insects. The video below shows how they grab a sunflower or safflower seed and fly up to a perch to open it.

Chickadee in American Beech Tree

Nesting

In our area, Carolina Chickadees frequently use the nest boxes on our Bluebird Trail. These perky little birds are permanent residents. Their chikadeedeedeedee call is made frequently as they visit the sunflower seed feeder.

Listen to the Call of the Carolina Chickadee.

Young chickadees travel in family groups once they learn to feed themselves.
Young chickadees travel in family groups once they learn to feed themselves. | Source

Chickadees excavate cavities in rotten trees, but will readily take advantage of a nest box. They are the first to nest in the spring and are usually finished by the time most of the other birds are ready to nest. Chickadees usually nest once a year, but will attempt a second nesting if the first one failed.

Their nests are made mostly of green moss with some hair and fur to form a cup. We put out the clippings from our Cocker Spaniel's haircuts in a wire suet basket and the Chickadees love them.

Inside the Nest Box

Source

Shortly after the nest is completed, the female lays from 3-8 speckled eggs and incubates them for 11 to 14 days, beginning the day the next-to-last egg is laid. The nestlings fledge when they are 13 to 17 days old.

Woodlink Wooden Bluebird House - Model BB1
Woodlink Wooden Bluebird House - Model BB1

Carolina Chickadees often nest in bluebird houses. We usually build our own, but after Hurricane Katrina so many were damaged that we purchased some of these. They are the correct dimensions and can be opened to monitor the nest.

 

Young Peeking Out

Source

Carolina Chickadee Caring For Young

Click thumbnail to view full-size

Baby Chickadees Video Cam

Chickadee Rescue

I'll never forget the day that I was working in the yard and a heard the Chickadees fussing and calling from a forested area nearby. One of them flew over towards me and then flew back to where the others were giving distress calls. As I made my way through the brush, the Chickadee kept returning to me until it lead me to an oak tree with a Chickadee size hole in it. I could barely see the hole, because there was a rat snake halfway in and the Chickadees were diving at it.

Since the hole was too high for me to reach, I ran to get a step stool and called for my tall husband to come help. He's the snake expert and he verified that it was a rat snake and was able to remove it from the Chickadee's nesting cavity. There were no lumps in the snake, so we think we intervened in time. Rat snakes are very beneficial animals because they rid the environment of vermin, so we released the snake in the woods, far away from our yard.

Texas Rat Snake in Chickadee Nest Cavity

Source

The calls in the video below were the same ones that got my attention and lead me to the nest in the tree with the rat snake.

Chickadee in Silver Bell

Silver bell trees have lovely fall leaves. The seeds of the tree are eaten by songbirds and game birds.
Silver bell trees have lovely fall leaves. The seeds of the tree are eaten by songbirds and game birds. | Source

© 2008 Yvonne L B

Let's Hear it for Carolina Chickadees!

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • indigoj profile image

      Indigo Janson 

      7 years ago from UK

      I don't think I've ever met a Chickadee before so it was lovely to learn all about this delightful bird here. Blessed by a passing angel.

    • ElizabethJeanAl profile image

      ElizabethJeanAl 

      9 years ago

      The Carolina Chickadees sing a beautiful song.

      Great lens

      Lizzy

    • OhMe profile image

      Nancy Tate Hellams 

      10 years ago from Pendleton, SC

      We love to watch the Carolina Chickadees but I am afraid I wouldn't have intervened when it came to a snake - not even a rat snake. Loved the slideshow. 5* fav

    • ElizabethJeanAl profile image

      ElizabethJeanAl 

      10 years ago

      There are several Carolina Chickadees that frequent my birdfeeder. At first I thought they were Black-capped Chickadees but once I pulled out the binoculars I could see the difference. They are both beautiful birds.

      Great lens.

      Lizzy

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)