This may be heresy, but why are carolina and black-capped chickadees still considered separate species? The Kaufmann guide claims that they can even learn each others' songs, and the morphological differences are far finer than I can tell. To my knowledge, they're also supposed to hybridize with each other where they meet, right? Why are red- and yellow-shafted flickers lumped into one species or the various flavors of junco but not the chickadees?

To ask a more particular question, where is the dividing zone between Carolina and black-capped in the St Louis area? I recall from last year's CBC that chickadees up in Pere Marquette are black-capped, while the ones around the Central West End and Tower Grove all sound more like carolinas to me.

Peter Keyel
St Louis, MO

"Well now, you never did see such a terrible thing
As was seen last night on TV
Maybe if we're lucky, they will show it again
Such a terrible thing to see"
-Genesis, "Domino"


The Audubon Society of Missouri's Wild Bird Discussion Forum
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