Date: 3/14/17 9:55 am
From: Jane & Huey <h2ofowl...>
Subject: Re: Allegheny County - Chickadees
This is an interesting conversation, so I thought I'd throw in my two cents.
We live in Laureldale, Berks County. I have always thought that the
year-round resident chickadees visiting our feeders were hybrids, even
though they sing the Carolina song. If I travel 20 miles north to the
mountains near Port Clinton, the chickadees sing the black-capped song. It's
true that the Carolinas have been expanding their range northward, so I'm
not sure anymore if our chickadees are hybrids or pure Carolinas. I believe
some of the winter visitors are black-capped.

By the way, it's still snowing here. With the wind blowing it around, it's
hard to tell how much we got, but it's a lot!
I filled all of the feeders yesterday afternoon. Even though it's still
snowing, there's a lot of activity at the feeders.
All the usual birds are here including Carolina wren and song sparrow (first
one I've seen in a while).

Stay safe everyone!

Huey Evangelista
Laureldale, Berks County

--------------------------------------------------
From: "Aidan Place" <placea...>
Sent: Monday, March 13, 2017 10:09 PM
To: <PABIRDS...>
Subject: Re: [PABIRDS] Allegheny County - Chickadees

> Very elucidating observations, thank you very much Alan Buriak! Based off
> what I saw this weekend (honestly likely the only time I've really paid
> much attention to chickadees in North Park), I would generally agree that
> the birds seemed like hybrids and I, personally, would not enter any as
> anything other than BCCH/CACH. That being said, we didn't bird the Upper
> Field and I'm very interested in returning now and checking out the
> chickadees there!
>
> Speaking on Gibsonia, I have heard third hand (so can't really vouch for
> this myself) from I believe Bob Mulvihill that Gibsonia marks essentially
> the current north/south demarcation point between the two species with
> those north being black-capped and south being Carolina. Your observations
> of phenotypically black-capped chickadees in Gibsonia would fit this.
>
> Even excluding North Park (where a number of recent black-capped reports
> exist away from the Upper Field), there remain a number of rather
> erroneous
> reports of black-capped chickadees from Allegheny County. Recent ebird
> records exist of black-capped chickadee from Frick Park, Schenley Park,
> the
> Homewood Cemetery, and even Boyce-Mayview Park among other areas well
> within the zone of Carolinas. While of course, it is within the range of
> possibility for a BCCH to occur in these areas (particularly during the
> winter), the number of these reports at the very least suggests these are
> simply misreported birds.
>
> Essentially my point is that birders ought to be much more cautious about
> what chickadees they are reporting, especially in around Pittsburgh. The
> method by which birders are reporting chickadees currently seems to be
> creating a sizable dump of rather inaccurate eBird data which is
> exaggerating the number of black-capped chickadees in the county.
>
> Good birding,
> Aidan Place
> Allegheny County
>
> On Mon, Mar 13, 2017 at 7:31 PM, Dave Brooke <davbrooke...> wrote:
>
>> I found your discussion about Black-capped vs Carolina quite interesting
>> and
>> it led me to wonder if I was reporting my Chickadee observations
>> correctly.
>> Interestingly, I just had this discussion with Gabi Hughes from the WPAS.
>> She stated that they saw a mix at Beechwood but we probably only see
>> Black-capped at Harrison Hills Park (where we were having this
>> discussion).
>> Using the map tools available on Google Maps, I measured from the edge of
>> the contact zone sited in the Sibley article to North Park (5mi), to
>> Beechwood Farms (5.5mi), and to Harrison Hills (23mi). If in fact, the
>> contact zone has shifted north since the original map was created, North
>> Park and Beechwood could easily be within the zone while Harrison Hills
>> would remain a reasonable distance away.
>> I birded Harrison Hills today and feel pretty confident that all of the
>> Chickadees I saw were Black-capped. I'm a fairly new birder so I lack the
>> skills and experience of most of you posting to this list.
>> Those Chickadees from Harrison Hills can be seen here
>> https://www.flickr.com/photos/ddbphoto/shares/88sZ9N
>> Or on the Ebird checklist http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist/S35163129
>>
>> Dave Brooke
>>
>> -----Original Message-----
>> From: Bird discussion list for Pennsylvania
>> [mailto:<PABIRDS...>] On Behalf Of Alan Buriak
>> Sent: Monday, March 13, 2017 11:31 AM
>> To: <PABIRDS...>
>> Subject: Re: [PABIRDS] Allegheny County - Chickadees
>>
>> Sameer and PA Birders,
>>
>>
>> I have been one of the primary eBird contributors for the North Park area
>> for the last 1-2 years, so I can speak to this topic.
>>
>>
>> First, if you check the map of the hybrid zone in the following link by
>> David Sibley, it places North Park just north of the top edge of the
>> zone,
>> suggesting that pure Black-capped should be found there.
>>
>> http://www.sibleyguides.com/bird-info/black-capped-
>> chickadee/black-capped-ca
>> rolina-chickadee/
>>
>> <http://www.sibleyguides.com/bird-info/black-capped-
>> chickadee/black-capped-c
>> arolina-chickadee/>However that article was posted in 2010, and the data
>> used for the map was probably even older.
>>
>>
>> Pertaining to North Park, I have also absolutely observed that the
>> chickadee
>> situation there has become very muddled. I haven't paid that close of
>> attention to how others are submitting them, but you will notice that for
>> a
>> couple years, I have been submitting all chickadees in North Park from
>> Latodami Nature Center south as Carolina/Black-capped Chickadee. I
>> observed
>> a gradual intrusion of Carolina physical traits and vocalizations that
>> made
>> it clear to me that the hybrid zone had shifted north to engulf most of
>> North Park. I do, however, still observe birds in the upper field area,
>> at
>> the northernmost part of North Park, that fit pure Black-capped
>> Chickadee,
>> and I regularly still hear Black-capped songs around the field. I think
>> it
>> is reasonable to say that the upper field is one of the last holdout
>> areas
>> of pure Black-cappeds in North Park, both because it is at the
>> northernmost
>> extreme part of the park, and also because it is at one of the higher
>> elevations vs most of the park. Doing a quick check of the Latodami
>> Nature
>> Center hot spot, most of the recent checklists by people other than
>> myself
>> also report the chickadees as Carolina/Black-capped Chickadee, although
>> there are a few that are listed as pure Black-capped. If you are seeing
>> that most reports are pure Black-capped, that might be including older
>> data.
>> I actually made a comment in my January 13th checklist from Latodami
>> Nature
>> Center that speaks directly to this topic:
>>
>> http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist/S33645124
>>
>> I live in Gibsonia, to the east and a little north of North Park's
>> latitude.
>> I still have predominantly pure Black-capped Chickadees here, both in
>> physical appearance, song, and call. I have never heard a Carolina song
>> here yet, and can't see any obvious intrusion of Carolina physical
>> traits.
>> I have, however, noticed an ever so slightly quickened call pace of a
>> couple
>> single birds in the past few months, which makes we wary of the
>> possibility
>> of hybrid intrusion. With all my observations on the issue locally
>> coming
>> from my house and North Park, I personally would place the new top edge
>> of
>> the hybrid zone somewhere east of North Park and just west of the
>> Gibsonia
>> area. If you are wanting to go somewhere in Allegheny County where you
>> should have no problem seeing pure Black-capped Chickadees, Harrison
>> Hills
>> County Park in Natrona Heights would be the place, as it is physically
>> located at the far northeast corner of the county, the farthest point
>> from
>> the hybrid zone.
>>
>> As for the birds you were seeing at North Park yesterday, I'd say that
>> even
>> though they are singing Carolina and have Carolina physical traits, they
>> are
>> likely hybrids. It seems certain that the hybrid zone has shifted north,
>> but not far enough north to place pure Carolinas regularly in North Park,
>> and as you alluded to, there is no reason to think that pure Carolinas
>> would
>> be irrupting northward at this time of year. Admittedly, I often do not
>> attempt to discern individual birds within the hybrid zone, and often
>> just
>> submit them as Carolina/Black-capped Chickadee. Catching pure birds of
>> either type irrupting northward or southward is dicey because the hybrids
>> themselves are so variable. The fact that you heard so many Carolina
>> songs
>> is notable however, as I personally have still heard a lot of
>> Black-capped
>> songs even in the main part of the park. This may be a very recent
>> development. You have certainly brought up a topic that I intend to keep
>> a
>> closer eye on. If anything I have said here is incorrect or
>> misrepresented,
>> somebody out there please call me out on it, but hopefully I have
>> contributed something useful!
>>
>> Good birding,
>> Alan Buriak
>> Gibsonia, Allegheny County
>>
>>
>> ________________________________
>> From: Bird discussion list for Pennsylvania <PABIRDS...> on
>> behalf of Sameer Apte <sameerapte1...>
>> Sent: Monday, March 13, 2017 1:20 AM
>> To: <PABIRDS...>
>> Subject: [PABIRDS] Allegheny County - Chickadees
>>
>> This afternoon, Aidan Place, Jack Chaillet, and I birded North Park,
>> where
>> we searched for Black-capped Chickadee (which Jack and I needed for our
>> county year lists). Despite the many reports of exclusively BCCH at this
>> location, every chickadee we found either resembled a pure Carolina or
>> predominantly resembled Carolina in phenotype. One chickadee at lake
>> elevation (970') had extensive white on the tertials and on the cheek
>> patch,
>> and several chickadees at the Latodami Nature Center (1110') were clear
>> phenotypic hybrids between Black-capped and Carolina. Although we heard
>> many
>> Carolina songs, we did not hear a single Black-capped song, and many of
>> the
>> hybrids certainly appeared to be possible backcrosses with Carolina
>> Chickadees.
>>
>> With BCCH reaching their furthest range southward around this time of
>> year,
>> it begs the question as to why almost every chickadee seen in North Park
>> is
>> identified as BCCH on eBird. Are most of these reports are from a higher
>> elevation, where pure Black-cappeds are certainly plausible? Are
>> Carolinas
>> (which are expanding northward) being dismissed as the traditional
>> species
>> of Black-capped at this particular location and in other places north of
>> the
>> Allegheny River (which I believe has been the demarcation line for the
>> last
>> fifteen years or so)? Or was our sighting just highly unlikely and
>> exceptional?
>>
>> I'd love to hear thoughts and experiences from people in the Pittsburgh
>> metro area about this paradox -- it seems like chickadee identification
>> is
>> a
>> thing that comes up once in a while, but maybe not as much as it should
>> in
>> an area smack dab in the middle (or maybe not anymore) of the
>> hybridization
>> zone. Perhaps it would be constructive to conduct a sort of informal
>> census
>> of areas north of the Allegheny River to determine the current
>> demarcation
>> line and hybrid zone of this species in the area.
>>
>> And if anyone has any clue what exactly those mutt chickadees in North
>> Park
>> really are, please let me know.
>>
>> Thanks and good birding,
>> Sameer Apte
>>
 
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