Mountain ChickadeeBlair Bernson/Macaulay Library

Get to Know Both Chickadee Sounds

Chickadees are very vocal birds. They sing two distinct vocalizations—so different that many people think they come from different species. There’s the chick-a-dee-dee-dee sound and the fee-bee song. The fee-bee song is tricky to hear in the soundscape, but we’ve provided you with an isolated version here to learn from before you try to listen for it in context.

As Found in the Field

In the following video, you’ll encounter a Mountain Chickadee making its chick-a-dee-dee-dee sound—and multitasking with food in its beak, too!

Timothy Barksdale/Macaulay Library

How to Talk About It

Chick-a-dee-dee-dee

MnemonicChick-a-dee-dee-dee
PitchSlightly descending
Tone QualityScolding and harsh
HintThis sound is more “hoarse” than the chick-a-dee-dee-dee of the similar-sounding (to human ears) Black-capped Chickadee.

 

Fee-bee

MnemonicFee-bee
PitchLower in the second note than in the first
RepetitionSometimes includes more than one fee or more than one bee
Tone QualityClear high whistles

Learn the Sound Pattern

Here’s the fee-bee song of the Mountain Chickadee.

Justin M Hite/Macaulay Library

Song Spotlight

Now listen for the Mountain Chickadee. This is great practice for tuning into the less-obvious bird sounds in the field. Which variation do you hear?

Photo: Isaac Sanchez/CC BY 2.0. Audio: Gregory F Budney/Macaulay Library You may have noticed other birds in this soundscape that we didn’t spotlight. All About Birds is a great resource to learn more about these birds’ songs:

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