NO CHICKS WITHOUT A SONG : FOR CHICKADEES’

chick-a-dee-dee-dee...

 

Exposer to harmful chemicals have reduced singing in birds like ‘Chickdees' leaving them mateless. Discoveries made by researchers in New York, found that a chemical can affect the charping of birds and this syndrome can make them lose out on mates. The study on wild chickadees by an ecologist at Cornell University of Ithaca, Sara DeLeon came to this conclusion, that Chickadees exposed to Poly Chlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs: used by power plants), though the birds look fit, but cannot chatter loudly as well as the other birds can."The species of birds affected by PCBs are living, not dying, thus affecting their life cycle," New Scientists quoted Sara DeLeon, as saying.

Sara DeLeon and a few of her colleagues examined chickadees residing along the New York's Hudson River, near a General Electric power plant which used PCBs insulators from 1907 until the 70s had dumped 500,000 kilograms of toxic chemicals into the river. The researchers focused on black-capped chickadees, [although numerous songbirds live along the banks of Hudson River], found the singers mix up the notes they sing, but their ratio between the two notes tends to remain the same. On the contrary, the birds exposed by PCB attempted to sing different ‘remixes' of the two-note song with the notes too far apart.

 

Description of Chickadee : The species of bird has a black cap, bib with white sides to the face, its under parts are white with rusty brown on the flanks; its back is gray. It has a short dark bill, short wings and a long tails. The tail is normally primarily slate-gray.

Vocalization : The vocalization of the Black-capped chickadees are highly complex (Ficken et al., 1978). The chickadees have 13 distinct types of vocalizations many of which are complex and can communicate different types of information. The most familiar call is the familiar chick-a-dee-dee-dee, hence it got its name as black-capped Chickadee. The males only sing the song, when in relative isolation from other chickadees (including their mates). The Chickadees are virtually impossible to tell apart visually, but they are readily distinguished by call. The song of the Black-capped is a simple, clear whistle of two notes, identical in rhythm, the first roughly a third above the second. This is distinguished from the Carolina chickadee's four-note call fee-bee fee-bay; the lower notes are nearly identical but the higher fee notes are omitted, making the Black-capped song like bee bay.

 

Habitat : These spices are the provincial birds of New Brunswick, and the state bird of Maine and Massachusetts. The Black-capped Chickadee is known for its breeding in Canada, Alaska and the northern United States. Their point of overlap is near New Brunswick, New Jersey. Chickadees live and feed in dense vegetation, and even when the flock is close together, individual birds tend to be away from each others visual range.

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Comments 2 comments

qlcoach profile image

qlcoach 8 years ago from Cave Junction, Oregon

Beautiful hub that makes us angry about pollution and the need to make changes in our approach to the environment. I love birds both big and small. Feel free to see how I try to help others make positive changes. And feel free to stay in touch. Sincerely: Gary Eby, author and therapist.


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