Chickadees and Titmice (Paridae)
Types of Birds
One dozen of the small and active Paridae species, the Chickadees and Titmice, take up residence in North American fields, forests and residential areas.
The familiar chick-a-dee-dee-dee song of the seven native (Poecile) species greets the ears of most visitors within their range.
Most Chickadees reside year-round in their territory, although some migrate short distances during winter in search of a more consistent food source.
Their diet varies depending on season and usually consists of insects, fruit and seeds. During winter they eagerly visit backyard bird feeders.
The top picture shows the Chestnut-backed Chickadee, a Pacific Northwest resident.
The National Audubon Society lists the Boreal Chickadee, a species at home in Alaskan and Canadian boreal forests, as one of the top five common North American birds experiencing severe population decline.
Picture two, the Black-capped Chickadee, ranges from the forests and residential areas of Alaska to Maine.
Officially designated the state bird of Maine and Massachusetts, they can be easily identified by the presence of black feather patches on the head and throat.
Five titmouse species, genus Baeolophus, accompany the chickadees in most regions. The Tufted Titmouse (Baeolophus bicolor) for example, the dominant Baeolophus in the Southeast, often inhabits the same territory as the Carolina Chickadee (Poecile carolinensis), the region's dominant Poecile species.
Southeast residents who commonly watch both species around the backyard bird feeder might notice that more often than not, the titmice rank above the chickadees in the pecking order and usually eat at the feeder first.
Picture three shows the Black-crested Titmouse (Baeolophus atricristatus), the dominant species of Texas and northern Mexico.
© 2008-2012. Patricia A. Michaels