Chickadee update |

Chickadee update

Dear Editor:Three springs ago we reported on an unusual chickadee in our neighborhood who sang what seemed a unique three-note song of a descending whole step and half step (B-flat to A-flat to G: the three pitches of the second phrase of “Three Blind Mice”). We wondered at the time about the purpose of this song in the species and how it develops in the individual.Whether such a song is learned remains a mystery, but since then we have read that chickadee hens are attracted to elaborate male songs and will even leave one mate for another with more star power. Knowing this, we guess that our little woods is a hotbed of reproductive intrigue. Along with the first bird, we now have a second three-note songster with a different melody of two descending whole steps (B to A to G: the three pitches of the first phrase of “Three Blind Mice”). We know these are two individual black-capped chickadees; occasionally they can be heard in aleatoric duet.We take comfort in Nature’s infinitely surprising, fine-tuned ways.Nancy Thomas and Roger DavisAspen

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