08 March 2011


The urge hit today and I decided to put together a blog post using old photos. 

So, a chickadee is just a chickadee, right?  Well, there are actually 7 species of chickadees here in North America and all belong to the Family Paridae.  All are generally year-round residents and some are very familiar to us.  Well, this post is devoted to these guys....

I'm going to arrange these in descending order of familiarity to me.

At the top has to be the BLACK-CAPPED CHICKADEE (Poecile atricapillus), the species I have lived with in New York, Michigan, Iowa, and Kansas:

Next is the CAROLINA CHICKADEE (Poecile carolinensis), the common species in Tennessee where I lived from 1997-2000.  Ironically, I first photographed this species only in 2010!  Here is one from Texas:

The next down is the BOREAL CHICKADEE (Poecile hudsonicus).  I've had the good fortune of seeing this species many times in northern Michigan, northern Minnesota, and Newfoundland.  Here is one in northern Minnesota:

I suppose the next species on the list is the MOUNTAIN CHICKADEE (Poecile gambeli), a common species of the western USA.  I haven't actually lived around this species before (and hence the terrible photo!) but here is a picture of one near the Grand Canyon, Arizona: 

Second to last for me is the MEXICAN CHICKADEE (Poecile sclateri).  This species barely reaches the USA and is present here in only a couple of mountain ranges in AZ/NM.  I've seen MECHs on about four trips... here is one from my last trip to AZ back in 2009:

The last chickadee on my list is the CHESTNUT-BACKED CHICKADEE (Poecile rufescens).  This species is present from southeast Alaska down to California.  I've seen this species once each in Alaska, Washington, and California.  Here is one at Cape Flattery in northwestern Washington:

So that summarizes the 6 species of chickadees I've seen in North America.  Of course, there is still 1 species that I'm lacking: GRAY-HEADED CHICKADEE (Poecile cinctus).  Even though I've spent 3 summers in Alaska, I haven't visited the range of this rare chickadee of northern willows and spruces.  Maybe someday.....