Mountain Chickadee

Parus gambeli

Mountain Chickadee
Photo Courtesy of Tom Grey

Mountain chickadees are seen flitting among trees, constantly gleaning insects. They seem friendly and curious. The chickadees remain in mountains during the winter, moving down slope during storms and back up again as the storm leaves. During winter they rove in bands, forming small flocks of 3 to 5 birds. You can often see them along the concrete ramp. They remain in Long Valley during the winter.

Small birds, 5-6 in (13-15 cm). Body is gray and white with black cap and bib; thin white line over the eyes; feet and bill are black.
Song is 3-4 whistled notes—feebee-feebee, tsee-dee-dee, tee-dee-dee; call includes a chickadee-deedee.
Insects, arthropods, spider eggs. They may also eat small fruit and seeds. Their slender, pointed bills are used to probe crevices of tree bark. They find sufficient food during winter by eating dormant insects & insect eggs. Birds may be seen clinging to a branch, head downward toward another twig, hammering a seed open on that limb.
Usually in a natural tree cavity or an old woodpecker hole, about 5-15 ft above ground. Nest is lined with wood chips, hair and feathers. Clutch of 7-9 white eggs hatch in about 14 days. Birds fledge in another 17-20 days; young are out by fall. Adults remain paired for life and normally occupy the same territory year after year.
Open coniferous forests in high altitude mountains.
In mountains of western US and Canada, to Baja California and western Texas.

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