Thursday, August 4, 2011


A Carolina Chickadee, where it belongs - Ocean County, NJ. I heard a Carolina-type song in Warren County today - usually solid "Black-capped" country.

The birds are coming to me lately.

I haven't had a chance to do much birding around my property this summer, but now I keep seeing "good" species while poking around in the yard, going about my business. Post-breeding wanderers, I assume.

A blue-gray gnatcatcher feeding fledglings in the rose-of-sharon and on my garden fence (they move easily through 1-inch chicken wire holes, incidentally). A family of great-crested flycatchers making sallies out over the yard. A blue-winged warbler gleaning for caterpillars between an indifferent resident pair of bluebirds. 

But today was the best one. A Carolina chickadee singing from the old apple tree. That is, at least a chickadee was singing a Carolina-type song. Here in Warren County, NJ (Mansfield Twp), we are a good 30 miles or so from the boundary between northern Black-capped and southern Carolina chickadees. Complicating things is the fact that they hybridize, and that they can learn the "wrong" song near the hybridization zone. But, I grew up in Hunterdon County, 30 minutes to the south, and I've never heard a Carolina song there. So this was an interesting treat either way...even if it could be an evil omen of a changing climate?

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