[Tweeters] Minor Mountain Chickadee (and Clark's Nutcracker) dispersal

Jeff Kozma jcr_5105 at charter.net
Thu Oct 12 11:18:21 PDT 2017


A biologist who works on the Yakama Reservation and is trying to collect whitebark pine seeds (main food of Clark’s Nutcrackers) said there are few to no cones this year in many areas they were searching for seed. In the Wenas area where I study White-headed Woodpeckers, there is pretty much a failure of ponderosa pine cones this year as well, another food source of Clark’s Nutcrackers (and Red Crossbills, which are virtually absent this year) when cones are abundant. We have also seen a movement of Steller’s Jays into areas of Selah and Yakima this fall. I checked out some oak trees along the Tieton River and there are very few if any acorns. Looks like many of the mast trees may not be producing this year. Would be interesting to know if other conifers are also showing the same thing.

I’ve also had Red-breasted Nuthatches and Pine Siskins (one flock of 12 and numerous single birds) in my neighborhood this fall and even a dispersing Hairy Woodpecker that flew over my yard after leaving my neighbors tree!

Jeff Kozma


J c r underscore 5105 at charter dot net

From: tweeters-bounces at mailman1.u.washington.edu [mailto:tweeters-bounces at mailman1.u.washington.edu] On Behalf Of Wayne Weber
Sent: Thursday, October 12, 2017 11:02 AM
To: TWEETERS <tweeters at u.washington.edu>
Subject: RE: [Tweeters] Minor Mountain Chickadee (and Clark's Nutcracker) dispersal

Joshua and Tweeters,

Your comments about recent Mountain Chickadee sightings in the Puget Sound Lowlands are quite astute, and I second your recommendation that birders keep their eyes (and ears) open for this species in the coming weeks and months.

The bird at a feeder in Coquitlam, BC is still being seen through today, October 12 (although not recently reported to eBird). In addition, 2 Mountain Chickadees were reported on October 4 at Blackie Spit Park in Surrey, BC, and one of these was photographed.

Small invasions of Mountain Chickadees into the Puget Sound Lowlands have occurred about once or twice per decade going back at least to the 1960s, and this may prove to be one of those years.

There has also been an outbreak of Clark’s Nutcrackers into areas far to the west of the Cascade crest, where they are not usually seen. In recent weeks, there have been Clark’s Nutcracker reports from Seattle, the San Juan Islands, Hurricane Ridge near Port Angeles, Sauk Mountain east of Concrete, and in the Mount Baker area.

In the past, irruptions of Clark’s Nutcrackers and Mountain Chickadees have sometimes occurred in the same year, although movements of nutcrackers into the lowlands are much less frequent than those of Mountain Chickadees. The reasons for these movements are not clear, although I suspect it is related to food availability, especially for the seed-eating nutcrackers.

Good birding, and here’s hoping for more nutcracker and Mountain Chickadee sightings!

Wayne C. Weber

Delta, BC

contopus at telus.net <mailto:contopus at telus.net>

From: tweeters-bounces at mailman1.u.washington.edu <mailto:tweeters-bounces at mailman1.u.washington.edu> [mailto:tweeters-bounces at mailman1.u.washington.edu] On Behalf Of Joshua Glant
Sent: Thursday, October 12, 2017 8:24 AM
To: tweeters at u.washington.edu <mailto:tweeters at u.washington.edu>
Subject: [Tweeters] Minor Mountain Chickadee dispersal

Hello Tweets,

Maxine Reid's sighting of a Mountain Chickadee in Tulalip Bay yesterday reminded me of two other recent sightings of Mountain Chickadee in the Salish Sea area within the past two weeks: one bird at a feeder in Coquitlam, BC at the beginning of this month; and one at the base of Ediz Hook in Clallam Co. on October 6th. To me, this seems to indicate a minor movement of the species into the Puget Sound area, though the cause is not quite clear. For this reason, I recommend that birders check all their chickadees especially closely in the coming weeks -- you never know when you will stumble on that white-eyebrowed, wheezy-voiced individual! Coastal stands of Douglas firs seem to be a major point of attraction for wandering Mountains.

Good birding, Joshua Glant

Mercer Island, WA

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