BOM: Mountain Chickadee
Scientific name: Poecile gambeli
How to identify: Tiny, large-headed but small-billed, with a long, narrow tail and full, rounded wings, strikingly black-and-white on the head, gray elsewhere. The white stripe over the eye identifies Mountain Chickadees from all other chickadees. Active and acrobatic, clinging to small limbs and twigs or hanging upside down from pine cones. In winter, Mountain Chickadees flock with kinglets and nuthatches, with birds following each other one by one from tree to tree.
Habitat: Dry, mountainous forests of the West. The similar Black-capped Chickadee often occurs along streams and in broad-leaved trees, while Mountain Chickadees stick to the evergreens on higher slopes.
Where to find one: Chickadees are common across most of the evergreen forests of Western mountains, particularly pine, mixed conifer, spruce-fir, and pinyon-juniper forests.
How to attract one to your yard: Mountain Chickadees eat protein-rich insects and spiders during warm months, supplementing them with seeds and nuts as available. At feeders, black oil sunflower seeds, shelled peanuts, suet and peanut butter are chickadees' favorite foods, offered in tray, tube or hopper feeders.
Interesting fact: Energetic models suggest that a half-ounce chickadee needs to eat about 10 calories per day to survive. That's equivalent to about one-twentieth of an ounce of peanut butter.