[CT Birds] Poecile and Baeolophus

Stephen Broker ls.broker at cox.net
Tue Dec 17 22:34:50 EST 2013

From Steve Broker (Cheshire):

Well, I thought I'd finally get a chance for a bedtime look at the new publication, The Birds of New Hampshire (Keith & Fox, 2013.), and I made the mistake of skimming Black-capped Chickadee, Boreal Chickadee, and Tufted Titmouse species entries first.  What can you do?  In any case, here's the definitive word from north of us.

The Birds of New Hampshire

Black-capped Chickadee:  "Status:  A permanent resident statewide, breeding in most habitats up to 3000 feet elevation, sometimes wandering higher in post breeding flocks.  Some migration both seasonally and elevationally in spring and fall with occasional large fall movements. 

"Spring:  Changing numbers of birds at fixed locations such as feeders and birds seen migrating indicate movement.   

"Summer and breeding. Fluctuations sometimes occur either north or south of the White Mountains and are associated with severe weather, but the overall pattern is consistent.  New Hampshire BBS data showed a small increase in the population trend of an average of +1.7% per year in 1966-2009 and 1999-2009.  Absolute counts on 22 BBS routes showed a steady rise from 200 in 1966 to 500 in 1993.  National BBS reports indicated an increase 1966-1979 in the northeast and especially high counts in New Hampshire . . . though more recent data show the regional annual increase at only 1.8% in 1999-2009.  [See Appendix IV.]

"Winter.  CBC data provide the best winter snapshot of this species.  Better coverage in more recent years may have produced slightly higher counts.  Statewide CBC data 1990-2009 range from 9045 in 1991 to 15,600 in 2005 with a mean of 11,838. . . While there are individual reports from across the state throughout the winter period no particular patterns emerge.  Occasional large fall migrations usually are not reflected in high winter counts, migrants apparently passing farther south.  High winter counts are thought to reflect abundance of food in those areas." 

Boreal Chickadee:  "Status. Fairly common essentially nonmigratory resident in spruce-fir forests above 3000 feet elevation in the White Mountains.  Also found regularly at lower elevations in the northern part of the state.  Occasionally strays south in winter."
[If you want to see Boreal Chickadees, best to finagle an invitation to hike with Dave Provencher.]

Tufted Titmouse:  "Early reports to 1950. [In the late 1700s, Tufted Titmouse] was breeding only as far north as New Jersey, was apparently common on Long Island by 1844 (Bull 1974), was first recorded in Connecticut in 1872 (Sage et al. 1913), and was first recorded for ME about 1890 (Palmer 1949). . . Thus from 1792 through 1956, though it may have occurred accidentally, there are no credible reports for New Hampshire.

"1950 to present. Great expansion to virtually statewide distribution year-round and widespread breeding.  Listed as increasing in hardwood and mixed forest by Hunt (2009b), it tends to avoid heavy conifer forest.

"Winter. The first known successful wintering was in the Connecticut River valley 1970-1971 (fide H.C. Anderson).  CBC data illustrate its growing distribution. . . Winter census data showed an increase from 68 in 1970 to 442 in 1975 (ASNH Newsletter).  Statewide CBC totals were 760 in 1989, rose to 1875 in 2004 and fell slightly to 1500 by 2009.  &tc."

[The above would suggest that early winter CBC data for Black-capped Chickadee and Tufted Titmouse are pretty similar in Connecticut and New Hampshire.  Key factors:  severe weather, abundance of food.  With that, to bed and sweet dreams.]


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