(For the February, 2019 issue of BraeBirds)

Carolina Chickadee, BraeBurn No. 14, February 5, 2018

The brush and small trees along the fence of hole number 14 is a great place to see small birds as they flitter about looking for insects, seeds, and berries.  Standing there one day with my camera I saw a Pine Warbler, a Yellow-rumped Warbler, a Ruby-crowned Kinglet, and the Carolina Chickadee shown in the photo.  That brush gives these small birds great cover from predators but it makes taking an in-focus photo a challenge. 
 
The Carolina Chickadee is a very close relative and looks nearly identical to the Black-capped Chickadee which is a northern US and Canadian bird.  The Carolina Chickadee is a southeastern US bird and where the two ranges overlap, you will have a very tough time distinguishing between the two.  In fact, I thought that I was seeing a Black-capped Chickadee until I checked the range map and saw that eastern Texas – and BraeBurn – were in Carolina Chickadee territory.
 
I had only seen a Carolina Chickadee one other time at BraeBurn before I took the photo above, probably because they are so adept at staying hidden.  It is said that John James Audubon himself named the Carolina Chickadee when he was in South Carolina.  And this is one of the birds that is named after its song – it sings a high-pitched chickadeedee – so you may hear it on number 14 before you see it.