Mountain Chickadee - Photo Copyright Ward Cameron 2003 - Click to view a larger image Mountain Chickadee - Photo Copyright Ward Cameron 2003 - Click to view a larger image Mountain Chickadee - Photo Copyright Ward Cameron 2003 - Click to view a larger image Mountain Chickadee - Photo Copyright Ward Cameron 2003 - Click to view a larger image  
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Mountain Nature Network has become THE place for learning about the birds of the Canadian Rockies.

Mountain Chickadee
Poecile gambeli

Chickadees, Nuthatches and Creepers
Chickadee Family (Paridae)

Size: Length: 15 cm

Description: The mountain chickadee is a small bird with a prominent black crown and throat, separated by a white cheek. The black crown is also broken by a prominent white eyebrow line. The back is usually gray to olive-gray and the wings are black with white banding. The breast is white, with some light brown or rust along the sides and belly.

Similar Species: Mountain visitors need to be able to distinguish 4 different chickadees. The black-capped chickadee is the only one with an all black-cap, and a gray back. The mountain chickadee has a prominent white eyebrow line separating the black cap. The boreal chickadee trades in its black-cap for a brown one, and finally the chestnut-backed chickadee has a distinctively brown to chestnut coloured back and sides.

Range: True to its name, the mountain chickadee is common throughout the Canadian and American Rockies. It does not occur east of the mountains.

Habitat: Mountain chickadees are most commonly found in coniferous or mixed wood forests. They prefer old growth forests, but will also come to bird feeders in more urban locales.

Diet: They eat insects, spiders and seeds which they scour the forest foliage in search of. They will also come to bird feeders, especially for sunflower seeds and suet.

Nesting: They nest in cavities, either adopting an existing cavity or excavating their own in rotting or soft wood. They build a small cup-shaped nest, and line it with soft down, wool, and fur. The female will incubate the 6-12 white or buff coloured, lightly spotted eggs. The altricial and downy nestlings hatch after 14 days. Both parents will tend the young until they fledge at approximately 20 days.

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All Material Ward Cameron 2005

 

 

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