Bird Sounds: Black-Capped Chickadee

Black-capped Chickadee Calls

April 17, 2020
Bird Sounds-Black-capped Chickadee-USFWS Mountain-Prairie, Wikimedia Commons

The bold little chickadee is a welcome sight at any feeder.

Photo by USFWS Mountain-Prairie via Wikimedia Commons

Here you can identify the sounds and bird song of the black-capped chickadee. You may recognize their “chick-a-dee-dee-ee” or the whistled “fee-bee.”

  1. Listen first for the two-note whistle of the male black-capped chickadee. It’s a very clear two-note song that drops in pitch and sounds like “fee-bee.” Now you know that THAT sound is! The males begin singing in mid-January, and the song increases in frequency as winter progresses. Females also sing occasionally.
  2. Then, listen for the chickadee call which sounds like “chickadee-dee-dee.“  Interestingly, they will use an increasing numbers of dee notes when they are alarmed.

If you wish to attract the friendly chickadee, they will readily visit bird feeders and especially like sunflower seeds or suet in winter. You may see them take the food and fly away to store in a tree crevice for later.

Their diet is mostly seeds, insects, and berries. They can been seen hopping among branches and foraging for food, even flying out to catch insects mid-air.

The bird sounds is complimentary, with permission from The Macaulay Library at The Cornell Lab of Ornithology. Click here to listen to the sounds of other birds!

Have you heard a Black-Capped Chickadee? Add your comments below. Be sure to let us know where you live or where you’ve heard this bird sound before!


Reader Comments

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Singing in Austin Texas

After the rain stopped and the sun came out, a little chickadee sang happily in the oak tree in our front yard: fee-bee-bee, fee-bee-bee! This late Spring has been cooler than usual, so the birds have been singing a lot more than they do in late May.

Black cap chicadee

Friendly bird if hungry they fly to meet me. Will come to me when I hold food in my hand and will eat from my hand. Takes time but they have to feel trust.

So friendly

I’m in NEPA (northeast Pennsylvania). We have a group of chickadees that stays year round. There is one extremely friendly bird that flies along with me from the shed to the shelves where I put the seed. He/she talks to me and I answer it! Was wondering about who does the fee-bee call. Now I know, thanks!


I live in the thumb area of Michigan, and have had a few Chickadees fly within inches of my head. Some Chickadees sit on the deck railing a few feet away as I'm filling the feeder. They're such cute little birds, and I love watching them.

4 note chickadee

I live in Baton Rouge Louisiana and we have chickadees that chirp 4 notes. It’s very mockingjay.

2 calls

I live in Ontario. I've heard both these calls all my life. I have often whistled the "fee-bee" call back when I have heard it, especially on quiet early morning strolls. It was very easy for me to recognise who was making the "chickadee-dee-dee-dee-dee", but who was making the "fee-bee" has always been a mystery to me, until today. Thank you. Chickadees are one of the relatively few bird species that keep us company throughout the long, cold, sometimes dreary winters here.

chickadee calls

have always admired the chickadee, black capped predominantly here in south east alberta. had known that a pair had been nesting in yard, but left well enough along as with all. one morning a call that sounded as that of a very young robin been coaxed from nest asking for food. was actually chickadee just out of nest, with parent coaxing it along. youngsters "call" was a fast, quick "chickadee a dee" but only one "dee".

I want to know about the calls they make

Does the low two-note call mean rain?

Chickadees use the two-note

The Editors's picture

Chickadees use the two-note fee-bee call to communicate a variety of messages. When it’s loud, it’s usually related to males interested in attracting a mate or related to standing ground on its territory. When it’s softer, it’s often by one of the mated pair, either just calling to each other (“here I am”) or telling each other to take a turn getting food. If there’s any danger, they’ll use the “chickadee-dee-dee” call.

Black-capped Chickadee

I live in the Twin Cities (Minneapolis/St. Paul) Minnesota. I get the pleasure of hearing them all year long! Probably the sweetest sound a bird can make comes from the Chickadee! I love when I hear them call out to each other.

Talking to chickadees

I talk to my black-capped chickadees just about every day....they tell me whey need suet or the bird feeder is getting low...

Love my Blackcapped Chickadee

I am blessed this little rascal comes on my TREE for almost 2 years NOW. So Beautiful and Enertaining. I live in California

Now I know which bird makes

Now I know which bird makes this sound! I live in western Washington.

black capped chickadee

am in n. west ohio /heard them in my canadian yew bush !!!!!! and they stay hid in there but there sound and song is wonderful.


Two little birds come to my feeders all year round. I've heard the two-note call of a male, starting April Fools, Easter, 2018. I bought a nest box for the happy couple, and hope they use it! I'm located in Audubon, PA.

Black-Capped Chickadee

First time this year to see and hear comes often to my feeder. I live in Sugar Land Texas. The house finch also new this year but the Starlings are gone.

Black-capped chickadee

Well, after all those comments from USA and Canada, I am writing from Western Australia, a city of Gosnells. I am sure the 'strange' bird in my garden is this delightful bird and its song is quite shrill and short. Thank you for helping me find out what it is.

Black Capped Chickadee

I live in the Western North Carolina Mountains.....and recently set up a new feeder.... with Black Oil Sunflower Seed. The very first bird to come was the Black Capped Chickadee... after only one day. A few days later... came the Junco... and then the Tufted Titmouse. I love the birds.......watching and listening to them is just so rewarding.......

Black-capped Chickadee

I live in Merrimack,N.H. and recently realized the Black-capped Chickadee is responsible for singing that beautiful song. I have two bird houses, this year one has House Wrens and the other has the Black capped Chickadee.

I hear these birds in

I hear these birds in Colorado. We caught them on audio when filming. Their mournful song fit so well with the theme of the short film that we kept it in at the end.

black- capped chickadee

I live in eastern Nebraska and I have seen these birds a lot, and I heard this sound and wondered for a such a long time what bird made this sound. I never connected the two. I am so glad to know this information.

Black-capped Chickadee

I live in Minnesota and have been hearing this beautiful call, not sure of its owner! Now I know. So enjoying our spring friends flying about, singing. Best music!

black capped chickadees

Hi, I have black capped chickadees in my neighborhood but have been hearing them at 2 and 3 in the I have had them before when I lived much further north I was rather alarmed to hear their calls at such an odd this natural for bccs to sing at that time of day?

Early Morning Birdsong

The Editors's picture

Hi Cathy,

There’s nothing to be alarmed about. Chickadees, as well as many other birds, are very active at this time of year searching for mates, marking territory, and making nests. Male songbirds are most active in the early morning hours before dawn because they are either singing to impress females, or are telling other nearby birds to stay away from their nesting area. It’s completely natural. 

Black capped chickadee

I always knew where the chick-a-dee-dee-dee sound came from, but couldn't figure out which bird sang the two-note mournful song...I'm so happy to finally know. It is my favorite bird song and we have plenty of chickadees here in central Maine.

Black Capped Chickadee

I've heard these birds near my university in Calgary, AB, and could not figure out what type of bird they were based on their song. I had never seen, or heard these little guys before until I started at my uni. It seems like they are more populated in the SW end of the city. I just love their song. It's a beautiful sound to hear in the dead of winter. They are so cute too!

Favorite little visitor

I lived in Bowmanville, Ontario and had a nyjer feeder on my tiny back porch. Several times a day, the Black Capped Chickadee and Northern Cardinals--all three types--came to the feeder and enjoyed their snack! (I used nyjer because squirrels hate it.)

Sweet little birds who love sunflower seeds

These sweet little birds are all around my neighborhood in southern Tennessee, but I had never seen them until I put up two bird feeders by my window. Now they're there constantly, eating my black sunflower seeds. They pick some up, fly to a nearby branch, peck it open, eat it, then come back and get more. Out of all the different birds that come to my feeder, they're my favorite. God made them so beautiful!

black capped chickadee

Here in Winnipeg, Canada this is also a familar sound from childhood. It is the harbinger of spring; simple, a little sad, yet somehow hopeful that warmer weather is just around the corner. I found 3 of these little ones in my bird feeder about a week ago and when I heard them sing out, I recognized their call instantly. This morning, as I trudged through a drift of newly fallen snow, I heard these two notes coming from just above my head. Then right at the wistful end of the song, a little double note up the scale. There was a pause, then ever so faintly on the wind, I heard the song returned, full of promise that spring was just around the corner. Thank you little black capped chickadee.

Black capped chickadee sound

i have heard this bird "sing" that two note song for over 10 years. Never could see it but plenty of chickadees around. Finally it showed itself & I could not believe it is the bird that has that utters this sound. Thank you!!!