One of the best ways you can help defend your garden and your flowerbed plants from a long list of insects and pests that attack it is to attract chickadees to your yard.
Chickadees are one of the most beloved birds of all – not just for bird enthusiasts – but for gardeners as well! Not only are they one of the friendliest and most social of all backyard bird species, they also happen to be one of the most vocal – filling the air with a wondrously happy chirp as they fly about.
Chickadees have been known to become so tame that they will land right in the hands of humans. They also play well with others, befriending many small and large birds alike. That can be especially helpful for those who have bird feeders and want a wide range of birds to visit their backyards.
But beyond all of their friendliness and cuteness, what really makes chickadees valuable is their ability to keep insect populations under control. Insects that love to feast on everything from vegetable plants and fruit and nut trees, to all kinds of perennial and annual flowers.
The Small But Mighty Chickadee – How To Attract Chickadees To Your Garden & Flowerbeds
The chickadee might be small in stature, but it has an incredibly big appetite. In fact, its appetite is so big that it routinely consumes over 30% of its body weight every day!
And not only does it consume insects that can be serious pests to plants such as caterpillars, aphids, moths, beetles and ants, it also loves to feast on a wide variety of weed seeds too, which can play a big role in keeping weeds out of gardens and flowerbeds too.
Perhaps best of all, chickadees are not fond of migrating. That means that once you attract them, they can remain in your garden and yard throughout their life. With all of those benefits, it’s easy to see why attracting them into your landscape is such a win-win for gardeners!
How To Attract Chickadees To Your Garden & Flowerbeds
Getting chickadees to come calling is actually a relatively easy task. To have them visit and stay – it all comes down to providing them adequate sources of food, water and shelter. When doing this, however, you need to think of what they will need in all four seasons, not just the spring, summer and fall.
Like nearly all living creatures, the most important attraction of all for chickadees is food. And the more of their favorite food sources you can provide, the likelier they will be to stay.
Number one on the list of what chickadees love are plants. The more plant life you have growing, the more likely there will be insects and seeds for the chickadees to consume. And the plants chickadees love most are ones that have flowers with seed heads.
Four of the best perennials of all to plant for this are Black-eyed Susan, Coneflower, Blanketflower and Bee balm. All have attractive blooms and produce large seed heads that chickadees love. All of these also happen to attract pollinators, which help your garden and flowerbeds as well.
Chickadees also love having shelter trees nearby. Oak, birch, maple and other hardwood trees all provide excellent shelter for the birds. As do pine trees. But even more, these trees are often home to caterpillars and insects, providing even more food for the chickadees.
Feeding Chickadees With Feeders – How To Attract Chickadees To Your Garden & Flowerbeds
In addition to providing chickadees with the plants they love for food and insects, supplementing their food supply with bird feeders is one of the easiest and best methods for attracting chickadees and getting them to take up permanent residence.
This can be especially true when feeding them through the winter when insects and seeds may not be readily available. The key here to success is keeping the feeders filled regularly! See our article: How To Make Your Own Birdseed At Home And Save
Start by installing a feeder that is easy for them to use and visit. Chickadees are small birds and aren’t higher up in the food chain. Because of this, they need a bird feeder to keep them safe from predators. One of the best choices for chickadees is a metal cage tube bird feeder.
The metal cage gives chickadees plenty of space to get in and out while feeding, but keeps the larger birds and animals at bay. It’s best if your cage feeder has multiple feeding ports and can handle weather elements. Affiliate Link : Mosley Caged Bird Feeder
Another great option for chickadees is a Nyjer bird seed feeder. As the name suggests, it’s perfect for feeding Nyjer seeds, which as you will see below, chickadees love. Again, ensure that the seeder has multiple ports so that all small birds attracted to such a feeder can access the seed. Affiliate Product Link : Premium Grade Metal Tube Bird Feeder,2-Pack
Feeding Chickadees – How To Attract Chickadees To Your Garden & Flowerbeds
So now that you know which feeders work best, what is the best food to fill your feeders with to attract chickadees?
Chickadees mostly stick to a healthy diet, and sunflower seeds are high on the list of the healthy nuts they enjoy. So much so that even the type of sunflower seeds does not matter. Making such seeds available through feeders in your garden will attract chickadees, titmice, woodpeckers, finches, and many other small birds as well.
Peanuts are another great choice. They have protein and fat in ample amounts. Both of these nutrients are especially necessary for chickadees during the winter months. When feeding chickadees peanuts, always feed with shelled peanuts. It can be difficult for them to break the hard outer shell because of their small beaks.
Nyjer seeds are also a great feed for chickadees and many other birds. They are small and that is why the nyjer feeder works well for feeding. You can also mix nyjer with sunflower seeds and peanuts for a chickadee feast.
Last but not least, safflower seeds are a regular staple of chickadees. However, there is a difference between safflower seeds and other seeds. Most other birds will ignore safflower seeds. So, if you only want to attract chickadees, they are an excellent choice for bringing them in!
As with attracting all birds, a water source is important for hydration for chickadees. Chickadees will source water quite easily from anywhere. They are more than happy to visit bird baths and small outdoor ponds.
If you have neither, consider placing a few dog bowls of water under trees and out of the way. As with any stagnant outdoor water source, always be sure to empty and refill bowls regularly to keep the water both clean and free of mosquito larvae.
Nesting Boxes / Protection
In the spring, chickadees are cavity nesters. Chickadees will occupy any cavity left empty by other birds. However, they modify these cavities by collecting moss and animal fur to soften the spot for eggs.
If such cavities aren’t available in your garden, one can install a nest box. These are great for not only chickadees, but wrens and other small birds. When installing a nest box, do not put a perch on the box as it can make it easy for predators to get to them.
Chickadees also love to use unoccupied nest boxes during the winter. An unoccupied bird house provides a much-needed warm winter place and an easy entry point. It also helps insulate them from the winter winds and cold.
Additional Helpful Hints For Attracting Chickadees To Your Garden & Flowerbeds
Chickadees are curious birds. Any unusual noise or sight in the vicinity attracts them. Spark their curiosity by adding a fountain or bird bath and the chances of attracting them increase significantly.
Chickadees do not prefer staying alone. They prefer places where other small birds like kinglets, titmice, and nuthatches reside. Spend time and effort attracting these birds, and the chances of attracting chickadees increase.
At the same time, try to discourage the presence of larger birds in the garden by blocking off their nesting spaces. Chickadees are scared of them, so avoid attracting the larger bullying birds like pigeons, grackles, and sparrows.
Here is to bringing chickadees into your landscape this year, and having less pests to bother your plants!
This Is My Garden is a garden website created by gardeners, for gardeners. We publish two articles every week, 52 weeks a year. Sign up today to follow via email, or follow along on Facebook here : This Is My Garden. This article may contain affiliate links.