Black-capped Chickadee Poecile atricapillus (Linnaeus, 1766)    Synonyms: BCCH, Parus atricapillus.
Kingdom Animalia   >   Phylum Chordata   >   Class Aves   >   Order Passeriformes   >   Family Paridae   >   Genus Poecile   

Status:

Common resident in Garrett and Allegany Counties. Uncommon to rare irruptive winter visitor elsewhere in the state. Maryland is often on the very southern edge of East Coast Black-capped Chickadee (BCCH) irruptions, so documenting the precise southern limit line is an important responsibility for us. This means that we should thoroughly document and carefully review individuals outside of their normal range. At the moment, we're not seeing a ton of movement north of us this season. That said, it's early and this seems like the perfect time to see the first indications. The last really awesome irruption was the winter of 2010-2011, where BCCHs hit their high water mark roughly at the edge of the coastal plain. Records in western Maryland and the Piedmont were widespread, but few made it to counties like Kent, Anne Arundel, and Prince George's, which are largely coastal plain. A general rule is the farther south and east in Maryland, the rarer the BCCH sighting. In minor irruptions, we'll see them in western Maryland and basically across the top of the state. Cecil Co. seems to do well even in light movement years. Records in southern Maryland and the lower Eastern Shore are especially rare. Please make an effort to document any out-of-range BCCH reports this season. To be specific, this includes any presumed Black-capped east of Allegany Co. that hasn't already been thoroughly documented at the location this season.

Description:

Compare Carolina Chickadee. Note the white "hockey stick" pattern in wings. The white cheek is striking and does not gray toward the black nape (which is squared vs. rounded). Typically has a more ragged edge to the bib and a longer tail than Carolina. Song is two notes versus the 3-4 note song of Carolina. Other vocalizations are lower and slower than Carolina.

Where to find:

Common in Garrett Co. and much of Allegany Co.

There are 171 records in the project database.

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A Black-capped Chickadee in Harford Co., Maryland (12/11/2010). Photo by Bill Hubick. (MBP list)

A Black-capped Chickadee in Baltimore Co., Maryland (11/2/2016). Photo by Mark Johnson. (MBP list)

Black-capped Chickadee in Harford Co., Maryland (2/7/2015). Photo by Matthew Addicks. (MBP list)

A Black-capped Chickadee visiting Eden Mill Park, Harford Co., Maryland (11/7/2010). This was a significant invasion year for the species in Maryland. (Note the leg band courtesy of the Eden Mill banding station the previous day.) Photo by Bill Hubick. (MBP list)

A Black-capped Chickadee in Allegany Co., Maryland (4/10/2018). Photo by Jim Stasz. (MBP list)

A Black-capped Chickadee in Millington WMA, Kent Co., Maryland (2/20/2011), a continuing bird found by Dan Small. Records from the Eastern Shore of Maryland are extremely rare even during irruption years. Photo by Bill Hubick. (MBP list)

A Black-capped Chickadee in Garrett Co., Maryland (10/2/2017). Photo by Jim Stasz. (MBP list)

A Black-capped Chickadee in Allegany Co., Maryland (9/12/2019). Photo by Jim Stasz. (MBP list)

A Black-capped Chickadee in Allegany Co., Maryland (5/1/2018). Photo by Jim Stasz. (MBP list)

A Black-capped Chickadee in Garrett Co., Maryland (5/3/2018). Photo by Jim Stasz. (MBP list)

A Black-capped Chickadee in Garrett Co., Maryland (5/26/2020). Photo by Jim Stasz. (MBP list)

A Black-capped Chickadee building a nest in Garrett Co., Maryland (4/9/2020). Photo by Paul Denbow. (MBP list)

A Black-capped Chickadee in Garrett Co., Maryland (4/7/2020). Photo by William Blauvelt. (MBP list)


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