Mountain Chickadee
(Poecile gambeli)


Picture of bird
© Jukka Jantunen (
For additional photos and vocalizations, visit Dendroica. (Link opens in a new window.)

The Mountain Chickadee is a common resident of the drier coniferous forests of southern British Columbia and Alberta. The species is monitored in Canada by the Breeding Bird Survey and the Christmas Bird Count, results of which demonstrate wide inter-annual fluctuations but generally little change in the population relative to the early 1970s. Management concerns centre on the retention and availability of decaying trees that are needed for nest sites. This species has been identified as a priority for conservation and/or stewardship in one or more Bird Conservation Region Strategies in Canada.


Main designations for the species
DesignationStatusDateSubspecies, population
IUCN (Global)Least concern2018 
Wild Species (Canada)Secure2015 
Bird Conservation Region StrategyPriority Species2013 

Population status

Geographic area or populationPopulation change relative to ~1970ReliabilityStatus in relation to goal
CanadaLittle ChangeMediumAt an Acceptable Level

Population estimate

Geographic area or populationPopulation estimate
Canada1,000,000 - 5,000,000 adults

Distribution maps


Migration strategy, occurrence


Responsibility for conservation

Geographic areaResponsibility based on % of global population

General nesting period in Canada

Nesting period starts between late April and late May and ends between mid-July and late July, depending on the region. Before or after this period, the probability of an active nest is lower.

Conservation and management

Mountain Chickadees are generally more common in older forests than in recently logged forests (McCallum et al. 1999). Breeding densities are regulated to some extent by the availability of nest sites; the species readily accepts nest boxes, especially in areas where natural nest sites (e.g., decaying snags, aspens) are uncommon (McCallum et al. 1999). Populations fluctuate with conifer seed abundance (McCallum et al. 1999) and with pine beetle outbreaks (Martin et al. 2006). The species may benefit from retention of aspen and snags during salvage logging after Pine Beetle outbreaks (Environment Canada 2011a, Environment Canada 2011).


Bird conservation region strategies

Environment and Climate Change Canada and partners have developed Bird Conservation Region Strategies in each of Canada’s Bird Conservation Regions (BCRs). In these strategies, selected species are identified as priorities for one or more of the following reasons:

  • conservation concerns (i.e., species vulnerable due to population size, distribution, population trend, abundance, or threats)
  • stewardship responsibilities (i.e., species that typify the regional avifauna or have a large proportion of their range or population in the sub-region)
  • management concerns (i.e., species that require ongoing management because of their socio-economic importance as game species, or because of their impacts on other species or habitats)
  • other concerns (i.e., species deemed a priority by regional experts for other reasons than those listed above or because they are listed as species at risk or concern at the provincial level)

Select any of the sub-regions below to view the BCR strategy for additional details.

BCRs, marine biogeographic units, and sub-regions in which the species is listed as a priority
RegionSub-region and priority type
Great BasinGreat Basin, sub-region and priority type: Pacific and Yukon -- Conservation