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9 Great Tips to Attract Adorable Chickadees to Your Feeders

Chickadees are bold! …Not only by their appearance but also because they aren’t intimidated by humans. Besides that, they are easy to attract as long as you meet their needs. In fact, with little training, you can have the bird(s) land and feed on your hands, and at times even experience the rare moments when they openly shout out their name.

Yes. That’s true! Chickadees say their name, chick-a-dee-dee, as a way of identifying themselves with other chickadees. So how can you bring these little cuties to your feeders? 

Frequently Asked Questions About Chickadees

Before we explore the tips and tricks, here are the answers to some of the frequently asked questions about these cuties.

What’s a chickadee look like?

It’s not uncommon for birdwatchers to mistake other bird species like the American Tree Sparrow, black-throated sparrow, and blackpoll warbler for chickadees.

These birds are certainly look-alikes, especially if you’re seeing them for the first time. However, there are unique traits only identifiable with chickadees; they have small round bodies with short necks, large heads, and short thick bills.

Color-wise, these beauties spot white cheeks with black heads and gray bodies with a few whites on the wings’ edges.

Why are they called chickadees?

The name “chickadee” is derived from the bird’s onomatopoeic call, which sounds like “chick-a-dee-dee.”

There are different types of chickadees in various parts of North America. The most common type is the black-capped chickadee, found in the eastern and central United States. Others include Boreal Chickadee, Carolina chickadee, Chestnut-backed Chickadee, Mountain Chickadee, Mexican Chickadee, and Tufted titmouse.

Are chickadees friendly?

Chickadees are very friendly, making them one of the easiest birds to attract. They’re often not afraid of humans, so you can quickly get close to them without frightening them away.

What does it mean when a chickadee visits you?

There are different interpretations to this, but one of the most popular beliefs is that it’s a sign of good luck when a chickadee visits you. Another belief is that it signifies an impending death in the family. 

Of course, these are just superstitions, and there’s no scientific evidence to support either claim.

What sound does a chickadee bird make?

Aside from their signature “chick-a-dee-dee” call, chickadees also make other sounds like “fee-bee,” “hey sweetie,” and “spider.”

Why do chickadees sing?

Chickadees sing to communicate with their feather friends. They use their songs to identify themselves, mark their territory, and attract mates.

Who coined the phrase My Little Chickadee?

This famous phrase was coined by the American comedian W.C. Fields.

What does the nickname chickadee mean?

It’s primarily used to refer to someone tiny and adorable, just like these little birds. It’s a term of endearment that can also be used as a term of respect.

What bird says Sweetie Sweetie Sweetie?

The black-capped chickadee!

How do I attract chickadees to my yard?

  • The best way to attract chickadees is to provide them with a reliable food source. You can start by placing a feeder filled with black-oil sunflower seeds in your yard. You can also supplement their diet by offering nyjer seed, suet, or mealworms.
  • Keeping your feeder clean and free of moldy or spoiled seeds is essential.
  • These birds enjoy birdbaths, so consider placing one of these in your yard as well.
  • In addition to providing food, you can attract chickadees to your yard by planting native trees and shrubs. 
  • Chickadees nest in cavities and will use nest boxes if provided. They also appreciate dense vegetation for cover from predators.

9 Best Tips and Tricks to Attract Chickadees to Your Birdfeeder

Now that you know how to attract chickadees to your yard or feeder let’s look at some expert-recommended tips and tricks that will bring these little cuties closer to home.

1 – Choose the right location

  • These little birds prefer wooded areas with dense trees. If you live in such an area, then you’re in luck.
  • But if you don’t, you can still attract these birds by creating a backyard that resembles their natural habitat. 
  • You can do this by planting shrubs and trees or setting up a birdhouse.

2 – Put up a bird feeder(s) in a visible location

  • Chickadees are curious birds and will be drawn to easily visible feeders.
  • Place your feeder in an open area where it can be easily seen from a distance.
  • Offer their favorite—black-oil sunflower seeds, but also try using other bird seeds to attract a more comprehensive range of chickadees.
  • Also, try mixing in some thistle or millet. 
  • Suet, a type of animal fat that’s high in calories, is especially helpful during the winter when food is scarce.

3 – Keep your feeder clean

  • Chickadees are very particular about their food and will only eat from clean feeders. 
  • Be sure to clean your feeder(s) often, using a mild soap and water solution.
  • Maintaining the feeders regularly is also a great way to prevent diseases and pests that might make the birds ill.

4 – Make a water source available for the birds to drink from

  • Chickadees are attracted to moving water, so consider adding a small fountain or birdbath to your backyard.

5 – Provide nesting material

  • Offer organic materials like pieces of yarn, string, or strips of bark for the birds to build their nests with. 
  • Chickadees are very active nest-builders and will appreciate having a variety of materials to choose from.

6 – Don’t use pesticides

  • Pesticides can be harmful to chickadees and other birds. 
  • To keep your yard safe for them, avoid using pesticides and herbicides.

7 – Use attractive scents

  • Chickadees are also attracted to smells, so you can try using scents to lure them in. 
  • One way to do this is by putting out a bowl of sugar water. You can also try using essential oils like peppermint or lavender.

8 – Keep your cat indoors

  • Chickadees are quick and agile, but they’re no match for a hungry cat. 
  • By keeping your feline friend indoors, you’ll give the chickadees a better chance of survival.

9 – Be patient!

  • It may take some time for the chickadees to find your feeders, but if you stick with it, you’ll eventually be rewarded with the sight (and sound) of these adorable birds in your backyard.
bird migration
Click this photo to learn about how to assist birds with their migration.

The Takeaway: You Will Attract Friendly Little Chickadees with a Little Patience and Time

Chickadees are incredibly easy birds. They’re quickly drawn to yards with readily available food, water, and shelter. To prolong their stay around your home, try adding features that mimic their natural habitat, like trees and shrubs. 

By following these tips, you can enjoy the beautiful sight of chickadees flitting about in your backyard all year long.

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