Chickadee hybridization


Black-capped and Carolina chickadees

In Pennsylvania, Black-capped Chickadees and Carolina Chickadees come into parapatric contact along a long, narrow zone. In this zone, the species hybridize, and the presence of each influences the social development of the other.

This project involves intensive field study of four populations:

At all study sites, we use artificial nest snags to attract breeding chickadees and to obtain data about their behavior, genetics, and success … and to band and obtain genetic samples from their nestlings.

S0960982214X00060_covhighresThe study now focuses especially on rapid northward movement of the hybrid zone. Our collaborative work with the Lovette Lab at Cornell has identified a strong signal linking the hybrid-zone movement with climate change … including in particular warming winter low temperatures.