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|Common name:||Black-Capped Chickadee|
|Scientific name:||Poecile atricapillus|
|Other names:||Parus atricapillus, Black Capped Titmouse|
|Status on Vashon:||Common|
The Black-Capped Chickadee is a common, small songbird found year-round on Vashon. It has a black cap and bib with white sides to the face. Its underparts are white with rusty brown on the flanks. Its back is gray and the tail is normally slate-gray.
The black-capped chickadee is found from coast to coast, from the northern half of the United States in the south, to James Bay, the southern edge of the Northwest Territories and the Yukon, and the southern half of Alaska in the north. In winter it may wander outside this range, both to the north and south. Its preferred habitat is deciduous woods or mixed (deciduous, coniferous) woods. It is also found in open woods, parks, and suburban areas.
Insects (especially caterpillars) form a large part of their diet in summer. The birds hop along tree branches searching for food, sometimes hanging upside down or hovering; they may make short flights to catch insects in the air. Seeds and berries become more important in winter, though insect eggs and pupae remain on the menu. Like many other species in the Paridae family, Black-capped chickadees commonly cache food, mostly seeds but sometimes insects also. Items are stored singly in various sites such as bark, dead leaves, clusters of conifer needles, or knotholes. Memory for the location of caches can last up to 28 days.
On cold winter nights, these birds reduce their body temperature by as much as 18-22 degrees to conserve energy. Such a capacity for torpor is rare in birds.
The vocalizations of the Black-capped Chickadee are highly complex. Thirteen distinct types of vocalizations have been classified, many of which are complex and can communicate different types of information.
The Black-capped Chickadee nests in tree holes. If there is an unusual disturbance at the nest entrance, the incubating female may utter an explosive hiss, like that of a snake. Eggs are white with fine dots of reddish brown concentrated at the larger end.
|More details:||Encyclopedia of Life Wikipedia|
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