Black-capped Chickadee (Poecile atricapillus)

Black-capped Chickadee (Parus atricapillus) 

The Black-capped Chickadee (Poecile atricapillus) is a bird in the Chickadees Family or Titmice Family (Paridae) of order Passeriformes, genus Poecile and species atricapillus.  Birds in this family are small. Many authorities classify this bird in the genus Parus. Paridae and Parus are Latin for small or tiny. The Black-capped Chickadee is the official, state-bird of Maine.

This bird normally perches but may be seen clinging upside down on twigs to feed. They eat insects. berries and seeds. Although they seem to prefer insects, they subsist on seeds in winter. They are very common around French Hill Pond. Chickadees can be tamed and learn to eat out of people's hands but taming is not recommended. They frequently visit bird feeders as shown in the photograph below. Their favorite seed is the sunflower seed, which they will open by hammering the seed on a solid object.

The mature Black-capped Chickadee is between four and three quarters to five and three quarters inches (12 to 14 centimeters) long. Its upper parts are gray-brown to black. The breast is dull white with a tinge of red near its wings. The top if its head is black to below the eyes.  A white area extends from the black cap along the cheeks to a black patch under the chin. The Carolina Chickadee is very similar but is not found in Maine. The Black-capped Chickadee may be confused with the Red-breasted Nuthatch but the Nuthatch has a white stripe above the eyes and a distinctly red breast. Another distinctive characteristic of the Red-breasted Nuthatch is that it likes to descend tree trunks head first. Black-capped Chickadees, nuthatches, woodpeckers and other birds flock together in the woods of French Hill Pond during winter.

The Black-capped Chickadee builds a cup-like, grass nest in the cavity of a tree. The female lays about a half dozen brown-spotted, white eggs.

 

Black-capped Chickadee (Parus atricapillus) 

 

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