Taylor to discuss chickadees at monthly bird club meeting

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Dr. Scott Taylor, an assistant professor at CU Boulder, will talk about his study “The Boulder Chickadee Study: Chickadee hybridization along the Front Range,” which is a study of cross breeding between black-capped chickadees and mountain chickadees, during the Broomfield Bird Club’s monthly meeting on Monday at 7 p.m.

The class will be available via Zoom. A link will be provided online at BroomfieldBirdClub.com.

“Black-capped and mountain chickadees are familiar backyard birds in much of western North America,” Taylor said. “Though the two species broadly co-occur, hybrids between them are only irregularly reported. The Boulder Chickadee Study seeks to understand what causes black-capped and mountain chickadees to hybridize, and to generally better understand how the two species interact along the Front Range. We combine field collected data on nesting, diet and blood parasites with whole genomes sequenced from blood samples using a transect of 400 nest boxes that span a 6,000-foot elevation gradient, from the city of Boulder to the CU Boulder Mountain Research Station.”

Taylor said that he will present some of the initial findings from two years of breeding season data place those into the broader context of understanding of these two charismatic and familiar backyard birds.

Taylor will talk about the physical differences between the two chickadees, including the difference in their calls, as well as what they feed on and what seeds you can provide in your feeders to attract them, if we can build nest boxes, and how many eggs they lay. He will also talk about parenting habits and describe their two distinctive calls.

Taylor is an assistant professor in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and the Director of the CU Boulder Mountain Research Station. Research in his group is focused on using natural hybrid zones and recent radiations to understand the genetic bases of traits involved in reproductive isolation, population divergence and speciation, and the impacts of anthropogenic change, including climate change, on species distributions, interactions and evolution. He is fascinated by natural history and the intersections between art and science and is committed to increasing diversity in STEM.

Broomfield Bird Club is a social club, open to anyone interested in finding out more about birds and their habitats. We are completely an all-volunteer board and are registered as a nonprofit organization. Our yearly dues are $20 per family, and used mostly for speakers and to support bird-related local rehabs. You can easily join online.

We try to have monthly bird walks, depending on weather and smoke, and support CDC guidelines to keep everyone safe. We welcome speakers. Please get in touch with us if you would like to give a presentation via Zoom. Our web page is broomfieldbirdclub.com.