Chickadee social ecology

cach_snaAs part of our research program on chickadee hybridization, we conduct basic research on social and reproductive ecology, especially of Carolina Chickadees, which few other labs study. Our Carolina Chickadee work takes place mainly at Great Marsh (Chester County); as Carolina Chickadee have over time replaced Black-capped Chickadees at our Nolde Forest site, we now obtain Carolina Chickadee data there as well.

This work includes study of:

  • Flock composition and structure, and dominance relationships
  • Social network relationships, using a radio-frequency identification (RFID) approach involving passive integrated transponder (PIT) tags
  • Mate choice, parental behavior, and parentage (including extra-pair paternity)
  • Song, including repertoire size and involvement in dawn chorus
  • Personality, including exploratory behavior and boldness in nest defense