The black-capped chickadee is one of our most familiar birds. She lives with us all year round and frequents our feeders assiduously.

The black-capped chickadee is very hyperactive.

At the manger, his comings and goings are incessant. In a fraction of a second, she picks a seed to go and dissect her modest feast never far away and return quickly, an aerial ballet always performed in a group during the winter.

She also sleeps alone in the crevice of a tree and, a miracle of evolution, her body temperature can then drop by ten degrees, an energy saving that ensures her survival.

Speaking of adaptation, the muscles of its legs are particularly developed, so that it is upside down that it often picks insects and seeds from the branches. Food being much rarer in winter, she also deposits victuals in thousands of caches during the fall, always only one element per hiding place, treasures which she then locates at the opportune moment, even avoiding places already visited to save energy again.

The Black-capped Chickadee is one of the most widespread species in Canada and the northern United States, and the most frequent at feeding stations. Moreover, if a host of birds have been in decline for several decades, such as swallows and even the house sparrow, its population has doubled from 1990 to 2014, tells us the latest Atlas of Breeding Birds of Quebec. The situation is due in part to the very large number of feeders available.

The social life of the small sparrow is subject to a rigid hierarchy, especially in winter when the birds evolve in small groups. Males dominate females (both are identical) and older birds, younger ones. At the mangers, some always give way to others. Dominant pairs normally settle in a larger territory, have better access to food, produce more young and have a higher survival rate. This may explain why the divorce rate is relatively low… Only about fifteen cases during a study carried out over several years on 94 couples!

More solitary during the reproductive period, the tit nests in a cavity often dug in rotten wood, produces one brood per year of about four to five young, the male feeding the female during the incubation of a dozen days. The summer diet consists almost exclusively of insects in one form or another, while in the winter half of the food is plant-based.

The young reproduce at 1 year. There again, they can hardly do otherwise, to maintain the population. There are many predators, especially small birds of prey. In the nest, offspring are often at the top of the menu for squirrels and raccoons. But the little ball of energy nevertheless has a longevity of just over 2 years and one individual has even already reached the phenomenal age of 11 years and 8 months. He was banded in New York State in 2009 and recaptured and released in 2021.

The musical vocabulary of the chickadee includes about fifteen variants and its sweet spring melody should be heard soon. Its alarm calls have an immediate effect on the other species it encounters, such as woodpeckers, nuthatches or sparrows. Not very shy, it lets itself be approached easily when it frequents a feeder. With a little patience, she will even eat the black sunflower from your hand, which she particularly likes. Moreover, she will also drink regularly from the birdbath, but will rarely linger to soak herself there. The black-capped chickadee does not disdain to live with us either if it has a nesting box that we have taken care to line with fine wood shavings or even sawdust.