Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Carolina Chickadee (Poecile carolinensis)

This is a photo Tom took from our dining room window a few weeks ago.  Carolina chickadees are around all year with their cheerful "Chickadee dee dee" call.  In the woods, I often hear another of their vocalizations which sounds like a squeaky door.

I thought all chickadees were Black-capped Chickadees when I began birding.  That was before I began talking to area birders.  I soon learned that our area, part of the southern three-quarters of  Ohio, was home to its relative, the Carolina Chickadee.  To further complicate matters, the birders told me that Black-capped Chickadees are sometimes spotted here and that the two species have been known to interbreed.  However, I am fairly safe in assuming I am seeing Carolinas around here.

Here are the range maps of the two species from The Sibley Guide to Birds, copyright 2000 by David Allen Sibley.

Black-capped Chickadee

Carolina Chickadee

What really complicates matters is that the two species look very much alike and their calls , while not the same, are similar.

Wild Ohio Magazine, a magazine published by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources six times a year, has an interesting article about our chickadees in the 2013 Winter Edition.  The magazine is funded by anglers', hunters' and trappers' annual license and stamp fees, and donations from wildlife enthusiasts and readers.  It is filled with interesting articles about a wide variety of outdoor subjects.  


  1. They don't like having their photos taken either. Tom did great! We have the Black Capped here..I love to hear them in the trees. Ours stay year round:)

  2. Hi, Connie,
    Our Carolina Chickadees stay all year, too. They always sound cheerful, ready for whatever comes. That's my mind working. I'm sure the birds would laugh.