Who doesn’t love chickadees? Well, obviously, the insects and larvae they eat could do without them, but other than that chickadees seem to be universally loved. They are the official bird of two U.S. states and one Canadian province. Named after the sound they make (which strikes me as accurate in terms of rhythm but not in terms of pronunciation), chickadees are one of the few species of bird able to dramatically reduce their body temperature to conserve energy in the winter (from around 107 degrees to 86 degrees Fahrenheit!). Chickadees can live up to 12 years and are socially monogamous. There are four species of chickadee present in Montana and below are pictures of three of them. The remaining species is the boreal chickadee, a species of concern in Montana, although further north they are not such a concern. Boreal chickadees say tsik-a-dee-dee, not to be confused, obviously, with the chick-a-dee-dee song of other members of this family. We’ll keep our ears open.
Black-capped chickadee – Poecile altricapillus
Chestnut-backed chickadee – Poecile rufescens
Mountain chickadee – Poecile gambeli
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