20091122_62-1 - Carolina Chickadee (Poecile carolinensis)
The Carolina Chickadee, Poecile carolinensis, is a small bird, a passerine bird in the tit family Paridae. Often, it is still placed in the genus Parus with most other tits, but mtDNA cytochrome b sequence data and morphology suggest that separating Poecile more adequately expresses these birds' relationships. The American Ornithologists' Union has been treating Poecile as distinct genus for some time already.
Adults are 11.5–13 cm long with a weight of 9–12 g, and have a black cap and bib with white sides to the face. Their underparts are white with rusty brown on the flanks; their back is grey. They have a short dark bill, short wings and a moderately long tail. Very similar to the Black-capped Chickadee, the Carolina Chickadee is best told from it by the slightly browner wing with the greater coverts brown (not whitish fringed) and the white fringing on the secondary feathers slightly less conspicuous; the tail is also slightly shorter and more square-ended. The calls and song also differ subtly to an experienced ear: the Carolina Chickadee's chick-a-dee call is faster and higher pitched than that of the Black-Capped Chickadee, and the Carolina chickadee has a four note fee-bee-fee-bay song, whereas the Black-capped omits the high notes. Identification is very difficult even with an excellent view.
The most famous call is the familiar chick-a-dee-dee-dee which gave this bird its name and its song is fee-bee-fee-bay.