Carolina Chickadee

Poecile carolinensis


Year-round Resident
Has Nested in Park

Carolina Chickadees are common year-round residents who nest at Monticello Park and are easy to find.

Where to See Them in the Park

You can see Carolina Chickadees in any part of the park. They have nested in numerous locations, including near the bridge.

Physical Description


Carolina Chickadee
Carolina Chickadee - Photo by William Higgins

Carolina Chickadees are smaller than most warblers and have a tiny bill. The sexes are similar. They are easily recognizable by their black cap and bib and their white cheek. The only warbler who looks remotely like them is the much larger Blackpoll, who also has a black cap and white cheek, but you are unlikely to ever mistake one for the other.

Carolina Chickadee at Nest
Carolina Chickadee at Nest - Photo by William Young

Carolina Chickadees nest in cavities, some of which are in small decayed branches. They raise one brood a year, laying 3 to 10 eggs. Only the female incubates the eggs, while the male brings her food and stays nearby. The incubation period lasts 12 to 15 days, and the young stay in the nest 16 to 19 days. Both the parents bring food to the young and remove fecal sacs.

Vocalizations

The call of the Carolina Chickadee is chick-a-dee-dee-dee. The song, which you can hear at Monticello during the spring, is a series of 4 high notes — fee-bee-bee-bay.

Hear the vocalizations of the Carolina Chickadee.

Notes

When not breeding, Carolina Chickadees often join mixed flocks of small songbirds, including titmice, nuthatches, kinglets, warblers, and others. Members of the flock have a better chance to find food, because they follow the most effective foragers. The flock also provides safety in numbers against predators.

Origin of Names

Common Names: Carolina to distinguish it from the more northerly Black-capped Chickadee — Carolina used to be a loose term for the South. Chickadee from its call.
Genus Name: Poecile is a small bird.
Species Name: Carolinensis means "of Carolina", which used to be a loose term for the South.

Carolina Chickadee video footage

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