One of the pleasures of spending time in my garden isn’t just the delicious stuff I grow for myself and my family, but the wonderful wildlife that comes to visit. One of my favorite birds to see in my yard are black-capped chickadees. These small, curious, gray, white, and black birds are a fun addition to any yard. They are a tame visitor to your yard and garden and can be approached relatively easily. In this article, we’ll discuss how to attract them to your property for hours of bird-watching fun.
All about chickadees
In order to attract chickadees to our yards, it helps to know a little bit about this stunning, black-capped bird. These are the basic fast facts about these birds:
- Latin name: Poecile atricapillus
- Other names: black-capped chickadee
- Appearance: black scalp and chest, white cheeks, gray and black wings and tails and a white underside.
- Native range: Northern United States and Southern Canada, ranging from Alaska to New England and as far asouth as northern New Mexico
- Temperament: Relatively tame
- Nest location: Empty cavities in trees
- Breeding period: April through June
- Number of eggs: 13
- Incubation period: 12-13 days
- Nesting period: 12-16 days
- Migration: Do not migrate
Chickadees are a common bird with a black scalp and chest, white cheeks, gray and black wings, and tails, and a white underside. They live from coast to coast in the United States and Canada and can be found as far south as northern New Mexico.
Their ideal nesting location is in empty cavities in trees. They do nest inside of nest boxes, especially if they are relatively small and wood shavings are supplied. They will mate and lay eggs from April through June. Each clutch of eggs contains as many as 13 white speckled eggs. These eggs will incubate for 12 to 13 days. By two weeks after hatching, the young chickadees will be about ready to leave the nest. Chickadees don’t migrate and will remain in their native range year-round.
How to attract chickadees to your yard
Now that we know a little bit more about these stunning, beautiful birds, let’s talk about how to attract chickadees. Chickadees are low maintenance and have only a handful of very basic needs, and if those needs are met, they should grace your yard year-round.
Leave your garden over winter
When winter comes and your garden dies, what’s the point of keeping it? Why not get rid of it? Leave your garden alone over the winter! There may not be much for you to eat in there, but chickadees and other wildlife will find morsels of seeds and other food items in your garden if you leave it over winter. Winter feeding is of utmost importance to chickadees and other wild birds, so leaving a winter food source is a great way to attract them and get them to stay.
Provide a bird feeder for chickadees
Chickadees are easy birds to feed, as they like a wide range of foods. They will gladly eat sunflower seeds, shelled peanuts, suet, peanut butter, and other small seeds. They aren’t picky about the type of bird feeder used as well and will visit tube, tray, and hopper bird feeders.
Grow foods that chickadees like
What could be better than a fresh source of chickadee food? Chickadees are especially fond of sunflowers, so grow as many big sunflowers as you can on your property! This will attract chickadees and other fun to watch wildlife to your yard.
Add a bird bath
Providing a good source of clean, preferably running water is an excellent way to attract chickadees, and other birds, to your property. They will drink the fresh water and keep themselves clean and healthy by bathing in it. Chickadees are likely to be attracted to and stay in the general vicinity of places with fresh water for them to drink and bathe in.
Plant nesting trees and shrubs for chickadees
Alongside placing special cardinal perches, planting trees and shrubs that are used for cardinal nesting sites is important for increasing the population of chickadees around your property. They love tall trees and thick shrubs. Do your best to plant dense thickets for these little birds to hide in.
Provide nesting materials
If a chickadee has something to eat, drink and somewhere to nest, they’ll probably pick your yard as a part of their territory. The final key component for attracting chickadees is providing nesting materials. Chickadees like having wood shavings, fut, and other soft materials to nest with. Consider leaving some of your grass clippings out and snapping a few twigs after you mow. This will give them some prime nesting material!
That’s just about all there is to know about attracting chickadees! We hope you have hours of bird watching fun.
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