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What Do Chickadees Eat?

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Chickadees are cheerful little birds that bird watchers love to welcome to their back yards because of their beautiful voices.

It is believed that their name comes from their distinctive calls.  They make a very unique chick-a-dee-dee sound as an alarm to warn other birds of your presence in the garden.  When they are not disturbed, you will probably only hear a soft fee-bee sound as they interact with one another.

These birds belong to the Paridae family and they are easily identified by their black-capped heads and their small light bodies.  These birds usually only grow up to 14 centimeters in size.

The birds are very easy to lure to your garden because they eat a wide range of food types.

What Do Chickadees Eat?

If you love the sound that these unique little birds make then you should start by setting up a birdbath and feeder.  Your bird feeder should be able to hold various types of foods because these birds are omnivores.  Here is a quick look at some of the top foods that these tiny birds love to eat.


Chickadees are quite fond of seeds.  They are particularly fond of black oil sunflower seeds, striped sunflower seeds, or hulled sunflower seeds.  They will also eat shelled and chopped peanuts or peanut butter.  Safflower seeds, nyjer, millet, and cracked corn are also good foods to offer the chickadees in your garden.


Chickadees have quite a sweet tooth.  They love to visit gardens with lots of berry bushes.  Blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, bilberries, cranberries, cut grapes, and bilberries are all welcome foods.  These birds might also eat other fruits such as cut pawpaw, apple, pear, or even orange if you cut these fruits up for easy consumption.


Chickadees also catch and eat a huge variety of insect types.  They are swift flyers and can easily catch all sorts of flying insects such as flies, caterpillars, moths, snails, spiders, and other invertebrates.

If you are feeding chickadees in your back yard then you can also offer pet store-bought insects such as crickets, grasshoppers, mealworms or earthworms.


Chickadees are omnivores and as such will eat both plant and animal matter. They do not consume quite as much meat as other foods but they will visit carcasses to consume small amounts of dead animal flesh.


These tiny birds are quite fond of suet.  Suet offers lots of nutrients and oils that they need to stay healthy and full of energy.  To keep the chickadees in your garden nourished, you can offer them cut up suet pieces.


Chickadees also need to drink a lot of water to help them stay hydrated.  They also enjoy taking bird baths in shallow waters.  These birdbaths help them remove excess oil from their feathers and keep them healthy.  The best birdbath to attract chickadees is a shallow bath with scattered river rocks inside it so these birds can easily move in and out of the water without the risk of drowning.

Diet Variations

Chickadees are omnivores and may eat all sorts of foods that are not part of their natural diet.  They may also eat human foods such as bread, cookie crumbs, rusk crumbs, and other types of human foods.  It is best not to offer these birds too much of these foods since human foods contain lots of ingredients that might be unhealthy to birds.

How to Feed Chickadees?

To feed chickadees in your garden, you can set up a bird feeder that has enough space for seeds, fruits, and insects.  These birds are quite clever and will learn to visit your garden on schedule if you set out food at the same time every day.    Ideally, you should also have a birdbath close to the bird feeder so your chickadees can spend even more time lounging in your garden after eating.

What Do Chickadees Eat In the Wild?

In the wild, these birds can only feed on the food they find in their natural environment.  Chickadees love to eat all sorts of food types.  They are swift flyers and enjoy catching a huge variety of insect types.  They also enjoy visiting crop farms so they can feed on sunflower and other types of seeds.  In harsh conditions, these birds may even feed on carrion meat from carcasses.

What Do Chickadees Eat in Captivity?

In captivity, it is best to offer your chickadees a variety of food types every day.  Ideally, you should try to offer insects, fruits, and seeds.  This way, you can ensure that your chickadee gets all its needed nutrients and minerals to stay healthy.

What do Baby Chickadees Eat?

Chickadee babies are called chicks and they are raised and fed by both parents.  The parents feed their chicks by regurgitating digested food back to these birds. When the chicks are ready to leave the nest, they will start to collect their own food and they may also start to hunt for insects on their own.

Typically, these birds only live up to three years but the oldest chickadee on record reached an astonishing age of 11.5 years.

How Much Do Chickadees Eat?

Chickadees need about one-third of their body weight in food every day.  They have such a healthy appetite because they have a rapid digestive system.  Their active lifestyles and constant movement also burn food and fats faster which is why these birds need to eat so much.

How Often Do Chickadees Eat?

Chickadees need to eat about every 30 minutes because they have a rapid digestive system.  They constantly feel hungry and as such are always on the lookout for something tasty to eat.

Do Chickadees Eat Sunflower Seeds?

Yes, chickadees are quite fond of sunflower seeds.  Black sunflower seeds are their favorite but these birds will also eat other types of sunflower seeds such as striped sunflower seeds.

Do Chickadees Eat Peanuts?

Peanuts contain lots of fat and oils that help nourish these birds. This is a very good food source to offer your chickadees but it is important to remove the shells and to chop the peanuts into smaller pieces for easy consumption.

Do Chickadees Eat Suet?

Yes, chickadees will eat suet.  They are omnivores and will sometimes eat carrion meat from the carcasses of other animals.  Suet is a very good food to leave out at your bird feeder if you want to help fatten up these birds before the winter.

Do Chickadees Eat Mealworms?

Chickadees love to eat all sorts of worms and caterpillars.  Mealworms are a great food to offer these birds because these worms are so easy to breed on your own and they are so common in pet stores.  You can easily offer each chickadee a couple of mealworms once or twice a week as a treat.

Do Chickadees Eat Insects?

Chickadees love to eat insects and will catch and eat a huge variety of insect types.  They are opportunistic hunters and will instantly lash out and catch any moving insect that happens to catch their eye.

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