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What Is the State Bird of Massachusetts?

By Christina Edwards
Updated May 17, 2024
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The black-capped chickadee, or Poecile atricapillus, is the state bird of Massachusetts. It is a native resident to the northernmost parts of the continental United States, and it can also be found in Canada. This small bird can often be described as cute. Its name is derived from the black color of the top of its head.

Around 1931, a women's club of this state proposed to make the veery thrush the official state bird of Massachusetts. Although a bill went to the state legislature to finalize this, it did not pass. In 1941, however, the state legislature passed a bill that made the black-capped chickadee the state bird of Massachusetts. A few years before this, in 1927, this was also made the official state bird of Maine.

The state bird of Massachusetts can also be found in several other northern states. It is also abundant in the southern half of Canada and Alaska. They are generally considered non-migratory birds, meaning that they do not fly south for the winter. Some young birds will fly south, but this is not considered a true migration.

Black-capped chickadees can usually be found in either mixed or deciduous forests. They often prefer to occupy natural cavities or cavities made by other animals. Many of these birds, for instance, will nest in cavities abandoned by woodpeckers. Birch and alder trees are typically preferred, but the state bird of Massachusetts will nest anywhere.

This is somewhat of a small bird, but it does have a long tail. Males are slightly larger than females. It also has a short neck and a large head.

The top of the black-capped chickadee's head is black. Its cheeks and chest are usually white, and the area under its beak and its throat are black. A black-capped chickadee's sides are typically tan, and its back, wings, and tail are gray.

During the summer months, the state bird of Massachusetts usually prefers to eat spiders, caterpillars, and other insects. In the wintertime, however, it will supplement this diet with any seeds and berries that it can find. Large flocks of black-capped chickadees can often be seen searching for food in the autumn and winter months. Other bird species, like nuthatches, can also be found in these flocks. These other birds benefit by having food sources located by the chickadees, which call out whenever they find food.

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