Thursday, September 17, 2015

Tricks of the Trade # 3: Using chickadees and titmice to find migrants

Today I was walking through the woodsy part of LaSalle Park, looking for migrants.  My first circuit of the boardwalk and adjacent glade produced a single Eastern Wood-Pewee, singing perweee.  The second circuit produced a Brown Thrasher, calling its hearty chuck, and then a chickadee giving its namesake call from a tall water oak.  I swished at it, and it immediately flew down to my level in an  adjacent tree.  With it came a Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, a White-eyed Vireo, and a Summer Tanager.

This illustrates a valuable strategy for searching for migrants in wooded habitats.  First, chickadees (and titmice) are often accompanied by migrant passerines.  Second, chickadees are usually responsive to swishing/squeeking, and when they approach their migrant companions often will as well.  


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