A project of

Black-capped Chickadee

Familiar Backyard Bird. Harbinger of Climate Change?

Although uncommon in the montane forests of the northeastern United States, encounters with Black-capped Chickadees during Mountain Birdwatch have steadily increased since 2011

The State of Black-capped Chickadees

Regionally: Increasing

Mountain Birdwatch data suggest that Black-capped Chickadee numbers have increased in the mountains of the northeastern United States 2011. Black-capped Chickadees were not counted during the first ten years of Mountain Birdwatch, so whether recent increases reflect a long-term trend is unclear.

Recent increases

Black-capped Chickadee numbers in the study area have increased since 2011. Faded bars estimate the uncertainty in the estimate of abundance.

Globally: Increasing

Black-capped Chickadee numbers have been stable across Canada and the United States according to the Breeding Bird Survey. Points indicate annual estimate of relative abundance; higher numbers mean more Black-capped Chickadees were counted in that year. Solid black lines above and below indicate the uncertainty around estimates of relative abundance. Figure provided by the United States Geological Survey.


Opportunities for Conservation

The global population of Black-capped Chickadees is large – probably about 41 million individuals are alive at any given time – and they can survive and reproduce successfully even in heavily developed landscapes. As such, Black-capped Chickadees are relatively secure from most foreseeable short-term threats.


What We Can Do to Help

The food that we provide in the form of seed and suet helps Black-capped Chickadees survive cold northern winters. Black-capped Chickadees also need safe places to nest, however, which is something that many backyards lack. Black-capped Chickadees nest in holes, so providing nest boxes is one option. Unless you must for safety reasons, don’t remove dead trees or trees with rotten limbs from your backyard or woodlot; Black-capped Chickadees will excavate nest holes in rotten wood, so keeping dead trees will increase the amount of nesting habitat.

State of Mountain Birds