Subject: BC chickadee songs Date: May 1 13:59:36 1995 From: Dennis Paulson - dpaulson at ups.edu
Tweeters, I would appreciate it if you would pay attention to the whistled songs that the Black-capped Chickadees give in your neighborhood or when you're out and about. The dialect at least from Seattle to Ocean Shores is entirely different from that of Black-caps all over the rest of the country, and I'm trying to work out how widespread this is in populations of chickadees west of the Cascades from BC to OR. The birds in my yard have (typically) a 4-noted whistle, diminishing toward the end, and this sort of call seems common in the Puget Sound area. Throughout most of North America, *all* BCCH sing "feee-beee" with the first note conspicuously higher than the second. From the Rockies west, you also hear a 3-noted "fee-bee-bee" with the first note higher. But west of the Cascades, it's entirely different. If you could just let me know how many notes your chickadee songs have and which are highest or lowest, that would do it. Any information about variation would also be interesting. Very important is to include where this information comes from.
I'm disconnected from tweeters for a week, so I'd appreciate any information mailed directly to me. I tried WOSNEWS a few years ago and got very little response, so I'm curious to find out if e-mail works better. Chickadees give their whistled "songs" most commonly in the morning, and most if not all of us on this list should have Black-capped Chickadees nearby. I'll summarize the hundreds of responses I expect to get.
I'm especially interested in responses away from the Seattle-Olympia axis. I have 20-year-old recordings from Skagit County in which the chickadees sound like eastern chickadees, so maybe a new dialect has arisen!
Dennis Paulson, Director phone: (206) 756-3798 Slater Museum of Natural History fax: (206) 756-3352 University of Puget Sound e-mail: dpaulson at ups.edu Tacoma, WA 98416