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Nov 15, 2011

Chickadees mate with Titmice - who knew?

                                                                                                                                                                                 Photo by BarrytheBirder
MBlack-capped ChickadeeM
Poecile atricapilla

It's true.   Chickadees mate with Tufted Titmice.   There are six species of Chickadees in North America and Black-capped Chickadees mate with Carolina Chickadees and Mountain Chickadees where their ranges overlap.   But Chickadees and the Tufted Titmouse?!?  Chickadees and titmice are known to flock together during fall migration and winter in the eastern United States, and the scientific literature supports claims of this interbreeding.   There is a picture on the Chipper Woods Bird Observatory website that  certainly looks like a chickadee/titmouse hybrid.   Go to or just Google 'Hybrid Tufted Titmouse'.   In 20 years of birding, I've seen one Tufted Titmouse in my backyard.   I'm told if I was to head down to the Niagara Falls area I would have much better luck.   In the meantime, I will not be holding my breath while waiting to see a Chickadee/Titmouse hybrid but will enjoy every Chickadee that sweetly greets me each day.   And if a 'TT' shows up again, I will have my camera ready this time.
Please comment if you wish.

1 comment:

James said...

That is fascinating information, Barry. I'd never heard that before. Thanks for sharing it. I've never seen a tufted titmouse in Ontario.

I did see a leucistic chickadee on the weekend

Leucism is a pigmentation anomaly. But the chickadee still looks very nice.