Singing a new song
Are our chickadees learning?
Signs of spring are finally upon us. The last three mornings, around 6 o’clock, we’ve wakened to hear a male chickadee courtship song consisting of three notes: a descending whole step followed by a half step (B-flat to A-flat to G). So unusual is this song that we assume it’s the same individual.
When we first heard his song about a week ago, he was singing just the two-note half step (A-flat to G). In our experience, chickadees sing two-note whole steps, not half steps, with a starting note anywhere between B and G. Over the next few days this bird added the initial B-flat, creating the three-note song.
We wonder how the variations in song develop in the individual. Since the three-note with half-step song seems to be rare, it is unlikely that he learned it from his father or a fellow chickadee.
It is possible that he improvised the new song and prefers it over the traditional song. We wonder whether the three-note song affects his attractiveness to hens. We do not know whether the songster is a black-capped or mountain chickadee.
N. Thomas and R. Davis
Aspen City Council approved a contract with Daniel Joseph (DJ) Watkins during Tuesday’s regular meeting to move forward with his intentions to operate his proposed “Aspen Collective,” which is currently occupied by Mia Valley’s Valley Fine Art.