Chestnut-backed Chickadee

by Presleigh

I think the Chestnut Backed Chickadee is wonderful because of its chestnut color and the sound it makes.  The Chestnut Backed Chickadee can be easily spotted by its chestnut color on its back.  Its head is mostly black and white with either brown or gray on its flanks.  It has a small beak and a long narrow tail.  Its short round wings work well since it only flies short distances.  It is the smallest type of chickadees.  The height of this bird is between 4 or 5 inches and weighs less than a half ounce.  The chickadee does not whistle their song; it is a high thin scratchy sound.  It sounds more like a sparrow.  There are other chickadees out there, so make sure you look for its chestnut color.

The Chestnut Backed Chickadee are found in the Pacific Northwest of the United States.  They can also be found in western Canada all the way to southwestern California.  The chickadee likes dense coniferous forest along the coast.  You can find them in Douglas firs, Monterey ponderosa, sugar pines and redwoods.  You can also find them in shrubs, trees and parks in cities and suburbs.  They eat backyard pests, so they are good to have around.  The chickadee also readily uses nest boxes.  They like their nest to be 1 to 12 feet off the ground and facing East.  If  you want to have them in your yard, leave wood shavings or sawdust on the floor of a nesting box. The Chestnut Backed Chickadee are non-migratory.  That means they stay where they are born.  But some do move to higher elevations in the summer months.

The Chestnut Backed Chickadee likes a wide variety of bugs: usually caterpillars, moths, beetles, leafhoppers, small wasps and spiders.  They also like seeds  (especially conifers seeds) and berries.  This means they are omnivores.  Black oil sunflower seeds are one of their favorite snacks.  Make sure though to use a squirrel proof feeder!  That’s because squirrels like sunflowers too.  A fun fact about chickadees is they like peanut butter.  Just like me!  Also they can be trained to eat out of your hand when they become comfortable with you, But would that be a good thing?

The Chestnut Backed Chickadees future looks pretty good.  They do have predators like mice, squirrels,  weasels, snakes, and black bears.  They have actually gained habit range because of climate change.  There are about 84 percent more now in Alaska and Canada.  However they have declined a bit in California.  Good news is they are still in the Rogue Valley.  They are not endangered.  Their population has actually increased.  The Chestnut Backed Chickadee is a bird worth learning about.