Anishinaabe Word of The Day

Chickadee (gijigijigaaneshiinh)

The chickadees are a group of North American birds in the family Paridae included in the genus Poecile. Species found in North America are referred to as chickadees; species found elsewhere in the world are called tits.[1][2] They are small-sized birds overall, usually having the crown of the head and throat patch distinctly darker than the body. They are at least 6 to 14 centimeters (2.4 to 5.5 inches) in size.

Their name reputedly comes from the fact that their calls make a distinctive “chick-a-dee-dee-dee”,[3] though their normal call is actually “fee-bee,” and the “chick-a-dee-dee-dee” call is an alarm call. The number of “dees” depends on the predator.[4]

The chickadee (specifically the black-capped chickadee Poecile atricapillus, formerly Parus atricapillus) is the official bird for the US states of Massachusetts and Maine,[5][6][7] the Canadian province of New Brunswick,[8] and the city of CalgaryAlberta.[9]

One holarctic species is referred to by a different name in each part of its range: grey-headed chickadee in North America and Siberian tit in Eurasia.


Audio Piece

Anishinaabe Story

Source (

Gijigijigaaneshiinh (Chickadee). Written and sung by Margaret Noodin.

Here is a song written about chickadees who never leave and the importance of becoming the spirit you want to see in the world. It’s short and based on their actual calls – the one that identifies them and the ones they use to call to each other. It’s also inspired in part by Linda LeGarde Grover’s novel, The Road Back to Sweetgrass.

This poem is from the bookGijigijigaaneshiinh Gikendaan (What the Chickadee Knows). The book is a collection of poems in Anishinaabemowin and English by Margaret Noodin. It can be purchased from Wayne State University Press.


Related Words

Enendam jigijigaaneshiinh wiikojitood ge-miijid.
The chickadee is brilliant at getting at its food.