Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Mountain Chickadee

Although Mountain Chickadees are common birds of the Rocky Mountains of North America, I have never photographed one. During our three days in Santa Fe in March, we visited the Randall Davey Audubon Center. I was delighted to find Mountain Chickadees feeding at the Center’s bird feeders.

Mountain Chickadees are Black-capped Chickadees’ closest relatives. Where their ranges overlap, they occupy different habitats—Mountain Chickadees are usually restricted on conifers, while Black-caps are limited to broadleaf vegetation. Their preferred nesting sites also tend to differ slightly, with Mountain Chickadees preferring higher parts of larger trees. However, where the species overlap and are both uncommon, like in the Rio Grande Valley of New Mexico, the two species may hybridize (Archibald et al. 1999).

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