Category Archives: Chickadees

Goodbye Baby Chickadees!

Today was the day that the Chickadees flew out of their nests.  We had put some foam under the birdhouses, in worries that the babies wouldn’t know how to fly and might fall, but we had no need to be concerned. The babies flew right out of their nest and up to our roof on the very first try!  Then we saw them following their parents around on the roof.  Apparently, the rooftop is a perfect place to practice flying!   They fly differently when they’re so very young.  They flutter a lot.  But they seem to know the basics from instinct.

Chickadee Fledgling

Chickadee Fledgling

Yesterday, they peaked their heads out for the very first time.  It was a sunny day and they were very blinky!   So, if you are watching a Black-Capped Chickadee bird nest and wondering when they are going to leave the nest, then you should know that if your experience is anything like ours, as soon as you see them peaking out, get ready!  I read that they usually leave the nest in the morning, and for us, this was true.  It was about 6:30am.  So make you sure you get up bright and early if you want to witness the Chickadee’s first flight!

We didn’t get a full count as to how many babies they had because we have a pet Stellar Jay named Kevin.  Well, he’s not a real pet but he’s starting to think he is.  He comes to our shed roof and does a little dance for us right outside of our living room window.  (He knows we have an unlimited supply of PEANUTS!)  He flufffs himself up really big.   And today, as long as we left the window blinds open, he wouldn’t leave. So he was sitting on the roof just right above the chickadee bird house and the chickadees were freaking out with their alarming multiple “DEE DEE DEE DEE” sound (apparently, the more DEE notes, the more severe the warning).  So to get Kevin to go away, we closed the blinds, and missed seeing all of the Chickadees fledge.

Our Stellar Jay Kevin

Our Stellar Jay Kevin

So the baby birds are gone now.  But to wrap things up, I’d like to share a couple more portraits of the Chickadee parents.

Black-Capped Chickadee with Food for his Nestling Baby

Black-Capped Chickadee with Food for his Nestling Baby

Look at all of that food!  Chickadee parents are SO busy, feeding the birds constantly it seems!

Adult Black-Capped Chickadeee
Chickadee, I’m going to miss you. Please bring your family to our bird feeder! I’ll keep filling it with black oil sunflower seeds for you!

What do Chickadees feed their young?

Black-Capped Chickadee with Caterpillar


Both Chickadee parents feed their young.  They take turns feeding and guarding the nest.

Above is a photo of one of the chickadees bringing a green caterpillar to the nest. Somewhere there must be a lot of these caterpillars, as hour after hour, these cute little birds find them.  It’s hard to believe, but a pair of chickadees have to bring thousands of caterpillars to feed their babies.  In fact, according to NestWatch, the parents need 6000-9000 caterpillars to feed just one brood!

They also feed them spiders and other insects.  In the below picture, that little dot in his beak is actually a spider!

Black-Capped Chickadee with Spider


Here’s another photo that shows a Chickadee hauling in a bunch of bugs (looks like a spider AND a caterpillar!).

Chickadee with Insects

It is my lucky year because the birds have chosen one of our bird houses to nest in!  We put up two of them over a year ago.  This is the first year that a pair decided to move in!  Baby birds that are too young to leave their nest are called “Nestlings” and this pair definitely has some hungry ones to feed!  I don’t know how many have hatched, but I heard that the average brood size is 6.  I am too afraid to look in (I don’t want to disturb them) but if I stand right next to the birdhouse, I can often hear very quiet high pitch calls coming from the nestlings!

Chickadee Sticking his Head out of the Birdhouse


This is an ongoing photo story about a family of chickadees I’ve been watching. Here are more photos of Black-Capped Chickadees.

Chickadees Bringing Food to the Nest for their Newly Hatched Babies

Black-Capped Chickadee with food for their young

Black-Capped Chickadee with food for their young

This is a follow-up post to the continuing saga of Chickadees choosing to make a nest in a birdhouse right near my window.

The babies have hatched! I know this not because I’ve looked into the birdhouse, but from observing the parent chickadee behavior. The bird house was really quiet for a couple of weeks, but now the parent or parents are busy going in and out of it!  I can see that they have food in their beaks. It looks like they are finding little garden worms or grubs. I imagine that like human babies, hatchlings need soft food, as their beaks aren’t fully developed yet.

Black-Capped Chickadee with Food for Babies

Black-Capped Chickadee with Food for Babies

I also stood in front of the bird house and by listening very carefully, I could hear the baby chickadees make little sounds! And then the Mom showed up with her food for them!

I know people do inspect bird nests with flashlights and small mirrors to count the eggs or babies, but I don’t want to do anything to disturb them. I am just going to be patient and wait until they’re ready to leave the nest. There is concrete under the bird house, so I’m going to put something soft down incase the babies fall out. I don’t want them to get hurt!


Black-Capped Chickadee Talking to their Young: “I’ll be right back with more food!”


The Black-Capped Chickadees are very cautious. They try to make sure that no other bird sees them going to and from the nest.  But they seem to think that us humans are OK!

Day 5 of Nest Building for Mother Black-Capped Chickadee

The adventure continues!  The mom brought small twigs and white fluffy material to her nest today.  Also she found some red stuff that we couldn’t recognize.  She likes to stop near her bird house and always looks around before going in.  When she sees me, a “human,” watching she waits until I look away before quickly flying into the birdhouse.

Black Capped Chickadee with Soft White Nesting Material

Black Capped Chickadee with Soft White Nesting Material


Black-capped Chickadee with White Fluffy Nesting Material


UPDATE:  It took about a week for them to complete their nest.  Then it was quiet for a couple of weeks while the parent incubated her eggs and the other parent stood guard.  Then the feedings began.

Nest Making Time for Black-Capped Chickadee in Tacoma, Washington

Chickadee on Nest Box

Black-Capped Chickadee Looking in His Home

Success!  We have Chickaddees making a nest!

Here’s what’s happened so far:

April 9, 2015  

A Black-Capped Chickadee “inspected” the bird house, flying in and out of it at least a dozen times, and looking all around it, above it, next to it, etc.  The bird house is attached to our shed. There is a gap at the top of the shed door, and the chickadee even stuck its little head in and looked into the shed.  Then later that day, he brought by another chickadee to show it his home.  I can’t tell female from male, so maybe it was her showing him… I don’t know which.

April 10 – April 11, 2015

Black-Capped Chickadee(s) are getting territorial over their new man-made home!  The chickadee attacked a downy woodpecker that was eating at a nearby suet feeder.    We usually only see one chickadee at a time so it’s hard to know if one is staying in the house all of the time or not.  We also saw other Chickadees checking out another nearby nesting box.

April 12, 2015 

The chickadees started bringing nesting material.  It looks like they are using some moss and some red flower petals!  Maybe some dog fur from next door too.  I can’t tell if they are sharing in building the nest, but it appears that while one is out getting nest material, the other stands near the nest, guarding it.

April 15, 2015

The Chickadees continue to bring nesting material to their bird house.  They carry lots of green material in their bill, which may have been moss or grass.  I also saw them picking at our porch carpet.  One time it looked like they found dog fur.  I tried to get photos of them building their nest, but I was not patient enough and just got the above photo of the chickadee on the outside of the nesting box.   When the Chickadee wasn’t busy getting nesting material,  she would stand nearby, acting as a sentry, guarding the box and occasionally scaring off other birds. We moved the suet feeder farther away so that it wouldn’t be so close to the nest.

We are very excited because this is the first time we’ve had any birds use our bird house!!