Black-capped Chickadee on a branch

How Do I Attract Chickadees To My Yard (Expert Tips)

The chickadee is native to the Western part of North America. They can be found in grassland, swamps, forests, deserts, and mountains as well as suburban and rural areas. Most black-capped chickadees have the widest range, covering the northern US, all of Canada, and much of Alaska.

Chickadees are fun, playful additions to any birder’s garden, and surprisingly, it’s easy to get them to come for bird watching. Learning how to attract them isn’t all that difficult, and it’s a great way to enjoy nature in your backyard.

Types of Chickadees in North America

Chickadees have 7 different species in North America. Each is unique and possesses its own unique characteristics. Chickadees that live in the suburbs have more differences than those that live in rural areas.

  • Gray-headed Chickadees
  • Black-capped Chickadees
  • Carolina Chickadees
  • Mountain Chickadees
  • Mexican Chickadees
  • Boreal Chickadees
  • Chestnut-backed Chickadees


The first thing to notice about these birds is their primarily gray plumage throughout with a black cap or head, and white cheeks. The second key feature of this bird is its wings, which are also gray with white tips. The tail is gray, and the bill is mainly black, but it has a yellow spot on the lower mandible.

  • Length: 4.6-6.0 in (11.7-15.2 cm)
  • Weight: 0.32-0.54 oz (9.1-15.3 g)
  • Wingspan: 6.0-8.5 in (15.2-21.6 cm)

Best Months To Spot Them

I always look forward to the first sighting of a chickadee in my backyard. I know that winter is finally over and spring has arrived. They are a sure sign that warmer weather is coming soon! The best time of year to see these little birds, which typically nest from April-July, varies depending on where you live.

The most reliable sightings happen when they return north from their winter homes in South America around February or March. They also seem to like it here during October as well.

Bird Sounds

Chickadees are known for their song. They sing at night, and at dawn and dusk. The bird’s song is very simple, and they do it with great enthusiasm.

They can imitate sounds as well. Their vocalizations are an important means of communication for these birds, and they use it to defend their territory, attract mates, and warn others about predators.

In particular, chickadee songs change with climate change, which can be harmful to the birds because they depend on this as a way to adapt quickly to changes in environment.

Best Way to Attract Chickadees to Your Yard

Plants that Attract Chickadees

Other things to think about are the types of plants they will be drawn to. The most common plants include:

  • Tulips
  • Bee Balm
  • Sunflowers
  • Dandelions
  • Asters
  • Hyacinths
  • Columbines
  • Lily
  • Nyjer seed (in late summer and fall)
  • Black-eyed Susan
  • Milkweed
  • Goldenrod
  • Rose hips

Trees that Attract Chickadees

Planting a variety of trees provides the perfect nesting area for these small birds as well as a place for them to eat.

  • White pine
  • Eastern red cedar
  • Sugar maple
  • Honey locust
  • Black walnut
  • Tulip tree
  • Mulberry Tree (Fruit)
  • Service Berry (Fruit)

Preferred Food Sources

Two sure-fire ways to attract Chickadees to your yard is with bird feeders and birdbaths. They are very attracted to food and moving water.

I find the most effective feeder type is the Squirrel Buster Standard Squirrel-proof Bird Feeder  filled with a special chickadee seed mix. You can find both these products on Amazon. Finally, for extra assurance, place a birdbath beside the feeders.

Chickadees also love a wide variety of insects, berries, suet, peanut butter, and black-oil sunflower seeds. They will even eat birdseed as well. Place any of these onto a tray or platform feeder.

Chickadee feeding on a tube feeder


A birdbath can act as an attraction for other types of birds. You’ll find many types of birds in birdbaths, such as chickadees, woodpeckers, nuthatches, robins, bluebirds, thrushes, swallow, and many more.

Another thing to consider is the type of plants and seeds that they like to eat, and plant them around the birdbath. This hanging birdbath is a great addition to any patio, balcony or backyard. You can find this birdbath on Amazon.


It’s important to provide shelter for these birds. There are many ways to provide them with shelter such as nesting boxes, nest material, branches and poles for perching on.


Chickadees can be found all over the United States in various habitats. Every year, chickadees prepare for the coming spring by finding and renovating nests. They need to find a suitable place with protection from rain and wind, good drainage, adequate food supply and access to water.

Chickadees prefer cavities or gaps in trees where they can build their nest of twigs, grass clippings and feathers. You can find them nesting on tall tree branches, in hollow logs, in the backyards of suburban neighborhoods, and in forested areas.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do Chickadees use birdhouses in the winter?

Chickadees do use birdhouses in the winter time; however, it may not be for nesting purposes. Birdhouses act as homes for these birds when their natural habitat of trees gets covered with snow or if it’s too cold.

Are Chickadees friendly?

Chickadees are known for their sweet-sounding song and energetic behavior. These small birds are also popular because of their friendliness towards humans; many people believe that if you offer a chickadee something to eat, it will come close enough to take it out of their hand.

What time of day are Chickadees most active?

Chickadees are very active in the morning, when they forage and eat seeds from plants. Their activity peaks around 10 am to 11 am. They become less active as the day progresses until sunset, then their activity picks up again at night as they search for food.

What are Chickadees known for?

Chickadees are known for their song, which is a soft chirping sound. They also have some of the most beautiful colors in North America.

How many times a year do Chickadees lay eggs?

The answer to this question varies from year to year and can depend on the food supply or nesting habitat availability. However, typically chickadees will produce one clutch of eggs per season – sometimes two clutches if the nest failed the first time!

Do Chickadees like suet?

Chickadees are a type of bird, that enjoys eating suet. The fat in the suet provides them with energy and sustains their bodies when food is scarce or during winter months. When there is snow on the ground, chickadees must use up extra energy to find food; they often come to backyard feeders for this reason.