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Weekly Report - 2017-03-03 - Black-capped Chickadee-dee-dee!

One can sense that spring is on the way when you spend a morning on the Nature Trail in March! Bird singing this time of year increases, and even on cold mornings, the chorus of bird song rises with the sun. This morning was another great morning with a lot of species and activity!

I started my walk scanning the baseball fields to search for something different among the flock of Canada Geese. I didn't have any different species, but I did find an interesting color variation of white spotting on the neck of one bird. Very interesting to see! Soon enough, these migratory Canada Geese will be gone from our area and en route to their arctic breeding grounds.

The male Eastern Bluebird was back on his perch atop the bird box in the upper parking lot. This time, it had two females flying to the box, and he was displaying for both. I haven't witnessed such behavior in bluebirds before, but I hope the other female bird finds the other boxes we have around the property to build another nest!

The trail was alive with activity once I hit the trailhead! Particularly, there were lots of Carolina Chickadees singing and bouncing from branch to branch. Among them, I heard a distinct, two-note song and observed a slightly different looking bird. After careful study, I realized this was a Black-capped Chickadee! We predominantly have Carolina Chickadees in our area, but every few years, Black-capped Chickadees' ranges move south temporarily for the season due to a higher population influx in their native breeding grounds. There are quite a few species that expand their range every few years due to this concept, and when this occurs, it is called an irruption. Black-capped Chickadees are a notoriously irruptive species, with the last irruption to our area occuring during the 2012-2013 winter season.

A rarity to our area, this observation of Black-capped Chickadee represents the fourth property record of this species. All records of this bird have occurred between January and March, and all three previous records of this bird were in 2013. This is the first sighting of this bird on the Nature Trail in four years!

eBird Checklist:

Bethel Springs E.S.--Nature Trail

Mar 3, 2017

7:32 AM


0.25 miles

21 Minutes

All birds reported? Yes

Comments: Walk from upper parking lot to closest bluebird box then to the trail. Cold and windy conditions!

Submitted from eBird for iOS, version 1.4.2 Build 114

72 Canada Goose

2 Mourning Dove

1 Red-bellied Woodpecker

1 Downy Woodpecker

3 Blue Jay

7 American Crow

1 Fish Crow

5 Carolina Chickadee

1 Black-capped Chickadee -- First observed two obvious white wing bars and a seemingly larger head. Then, I observed a slightly longer and more extensive bib in addition to an olive washed nape. The bird flew over to a group of Carolina Chickadees and began foraging and singing its two note song.

3 Tufted Titmouse

3 Carolina Wren

3 Eastern Bluebird

7 American Robin

1 Northern Mockingbird

16 European Starling

9 Dark-eyed Junco

3 Song Sparrow

3 Northern Cardinal

2 Brown-headed Cowbird

2 House Finch



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