BIRDS OF NEW ENGLAND AND EASTERN NEW YORK - HOFFMANN

Previous Page - Table of Contents - Next Page

TITS : FAMILY PARIDÆ

Three Tits or Chickadees occur in New York and New England. The common or Black-capped Chickadee is found everywhere; the Hudsonian Chickadee is confined to northern New York and New England; the Tufted Tit does not regularly occur north of New York city.

HUDSONIAN CHICKADEE [BOREAL CHICKADEE]. Parus hudsonicus [Poecile hudsonicus]

5.35 in.

Ad.– Top of head brownish; back brownish-gray; throat black, separated from the brown by a stripe of white; breast and middle of belly white; side of belly reddish-brown.

Nest, in holes in trees. Eggs, spotted with reddish-brown.

The Hudsonian Chickadee is a permanent resident of the extensive spruce forests on the higher mountains of New Hampshire and Vermont, in the Adirondacks and in northern and eastern Maine. In summer it is confined in the White and Green Mountains to the spruce belt above 3000 feet, but in autumn it wanders down into the valleys, in company with migrating warblers. In winter a few occasionally wander southward; small flocks have been observed on Mount Greylock in Massachusetts, and stragglers occasionally occur even in eastern Massachusetts. Its habits are very similar to those of the common Chickadee; in fact, the two not infrequently wander about together. Bones or bits of meat left about logging camps in winter are equally attractive to either species.

The dee dee dee of the Hudsonian Chickadee sounds more “babyish” than that of the common species; the notes are lower and more drawled. A short warbling song which seems to correspond to the phee-bee of the common Chickadee is occasionally heard from this species.



[BLACK-CAPPED] CHICKADEE. Parus [Poecile] atricapillus
.27 in.

Ad.— Top of head and throat black; sides of head, and belly white; back, wings, and tail gray; wing-feathers edged with white; flanks washed with light brownish, especially in the fall.

Nest, in a hole in a tree. Eggs, often as many as eight, white, spotted with reddish-brown.

The Chickadee is a permanent resident throughout New England and New York; in the southern portions of its range it is less common in summer than in winter. At this season little flocks of five or six pass through the woodland, orchards, and plantations, often accompanied by Kinglets, a Brown Creeper, a Downy Woodpecker, or a Nuthatch. As spring approaches, the winter bands separate into pairs, which then often retire from the neighborhood of villages, so that a notion prevails that the Chickadee is only a winter resident. The pair, too, become very silent; the male, however, occasionally utters his whistled phee-bee. The nest is placed either in a natural cavity or in a hole picked out of a soft birch stub by the birds themselves. The pure whistle above described, though uttered oftenest in March and April, may be heard in any month of the year. Besides this song the Chickadee has various little lisping calls, a note something like the syllables tout de suite, and the well-known tsic-a dee-dee. When feeding, the Chickadee has a habit of clinging upside down to the tips of twigs ; occasionally it flies to a limb and there hammers open a seed or a tough cocoon. If bones, suet, or broken nuts are hung on the trees near a window, Chickadees will become constant and familiar visitors throughout the winter. The Chickadee is readily told by its black throat and top of head, and white cheeks.



TUFTED TITMOUSE. Bæolophus bicolor
6.00 in.

Ad.— Forehead black; upper parts, wings, and tail gray; sides of belly reddish-brown; rest of under parts white; head crested.

Nest, in a hole in a tree. Eggs, white, spotted with reddish-brown.

The Tufted Tit is a permanent resident of New Jersey, as far north as Orange, and of Staten Island, though not common in the northern portion of its range. In southwestern Connecticut it occurs only as a rare visitant; it is absent from the rest of New England. Its loud whistle, like the syllables peto, attracts notice to it, and its conspicuous crest and plain gray colors make it easy to identify. It has also lisping calls very like the Chickadee's, and a hoarse dee dee dee.

Previous Page - Table of Contents - Next Page