Date: 1/3/18 9:21 am
From: Steven Brown <sbrown37...>
Subject: [cobirds] Mountain Chickadee Musings
Hey COBirders,

I have been following the thread of MOCH’s being seen along the Front Range, and had a little to add about my yard.
As I posted earlier, I have been seeing all kinds of mountain birds in my yard the last two months, with good numbers and diversity I don’t usually get.

Over the 27 years we have lived in NW Colo Spgs, (in a residential neighborhood, not out in the woods), we have seen MOCH numbers increase, and become permanent yard residents. Initially we only had a few around in the winter, but sometime in the '90’s they started hanging around all year, and now even nest in the yard some years.

That being said, I have banded about 40 in the yard over the last 6 years, mostly young, newly fledged ones. In recent years I have banded 9 in 2015, 8 in 2016, 6 in the first 10 months of 2017. But THIS is ridiculous. Since November 1, 2017 I have banded 65 in my yard, 90% hatch-year birds. I seem to add another new one almost daily, and to re-capture several others banded earlier in the season.

Anecdotally, when we first came to town in 1980 MOCH’s were only really seen in the winter months, in small numbers, in large established conifers like in the old Victorian neighborhood North of Colorado College. As I said, now they are permanent residents on the West side of town, and seen daily.

Also a note on Pygmy Nuthatches. Previously I had only seen single birds, on three occasions in the yard, over 27 years. This year I am regularly seeing small flocks in the yard, the neighborhood, and around Mountain Shadows Park, in even small pines. I have banded 12 here so far this winter, three on 1/1/18. (they are pretty cute in the hand, but have REAL long, REAL sharp claws. That makes sense!)

Happy start to the Birding New Year,
Steve Brown
Colo Spgs

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