Chickadees are a very common permanent
resident across South Dakota, and across most of the northern United States. They often associate in winter flocks with an
assortment of White-breasted Nuthatches, kinglets, and
Brown Creepers. These hardy little birds
may sometimes be one of the few signs of bird life in otherwise barren
forests in the winter.
Habitat: Forest and woodlands, groves, shade trees, residential
areas, parks. Primarily found in deciduous or mixed forest, not pure
Diet: Mostly insects, seeds, and berries.
Mostly insects in the summer.
Behavior: Forages by hopping from branch to
branch, sometimes hanging upside down as it scours surfaces for food items.
They will sometimes cache food for later retrieval and consumption.
Nesting: Late April through
mid-July. The nest is in a cavity in a tree, either a natural cavity, or a
cavity previously excavated by a woodpecker. They have also learned to use
nest boxes for breeding. The female lays between 6 and 8 eggs, and she
alone incubates the eggs, with the male bringing her food during the incubation
period. When the eggs hatch, both parents help to feed and raise the
young. The young leave the nest after about 2 weeks.
Migration: Considered a permanent resident throughout
Conservation Status: Numbers are generally thought to be
stable, and Black-capped Chickadees are found over a very wide geographic area.
In recent years, there are some indications that West Nile virus has
taken a heavy toll on Black-capped Chickadee populations in some regions.
However, populations are not currently threatened, and
the IUCN lists the
Black-capped Chickadee as a species of "Least Concern".
Feeders: Nuts, sunflower seeds, peanut butter.
Birdhouses: Will nest in birdhouses designed for
Cornell University's "All About Birds - Black-capped Chickadee"
Photo Information: March 21st, 2010 - Perry Nature
Area, Minnehaha County, South Dakota - Terry Sohl
Additional Photos: Click on the image chips or
text links below for additional, higher-resolution Black-capped Chickadee photos.