Mountain Chickadee

photo by Phil Swanson

Poecile gambeli
L 5 1/4″ (13 cm).

Song or calls:
Listen (NGPC audio)

Hoarse “chick-a-zee-zee, zee.” Song is 3-toned “fee-bee-bee; “bees” at lower pitch.

Description: Sexes similar. White eye-stripe; black cap and bib; and pale gray flanks. Gray above and paler below. Lacks crest. Rocky Mountain race tinged with buff on back, sides, and flanks, and have a broader white eyebrow.

Habitat: Usually found in montane coniferous forests. Winter vagrants sometimes visit residential birdfeeders.

Where in Nebraska: Accidental. Rare winter visitor in the west. Mostly seen in Scotts Bluff County, but also seen in Lincoln, Dawes, and Sioux Counties.

Field Notes: Throughout the western U.S., these birds frequently descend into lowlands and desert oases during the winter months.

Fun Facts: Mountain Chickadees will often store seeds until later when they find a steady supply such as a bird feeder.

Mountain Chickadee - photo by Phil Swanson
(click image for larger view)