The Chickadee was our very first songbird to carve. It is the State bird for Maine, Massachusetts and also the bird of New Brunswick.
These birds are mainly small stocky woodland species with short stout bills. Some have crests. They range in length from 10 to 22 centimetres. They are adaptable birds, with a mixed diet including seeds and insects.
Many species will live around human habitation and come readily to bird feeders for nuts or seed, and learn to take other foods. In Britain, Great Tits and Blue Tits learned to break open the foil caps sealing bottles of milk that had been delivered to homes to get at the cream floating on top.
The Chicadee make a variety of calls and songs. They are among the most vocal of all birds, calling continuously in most situations, so much so that they are only ever silent for specific reasons such as avoiding predators or when intruding on a rival’s territory.
Quiet contact calls are made while feeding to facilitate cohesion with others in their social group. Other calls are used for signalling alarm—a well known example being the “Chic-a-dee-dee” of North American species in the genus Poecile, the call which gives them their local common name, the chickadee. The call also serves a rallying call to summon others to mob and harass the predator. It has been demonstrated through experiments that the number of “dee” syllables at the end of the call increases with the level of danger the predator poses.